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Whether you’re a recent high school graduate, someone who has been out of school for a while or an adult that wants to improve on their current position in life, Mountwest has a career or certificate program that will help you on the road to getting you where you need to be.

The question is always… “What do I do?” or “How do I get started?”  This article of our popular Career Focus magazine is intended to give you the step-by-step answers to that question.

Step One: Make the decision that higher education is the right path for you.

Achieving your career goals in life often requires education.  And that often means higher education.  Getting started on your professional career at Mountwest Community & Technical College is always a good choice.  You may have heard the questions, “What exactly is a community college, and how is it different than other higher education institutions?”  Those are good questions.

Community colleges have been around in the United States for decades.  Before 1970, most community colleges were referred to as “junior colleges”.  That term has most recently become associated with colleges that are privately funded, two-year institutions.  Community colleges, like Mountwest, are typically funded by the state and federal government and have the support of the education system in the state they’re located.

Students have many options at a community college.  They can receive their associate degree, a one-year certificate in many fields, continuing education or other types of career certifications. Many community colleges have evolved into and adapted the term comprehensive to describe their institutions. These schools typically offer five facets of education:

1. Transfer education – The traditional two-year student who will then transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a BS/BA degree.

2. Career education – The traditional two-year student that will graduate with an associate degree and directly enter the workforce.

3. Continuing – Non-credit courses offered to the community for personal development and interest.

4. Industry training – Contracted training and education wherein a local company pays the college to provide specific training or courses for their employees.

5. eLearning – Distance learning occurs online using one’s computer and proctored exams. Students can complete their educational needs on their own time, in their own home.

Within the transfer education category, comprehensive schools typically have articulation agreements in place that provide prearranged acceptance into specific four-year institutions.  For example, at Mountwest, articulation agreements exist between many local, regional and national four-year institutions that allow for all the credits earned at Mountwest to transfer to that school and be counted toward your bachelor’s degree.

Making the choice to pursue higher education – be it getting your bachelor’s degree, associate degree, career certificate or industry training is a choice that you make that says you are interested in going farther, earning more and getting on the path to success.

In 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau published an article stating that in West Virginia, a college graduate earned, on average, 62% more over the course of their professional career than a person that only completed high school. What does that mean to you?

If you, on average, graduated high school tomorrow and got a job making $25,000 per year, you would make one million dollars over your typical 40-year career.  Get your degree and that number goes to over $41,000 per year and over $1,600,000 on your career – pretty significant.

Making the decision to better yourself through education is obviously a strong choice.  Choosing Mountwest is an even better one.evolution_2

Step Two: Make the call.

So you’ve made the decision you want to find out more about Mountwest.  What now?  Pick up the phone.  Call us at (WHAT NUMBER), and our friendly advisors will help you with everything you need to know.

Our advisors and counselors are employed to help you. Let them do their job.  You’ll have questions, and we have the answers you need.

Step Three: Enroll and secure finances.

evolution_3It sounds easy, but just thinking about the enrollment process can be intimidating.  At Mountwest, we take the intimidation out of the equation.  Mountwest fosters educational growth within the community through an open enrollment policy. The enrollment process begins with the admission application and is followed by the CAP assessment. Once admitted, an educational counselor will assist the student with developing a program of study and planning educational goals.

Many high school graduates think that their standardized testing scores or community involvement is what gets them into college.  At many four-year institutions, they’re correct.  It’s typically a competitive process where students are evaluated against their peers and previous standards to determine who is admitted.

Not at Mountwest.  If you are a high school graduate or have a GED, you’re accepted.  We believe in the ability for anyone to better themselves through education and provide you with the path to do so.  Getting started is as easy as visiting us on our new campus, located atop 5th Street Hill in Huntington, West Virginia, and filling out an application.

One consistent bit of feedback that we heard from our students in our previous location was that it was difficult to complete all you needed to in order to get started.  You needed to physically go from one place to another in order to complete the process.  This proved to be frustrating, tiresome and slow…three attributes no one wants to experience.

At our new location, we’ve streamlined the process by providing students with a visible, quick and efficient one-stop shop for all the necessary steps of getting started at Mountwest.  Our new student services suite allows for private consultation with our enrollment team, financial aid counselors and career and education counselors all in one location, all within feet of one another.  Our team of professionals is trained to provide you with the information you need to get started.

