Although employed in the field of finance, Anne Smith of Stockton decided it was time for a change.
“I needed to do something in my life, my career, that mattered,” she said. So, Smith enrolled in the Accelerated Second Bachelor of Science in Nursing program offered through California State University, Stanislaus’s University Extended Education Department in Stockton. She will graduate this May. “Because I already had a four-year degree in finance, the accelerated 17-month nursing program made sense,” Smith said. “The program is phenomenal and it’s quick. I will have earned a four-year nursing degree in the same amount of time it takes to get an (associate’s degree).”
Whether changing careers as Smith is or looking for a boost in job skills within an existing career, working adults are fortunate to have a variety of programs to choose from in the immediate area.
“(University Extended Education Department’s) degree completion programs are designed for working adults. Most individuals chose to enroll because completing these programs allows for career advancement, either by entering into a new career or securing a promotion through their existing employer,” said Kevin Nemeth, the department’s dean.
During the 2011-2012 school year, more than 4,000 students were enrolled in University Extended Education Department programs.
“Unlike traditional programs, degree completion programs are shorter in length and are designed around the needs of working adults with busy schedules,” Nemeth said.
Some of the most popular degree completion options include the Executive Master’s in Business Administration (MBA), bachelor’s degree of arts in social science, and Accelerated Second Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. A bachelor’s degree in health science program will be launched this fall at the CSU, Stanislaus Stockton campus.
The University of the Pacific’s Center for Professional and Continuing Education also offers working students with programs targeted to enhance their resumes.
“The main reason students enroll in our programs is to obtain and improve on the professional skills necessary to get a job, to secure the job one has, or to seek career advancement in today’s and tomorrow’s competitive marketplace,” said Barbara Shaw, associate provost. With more than 6,000 students enrolled each year in both “in-seat” and online courses, Pacific’s Center for Professional and Continuing Education provides workforce courses, certificate programs, and two degree-completion programs.
“CPCE extends learning opportunities beyond the traditional university environment by providing and supporting quality educational experiences for lifelong learning,” said Shaw.
New classes and certificate programs are constantly researched and reviewed to meet the needs of the community. The paralegal, nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, and dementia care certificate programs are some of the center’s recent program additions. For education professionals, the Teachers College of San Joaquin in Stockton offers students a pathway for advancement in their education careers. Launched in 2009, the school is partnered with the San Joaquin County Office of Education offering graduate level programs for teachers and school administrators.
“Our mission is to develop a workforce of teachers and school leaders who are comfortable with collaboration, understand the need to prepare students for both work and higher education and have the skill to develop, implement and sustain innovative educational ideas,” said Diane Carnahan, Teachers College of San Joaquin dean. The school currently has 225 students enrolled in credential programs and 135 in the master’s degree of education program.
Affordable tuition, instructors and practitioners who work in the field, and a strong relationship with area school districts are some of the key reasons education professionals interested in advancement chose the college.
Cary Zierenberg, an English teacher at Leading Edge Middle School in the Natomas Charter School system, is pursuing her master’s degree in advanced teaching practice with the National Board Certification “I chose to go through Teachers College of San Joaquin because the curriculum is engaging and challenging.
The professors model good teaching strategies and put an emphasis on research-based practices that I apply in my own classroom,” she said. “While it is flexible and affordable, it is more importantly a program that helps me improve my instruction and become a better teacher.”
Modesto Junior College also provides professional and workforce training opportunities through its Workforce Development Department.
“Modesto Junior College has been meeting the needs of business and industry since 1921,” said Araceli Zarate, program specialist, Technical Education and Workforce Development. “We understand the importance of maintaining a competitive advantage in this marketplace and that comprehensive training options are the answer.”
Through its Technical Education Department, Modesto Junior College offers numerous programs for those interested in gaining technical skills necessary for employment in areas such as auto body, welding, electronics, machine tooling and sheet metal.
The auto body program is designed to ready students for entry-level jobs in the industry, while the Accelerated Careers in Technology program provides short-term training pathways with fast-track options leading directly to employment opportunities.
New to technical education choices is the Automotive Conversation Project, which focuses on aspects of utilizing alternative fuels for powering automotive vehicles.
The Workforce Development Department also partners with local businesses to help employees gain skill upgrades necessary for promotional opportunities within their existing careers.
“The (Modesto Junior College) Workforce Development Department responds to local and regional industry needs. Currently there is a focus on logistics, psychiatric technicians, and other health careers, as well as other career technical education programs,” said Marla Uliana, Worforce Development Project director.