CHARLOTTE, NC - Seeing people smile is the motivation behind Lavette Neighbor's new career as a dental assistant; but, trying to transition into a new field, while juggling a part-time job, wasn't easy.
"I've been going to school since 2005. And, of course, you have to go through your basics and then, they had a waiting list at the school I was going to - and the waiting list is kinda long," says Neighbors.
"People don't have time to be on waiting lists.“
That's according to Kaplan College Executive Director Connie Jakubcin. And, that's where 12-month programs, from online and career schools, come in. Jakubcin says their courses work well for folks who've lost their job, or work part-time, but need to get onto a new path; “they need to come in and get the skills they need to get a job, to put food on the table."
"People are looking for direction."
Dr. Kathleen M. Connolly, owns Acumeans, Inc. Dr. Connolly assists clients with making career choices, and rebooting their professional lives. "The people, who are coming in after being down-sized or restructured, and have no clue what they want to do, are using assessment instruments, different kinds of career instruments to help them form that path. That might take them to a place like Kaplan," says Dr. Connolly.
According to recent labor stats, out of almost three million of the nation’s higher educated, roughly 10% percent of those people attended career schools, instead of traditional two and four-year colleges, to avoid waiting lists and course requirements.
But, Central Piedmont Community College Associate Dean of Health Programs Ruth Hedgepeth says community colleges offer affordable, accredited programs. “The advantage to having our 12-month diploma is that a student can exit there and go to work. But, if he or she wants to, they can continue courses and complete an associate degree."
So, what should you do?
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises you to compare courses, rates of completion and job placement percentages of career schools to not-for-profit schools. Basically, evaluate all of your options.
Neighbors says she has options. She’s received several job offers and credits the skill training she received at her career school, Kaplan College.
The most popular area career schools paths are in health care - dental and medical assisting programs. Other tracks gaining steam in Charlotte are criminal justice and computer networking technology.