CCV expanding certificate, degree offerings

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BENNINGTON — Come this fall semester, the Community College of Vermont expects to double its certificate offerings and add three new degrees.

Seven new certificate programs are being added: administrative medical assisting, clinical medical assisting, digital media production, funeral director, graphic design, media communications and studio art, according to a press release from CCV.

According to CCV's website, digital media production, funeral director, graphic design and media communications certificates can be completed entirely online. The college currently has seven other certificate programs.

The new certificates were developed with workforce needs in mind, according to the release.

"I think that it's exciting," said Nicole Otte Stetson, associate academic dean at the college who works at the Bennington campus. "It's a credential that can be shared with the workforce. You can go out into the world and say, I have this credential, and it's focused in this particular professional field."

A certificate represents a "stackable credential" — students can add on others, like associate or bachelor's degrees, she said.

"Most careers now, moving forward in the future, are going to require credentials, additional training, and degrees," she said.

The change partly comes out of a strategic plan, which identified the need for more such stackable credentials, and more points of entry and exit for students statewide, said Candace Lewis, associate academic dean at CCV.

Stetson confirmed the new programs will have the same per-credit fee structure as other certificate programs at CCV; the college currently charges $268 per credit for in-state students.

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CCV will also offer three new Associate of Science degrees starting fall 2019: one in health science, one in professional studies and one in behavioral science.

The health science degree replaces CCV's associate degree in medical assisting. The new

degrees relate to a desire to give students more flexibility in their education, Stetson said.

For example, the health science degree allows students the option to focus on something like medical assisting, but they could also concentrate in other areas, like community health.

"It just is providing more flexibility for students," she said. "It's not as narrow."

The professional studies degree also allows students to create single-focus areas of studies if they want; besides business, accounting and management, it allows students to take other classes in areas related to allied health, business, computers, communications, economics and manufacturing, Stetson said.

The new behavioral science offering will provide students foundational knowledge for areas like criminal justice, social work, psychology and addiction treatment, she said.

"I think professional studies is going to be popular, I really do," she said. "Because of its flexibility."

CCV has also seen a lot of interest in design and media studies, as a lot of high school students taking dual enrollment courses express interest in graphic design and media communications courses, Lewis said.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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