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15 Community College Programs to Get Retrained Quickly

Jun 22, 2009

Community college programs have been a huge help to the thousands of people who have been laid off and forced to change careers. If you are interested in joining the ranks of newly trained professionals, there are many different community college programs that offer the education you need to launch an alternate career. Here are 15 specific programs that provide fast training for in-demand professions.

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1. Biomedical Technology

An associate's degree in biomedical technology can lead to a career as a medical equipment repairer, a job that is projected to see much faster than average growth through 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Community colleges are meeting the need for trained individuals with biomedical engineering or equipment technology degree programs. These programs generally take two years to complete and include training in medical circuits and equipment, clinical instrumentation and equipment design.

2. Radiologic Technology

Healthcare careers are growing, and radiologic technologists are expected to see faster than average growth through 2022, according to the BLS. A large number of community colleges are offering associate's degrees in radiologic technology that prepare students to work with x-ray and CT machines. These degree programs can be completed in about two years.

3. HVAC

Careers in heating, ventilating and air conditioning, or HVAC, are considered recession-proof. The need for qualified tradesmen never goes away - even in an uncertain economy. HVAC programs can be found at many different community colleges. Programs usually last between six months and two years and result in a degree, diploma or certificate.

4. Early Childhood Education

The Obama camp is a strong supporter of early childhood education. Students who complete an early education and family studies program at a community college will be well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that can be found in early education, daycare and pre-k programs.

5. Website Design

The web design profession took a slight hit during the recession, but job opportunities are expected to be good for qualified individuals who know where to look. You can get trained in web design in just a few months. Two-year degree programs are also available for designers who want more advanced training.

6. Computer Science

Some of the fastest growing careers are in the field of computer science. Even in a recovery period, salaries are still surging for computer science grads. Nearly every community college in the country offers some type of computer science program. Most of these programs take two years to complete, but can often be finished in less time when classes are taken online.

7. Pharmacy Technology

Job opportunities for pharmacy technicians are expected to increase 20% in the coming years, the BLS reports. The profession pays moderately well but requires limited training. Most community college programs can be completed in only two semesters.

8. Diagnostic Medical Sonography

This is another healthcare career expected to see very strong growth in the next few years. If you are interested in helping patients by taking sonographs and using diagnostic equipment, a community college program in this field is worth considering. Most programs last from one to two years and result in a certificate or degree.

9. Veterinary Technology

The field of veterinary technology is expected to grow 30% in the next decade alone. If you are looking for a recession-proof job, this profession should top your list. Training can be completed in about two years through a community college or vocational school program.

10. Physical Therapy Aide

In some states, physical therapy assistants need at least an associate's degree to practice in the field. Becoming a physical therapy aide requires less formal training. Some aides are trained on-the-job, and training is also available through community college and vocational school programs.

11. Medical Billing and Coding

Medical billing and coding is a very popular option for career changers who are interested in working from home. A certificate can usually be earned in six month or less, though some programs can take as long as two years to complete. Job opportunities are available all over the nation and are expected to grow in the coming years.

12. Nursing Home Aide

An aging population has led to a high demand for nursing home aides and home healthcare workers. You can get trained quickly for either of these careers through a community college program. Most programs can be completed in as little as six months and result in some sort of certificate or diploma. More extensive training programs are also available for students who want to earn an LPN license.

13. Dental Assistant

Job prospects are still excellent for dental assistants. You can train for this profession in just a few short months at one of the many dental assisting programs offered through community and junior colleges. There are nearly 300 programs in the U.S. alone that have been accredited by the American Dental Association. Some of the longer programs (two years) result in an associate's degree. Others award a diploma or certificate.

14. Paralegal

The recession actually had a positive impact on the legal field. Crime is on the rise and trained legal professionals are desperately needed to assist with the boon. You can study for years to become a lawyer or you can choose to join the field as a paralegal. Most paralegal programs can be completed in one to two years.

15. Criminal Justice

The White House has expressed an interest in spending money to hire and keep thousands of law enforcement officers. You can join the field by completing a community college criminal justice programs. Most programs last between one and two years. However, there are some programs that can be completed in as little as six months.


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