Troy Moon, Pensacola State College
After graduating from Pensacola State College in May with an Associate in Science degree in dental hygiene, Stephanie Haber was ready to go to work. But there was still another step between her PSC degree and being a working dental hygienist – national tests and credentials.
Haber had to take four national board credentialing tests, totaling nearly $2,000. But she is grateful that PSC’s Career & Technical Education Resources office lessened the financial load, reimbursing $490 for the cost of one of the credentialing tests.
Now, she’s a dental hygienist working in Alabama.
“They can be very expensive,’’ Haber said of the credentialing tests. “So, it was really great that PSC was able to help me, because $490 is a lot of money.”
Certification reimbursements are just one of the services provided by the College’s CTE Resources office, which is committed to supporting students enrolled in CTE programs and working toward an Associate in Science degree, Vocational Certificate or College Credit Certificate.
Other services offered by PSC’s CTE Resources office are:
● Textbook loans
● Career Advising
● Resume Assistance
● Professional Development
● Computer Lab access
“The CTE office is one of the best we have in terms of versatility in being able to help students,’’ said Michael Johnston, PSC’s Associate Vice President of Institutional Research and Management Information Systems. “They do everything they can to help a student be successful at PSC and in the workforce. You compare it to other technical programs out there – you don’t see those resources and avenues for students.”
Though PSC only has a certain amount of funds for certification reimbursements, many colleges and universities offer no reimbursement funds.
From summer 2017 through summer 2020, the College paid $48,380 to 234 students for certification reimbursements. Just over 50 percent of the reimbursements ─ $24,600 – was to cover the National Licensed Registered Nurse exams. But certification reimbursements were made to students in a variety of CTE fields, including barbering, cybersecurity, veterinary technician and veterinary assistant, sonography, EMT and more.
“That can be huge for students,’’ said Deborah Hooks, CTE Resources director. “Our whole mission is to try to support the students and make them successful. We help students with skills they’ll need in the workforce. That’s why we offer resume assistance, mock interviews and dress for success workshops.”
There are also scholarships earmarked for CTE students. Hooks said there is $200,000 in scholarship funds available to CTE students through summer 2022.
She said CTE students are important not only to the College, but the nation, especially in light of a nationwide worker shortage.
“They can get the skills here at Pensacola State College that employers in our community are looking for,’’ Hooks said. “They can graduate and go out immediately and get a high-paying job. Welding for example. You can come into the welding program and be making big money after a year.”
“A lot of our students after completion are hired at the Shipyard in Mobile,’’ Hooks said. “Starting out they can make between $39,000 to $44,000. Top earners according to their skills can make up to $57,000. Construction welders who travel and work 12 hours a day seven days a week can make six figures.”
For information on CTE programs and resources, go to https://www.pensacolastate.edu/current-students/student-services/cte/.