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A to Z of Community College Certificates and Courses
From business and healthcare to technology and skilled trades, the article showcases the breadth of options available to students seeking to enhance their knowledge, develop new skills, or pursue career advancement.
iStockPhotos/Jacob Lund

U.S. community colleges offer courses and certificate programs to cater to diverse educational and career goals. As I researched this article, I was impressed by the wealth of large and small programs our community colleges offer. I also understand the intricate process each college requires to offer a course. No esoteric or useless courses or certificates exist in a community college catalog. Furthermore, community college instructors are specialists. These experienced, credentialled adjunct faculty have state-of-the-art knowledge of their subject. And they are eager to share it with you. So, whether you are in your 50s and have been laid off after working for the same company for 20 years or are a young person exploring your options after graduating from high school, review all the possibilities your community college offers.

Workforce development and economic development are inextricably linked,Wallace said. If we are going to be successful in expanding the economy of our region and raising per capita income levels of our residents, we will have to be extremely good at leveraging the education-to-earnings pipeline. Employers must be involved in all facets of their prospective employees’ educational journey. Source: Community College Daily

Why attend a community college?

Some attend community college to obtain a two-year degree before transferring to a four-year college. There are several reasons for this. The first is the cost savings. Community colleges typically have much lower tuition and fees than four-year institutions, allowing students to save money in their first two

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Community Colleges: A to Z

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Community Colleges: A to Z
Explore the diverse landscape of community colleges. From academic programs to student support services, this article provides a look at everything they offer.

Use this introduction to the community college world to explore and learn more about these invaluable institutions of higher learning. The state and local authorities have established the community college in your area to serve you and your needs and requirements. Whether considering a career change or just finishing high school, your community college's courses and programs will help you reach your goals. Community colleges do this at a reasonable cost, too. So, scroll through my community college alphabet and click on the links for more detailed information about an entry.

A - Associate Degrees

An academic degree requiring approximately two years of classes and about 70 credits, the Associate Degree typically is the next educational step after graduating high school. It can be an end in its own right or a bridge to a four-year degree at a college or university.

B - Budget-Friendly Education

Paying for your college education is a big concern for most of us. Most community colleges charge less for tuition than 4-year colleges and universities. Moreover, you don't have to pay for room and board, as you will probably continue to live at home. Community colleges also offer financial aid. Several states and some leaders at the federal level have proposed tuition-free community college. Tennessee, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and California offer eligible students tuition waivers or substantial financial aid.

C - Career Technical Education (CTE)

Career Technical Education prepares

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Healthcare Careers Hub

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Healthcare Careers Hub
Discover the opportunities in the healthcare field. Your community college offers the courses and training you need to fill a job in this field that always seems to have openings.
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As you know, healthcare is a huge industry in the United States. Since there have been significant layoffs in other sectors of the economy, whether you've been laid off or are just beginning your career, I suggest you explore healthcare. You and I think of healthcare as the domain of medical professionals such as doctors and nurses. That's only partly true. Healthcare has dozens of positions and roles, one or two of which might suit your requirements.

U.S. health care spending grew 4.1 percent in 2022, reaching $4.5 trillion or $13,493 per person. As a share of the nation's Gross Domestic Product, health spending accounted for 17.3 percent. Source: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

So, to help you explore the field, I've compiled a list of some of the positions in the healthcare field, ranging from supporting roles to paraprofessional and professional roles. Healthcare offers a variety of jobs at several levels. In other words, you can earn a certificate to become a member of the profession. In fact, you don't need a four-year degree for many well-paying positions. Your community college will offer foundation courses and certifications for select positions. Contact it for more information.

We'll start with the positions requiring four or more years of education in the field.

Degreed Professionals:

Physician Assistant (PA)

Physician Assistants (PAs) work alongside physicians to diagnose illnesses, develop treatment plans, and prescribe medication. They provide essential medical care in various specialties, from

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Community Colleges in a Minute

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Community Colleges in a Minute
Discover the world of community colleges in just a minute! Explore the key facts about these educational institutions, from their diverse offerings to affordability and more. Whether you're a student, parent, or educator, this quick guide will give you a comprehensive overview of what community colleges have to offer.

Community Colleges in a Minute offers you a look at community colleges in the United States from 30,000 feet.. Use it as a starting point to explore this very accessible college-level education option. Whether you are considering a two-year Associate's degree or want to upgrade your skills, your local community college has the courses and programs to help you achieve your goals. It also has an informative website. So, explore it, and don't hesitate to contact the college with questions.

The number of Community Colleges in the U.S.A.

According to the American Association of Community Colleges, there are approximately 1038 community colleges as of 2023. Nine hundred thirty-two are public colleges, 32 are tribal institutions, and 71 are independent.

The Number of Students Attending Community College:

Community colleges serve millions of students yearly, making them a significant part of the higher education landscape. Find out more about community colleges in the U.S. by visiting the American Association of Community Colleges website.

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) is the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges. The association represents more than 1,000 2-year associate degree-granting institutions and nearly 12 million students.

Entrance Requirements

Community colleges generally have open admission policies, making them accessible to a wide range of domestic students. North Carolina, for example, has a state-mandated Open door Admissions policy.

The colleges of the North Carolina Community College System maintain an “Open Door” admissions policy. This policy

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The Pros and Cons of Dual Enrollment

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The Pros and Cons of Dual Enrollment
Explore the intricacies of dual enrollment, a growing educational trend that allows high school students to earn college credits. We look at its history, eligibility requirements, benefits, and drawbacks, offering valuable insights for both parents and students considering this path.

The educational landscape is ever-changing, offering more opportunities than ever for high school students to get a head start on their future. One such opportunity is dual enrollment, a program allowing students to earn college credit while navigating their high school hallways. This comprehensive guide aims to shed light on dual enrollment, making it easier for parents and students to make informed decisions.

A Brief History

Dual enrollment made its debut in the United States in the 1950s. Initially, the program was designed to serve gifted and talented students by providing them with more academically challenging courses. However, over the years, dual enrollment has broadened its scope. Today, it serves diverse students, allowing them to experience college-level coursework and prepare for higher education.

How Widespread Is It?

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 15% of high school students participate in dual enrollment programs. Some states like Florida, California, and Michigan lead the pack with robust dual enrollment systems. However, the availability of these programs can vary significantly between school districts and even individual schools.

This video explains dual enrollment.

Eligibility and Admission

Students must meet specific academic prerequisites to participate in a dual enrollment program, such as a minimum GPA. In addition, some programs require teacher recommendations or standardized test scores. After completing the eligibility requirements, students typically go through an application process

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