If you’re looking for job training or a change of careers, the Continuing Education department at Dallas College may change your life.
Whether you’re fresh out of high school or have a degree and a few decades of work history, Dallas College Student Success Coach Lexi Calhoun says the school can equip you with a wide variety of job skills that are in high demand.
Students who enroll in the non-credit continuing education programs can choose from a wide range of career training options and become more competitive candidates for jobs in growing fields such as:
- Law enforcement
- The hospitality industry
- Medical, hospital and health care professions
- Culinary arts
- Graphic design
- Web development
- Radio and television broadcasting
- Truck driving
- Business management
- Substitute teaching
- Cyber security
- Automotive repair
- Computer programming
- Multimedia production
Calhoun says the school even offers quick training for jobs in the independent beer brewing industry.
“The journeyman brewer certificate is a six-week program, and then there’s an assessment at the end, and that certifies you to go out and become a professional brewer,” Calhoun says.
One of Dallas College’s most popular training programs qualifies students to enter the ever-growing fields of construction and manufacturing as a welder.
“We have a blacksmith program under continuing education, and in that we have beginning, intermediate and advanced courses. And by the time you finish the advanced level, you’re able to do modern welding and other modern techniques, so you can work in fabrication shops at the intermediate level. You can do metal related jobs and other projects. So even though it’s blacksmithing where you start off in the beginning class kind of doing the old techniques that you would think of over a forge, it advances all the way up to the welding where you’re doing fabrication work, and that leads to careers,” Calhoun says.
Flexible course duration and schedules
Calhoun says the length of the coursework varies from just a few weeks for entry-level qualifications to up to a year, sometimes more, to be qualified to apply for state certifications and licenses.
Unlike for-credit college classes that are on a spring, summer and fall semester schedule, continuing education classes start and end at various times throughout the year and can begin anytime enough students sign up for a class.
Classes also have diverse schedules, with some even being offered on Sunday nights so that students can continue in their current jobs while training for another.
“The other neat thing about us that students love is, instead of credit [course work], which runs off a semester where you’re locked in on when you can start a class, we’re continuing education, meaning we’re continuously enrolling … we’re always adding new stuff because ours isn’t running off that semester deadline; ours is running more off of days and weeks,” Calhoun says.
Additionally, some classes are totally online and accessible whenever and from wherever a student finds convenient.
“We have medical billing, which is 100% taught online, and for that just you need to do your application to the college, have a driver’s license or picture ID and your high school diploma or G.E.D. And that is huge. I mean, that gets people out there doing medical billing, and that’s an in-demand field,” Calhoun says.
Personal growth classes
Not all Dallas College Continuing Education classes are oriented toward new careers or job certifications, Calhoun adds. The college also offers personal enrichment classes such as Taekwondo, yoga, studio art, photography, sewing, jewelry making and American sign language, for example.
Course costs and financial aid
Courses in the Dallas College Continuing Education program can cost as little as $50 for yoga and $80 for a basic watercolor painting class, or as much as $475 for a week-long irrigation design course that qualifies students to apply for state licensing. Blacksmith classes cost about $240 each, and forklift operation classes cost $660. Other classes cost $1,000 or more.
Unlike for-credit courses, there are no out-of-district fees for students who live outside of Dallas County.
Calhoun says students can apply for financial assistance to help cover the cost of enrollment. Among financial aid options is the Texas Public Education Grant, or T.P.E.G, for students with financial challenges. The T.P.E.G does not have to be repaid.
Anyone who wants to enroll in Dallas College Continuing Education classes or who simply wants to explore what’s available through the C.E. program can visit the Dallas College Continuing Education website for a virtual advising session.
Additionally, each of the seven campuses in the Dallas College system has an on-site success coach, formerly known as an advisor. Success coaches can walk prospective students through the process of applying to the college, transferring school transcripts, exploring financial aid options and determining what classes and programs are the best match.
Calhoun says the offerings of Dallas College have life-changing potential for the career paths that they open for students. To begin the process, students need only to get in touch with a campus success coach.
“First step would be to visit admissions and do the application — you can either email us or visit online, and we can email you the application. And that can be submitted online to admissions. They’ll take the application with a copy of your picture I.D. and create a student I.D. number for you. Or you can come in person at the campus and do it,” Calhoun says.
“Once that’s done, then you can either meet virtually through email, through phone, or in person with a C.E. success coach, and we can walk you through registration. It’s kind of like online shopping — a lot of the classes, you can go onto our schedule, and there’s an Add to Cart button if they’re available. Some require that you have to see a C.E. success coach to get into — they’re called control classes and those are ones that have prerequisites, such as some of the programs like police academy and some of our medical programming, that you have to complete certain things before you’re accepted. And then after you’re registered, then you pay.
“And going forward, we talk about next steps — when you come see us again — what your goals are, and if you need further assistance, whether you want assistance with career search, whether you want assistance on how this will translate to a credit program, or if you need housing assistance, transportation, whatever you need, we go over every detail to make sure that there are no barriers to you attending your class.”