A guide to Certificate programs at Parkland
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 12:04
Did you know that Parkland College offers certificate programs in everything from 3D Software Development to Fire Service Technology?
Some of these, such the Nurse Assistants Certification (CNA), lead directly to eligibility for employment. Other courses prepare students for certification by industry-standardized examinations.
One example of these types of courses is the CSC 191 and CSC 192 series. These classes prepare students for the first and second Oracle certification examinations (IZ0-007 & IZ0-042), which are required for achievement of the title Oracle Certified Associate (OCA).
Other certificates are pursued for a number of reasons. Some, such as the Object-Oriented Programmer certificate, may either lead directly to a career in the field or be used to increase one’s marketability.
Steven Griffith, who graduated in 2010, combined an Object Oriented Programming Certificate with a Web Programmer Certificate to go directly to his line of work. His certificate has enabled him to take on the responsibilities of a software engineer and begin designing computer programs.
The skills he learned at Parkland also prepared him to design and manage databases, develop for the web, administrate servers, network, handle tech support and process data for J.T. Smith & Associates.
People who are already employed in the field also seek these certifications. Computer Science & Information Technology Program Manager Jonas Dees explained their appeal.
“Parkland’s certificate programs offer an inexpensive way for a wide range of hard working office professionals to acquire skills,” he said.
“Especially in the technological fields, new skills are constantly in demand,” Jonas continued. “These certificates offer a way for people that are already out in the field, people who already have their associate’s or bachelor’s, to come back and boost their abilities.”
Other students may use certification to add value to the associate’s degree they are currently pursuing. For example, someone with a degree in network administration may find him or herself much more marketable if they can also claim to be certified in microcomputer support.
Similarly, an applicant with an associate’s degree in computer science would certainly be more marketable if they could add the skills of a certified network security specialist or web programmer to their resume.
Degree seeking students may find that they can readily acquire a certificate in a related field. Often times, their degree requirements will overlap the requirements for the certificate. By assigning certain of their elective courses to those needed for certifications, these students can cross the stage at graduation and receive both an associate’s degree and a certificate.
This may be a value to transfer students as well. Especially in the increasingly competitive fields of computer science and information technology, every edge should be utilized to ensure acceptance into a good school.
Transfer applicants that can boast of not only an associate’s degree, but a certificate as well may find themselves afforded better access to desirable opportunities.
Certificates are also available for those wishing to enter an office environment. Students can become certified as an Office Assistant while developing the skills necessary in today’s market.
These students will acquire a working knowledge of computers, including spreadsheet applications like Microsoft Excel, word processing programs like Microsoft Word, good keyboarding techniques, machine transcription and the ability to operate Microsoft Publisher.
Or you can become a Microsoft Certified Application Specialist. This certificate is backed directly by Microsoft and is recognized throughout the industry all across the country.
Graduates in this program accumulate the knowledge necessary to create presentation graphics using MS PowerPoint, to manipulate spreadsheets with Excel, to use MS Word for word processing and even the ability to manage database applications like Microsoft Access.
And while many of these programs have been designed specifically by Parkland and may not be readily recognized away from the region, they are geared toward results.
As Dees explained, “These types of programs at Parkland are all about being able to do the job. They focus less on theory and more on application. We are teaching people how to do stuff.”
Dees also pointed out that in order to maximize the effectiveness of these certificates, students should focus on acquiring their associate’s degrees as well.