Getting ahead with certificate programs
It’s possible for a student to acquire a trade, even while still in high school.
Mark Middlebrook, Director of Marketing for Mountainland Applied Technology College, reported that 75 percent of its student body is made up of high school students from Utah, Wasatch and Summit County.
"We have got a great relationship with the school districts," he said. "It’s a great relationship because these individuals can get through high school and get a certificate or associates degree free of charge."
According to the MATC brochure, the following concurrent enrollment programs are available: automotive technology, chef prep, emergency medical technician, home building construction, media design technology and aviation and biotechnology.
With the exception of course fees, tuition is waived for high school students.
Middlebrook added that enrolling in MATC classes during high school helps students to determine weather or not they want to go in to a particular field.
"Many times these individuals go through these programs to face the reality of what is they want to go into," he said noting that it saves student time and money while giving them real-life experience.
This is possible because many of the instructors are teaching about the profession they are in and can give students the perspective of someone who has been there.
"It gives them a reality check of what they are going to go into. Many individuals go to college, get their 4-year degree and discover it isn’t what they thought it was," Middlebrook said.
The experience gained at MATC can help students to leave high school ready to join the professional world, he added.
"When they get out of high school, they are able to start working immediately at a wage higher than minimum wage," he said noting that only 20 percent of jobs in Utah require a bachelor’s degree.
In addition to appealing to high school students, Middlebrook noted that many of their programs are helpful to mothers who have been out of the workforce for a long period of time and need to gain a marketable skill.
Students often enroll in classes at MATC to pay less for prerequisites at four-year universities.
"Some of these individuals take prerequisite classes so they don’t have to pay the tuition at BYU and then they go back and finish their program there," Middlebrook said.
Affordability and time convenience is also part of the appeal of MATC, Middlebrook said. The cost is $1.25 per instruction hour, plus course fees. Most programs only last a year, at the end many students earn certificates of proficiency.
Unlike a diploma, Middlebrook said, the back lists areas of proficiency so employers know exactly what skills the student earned while in school.
The more popular programs at MATC are medical and veterans assisting. Classes offered in Wasatch and Summit Counties for 2006-2007 include: American Sign Language, automotive fundamentals, building construction, culinary arts, dental assistant and medical assistant. For more information visit: http://www.mountainlandatc.org .
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