Financial aid is always a question incoming students have about Mountwest.  We’re proud to boast some of the lowest costs of attendance in our region in the realm of higher education.  Compared to a full class schedule at Mountwest, it can cost you up to 600% more to attend a private, for-profit institution in our region.  Mountwest provides you with an education that you can use immediately in the most affordable fashion in our region.  No one wants to spend the majority of their earnings on student loans.

The financial aid office at Mountwest is designed to give you a conduit for the obtainment of the resources you need to attend Mountwest.  We have trained counselors that know all the available avenues to get you the financial aid you need to attend and be comfortable.  There are grants, loans and many tax advantages to you for attending college.  We’ll work hard on your behalf to get you what you need.


Step Four: Choose your career path.

Choosing a career path or course of study is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

What interests you?  Are you already in a career?  Where do you see potential for personal growth?  These are all great questions to consider when you’re choosing the path to your future. At Mountwest, we offer courses of study through two distinct academic divisions:

General Education and Transfer:

In addition to providing General Education courses for all Mountwest Community & Technical College programs, the General Education and Transfer Division offers many programs designed to provide you the foundation for your bachelor’s degree, an associate degree or certificate in many growing fields:

• Education

• Communication

• Journalism

This is also the academic division you would enter if your intention is to start your education at Mountwest and transfer to one of the many four-year institutions that we have an articulation agreement with like Marshall, West Virginia, Ohio and others.  Spending your first two or three years at Mountwest allows you to save significant costs and get a quality, focused education you can use in your bachelor’s degree studies.

Career and Technical Studies:

Nationally, the need for careers in healthcare and life sciences is expected to grow for several years, and Mountwest is here to assist you with attaining the education and skills needed for these jobs.  The Career and Technical Studies Division offers Associate of Applied Science degrees, Certificate of Science and numerous skill sets.  Many of these programs are accredited by professional accrediting agencies to meet the standards of excellence in their field.  Students have the opportunity to train using our state-of-the art clinical and life science equipment similar to that found in the modern workplace. You can work toward a career in many fields such as:

• Allied health occupations such as nursing

• Massage therapy

• Medical assisting

• Pharmacy

• Physical therapy

• Certified coding specialists

• Clinical assistants

• Exercise science

• Paramedic science

Additionally, our technical studies programs are developed so that students quickly attain critical job skills and move into employment through skill sets, certificate in applied science degrees, or associate in applied science degrees. All business, technology and workforce development faculty members are student focused and look forward to helping students achieve their educational and employment goals. Though this division you can pursue careers in:

• Business

• Banking and finance

• Hospitality including culinary arts

• Information technology such as networking, web development

and gaming

• Legal

• Management and more

In addition to the divisions noted above, Mountwest offers continuing education initiatives in many areas that allow you to either qualify to immediately enter a new career or gain new skills in an existing career.  You can train for careers in:

• Business and industry

• Cooking & Culinary

• Extension programs

• Inland Waterways and Maritime

• Workforce Development Institute

• Wastewater Training and more

Finally, if you’re not 100% sure what procedures there are, what options are available or how you move around Mountwest, we’ve designed the E-ZStart program for all our incoming students if they wish to engage in it.

E-ZStart is a FREE course that provides you with all you need to know about college.  You can earn credits learning about earning credits!  We encourage all our students to enroll in the E-ZStart program to get acclimated to all that Mountwest has to offer.

Step Five: Attend classes.

As rudimentary as it sounds, there are actually many ways to take a course at Mountwest.

In 2012, we completely moved into our beautiful, new and advanced campus atop 5th Street Hill in Huntington, West Virginia.  This five-floor facility includes all the modern tools and technologies you need to get on the path to a better tomorrow!

We boast a student resource center that includes numerous study materials, a wide range of informational resources and is staffed with trained professionals to help you find what you need.

We’ve loaded the facility with numerous computer labs equipped with the latest in technologies and lightning fast, free Internet that allows you to research, learn and explore.  Our IT and computer professionals are always on site to assist.

The amenities also include more than 650 free parking spaces conveniently located next to the building, an outdoor deck and picnic area, and our very own Mountwest Café that serves fresh meals throughout the day.  We’re also served by public transportation and are conveniently located next to major interstate routes.

In addition to the on-site learning capabilities, we offer distance, or online learning for our students. More than 100 courses have online options that are available to you and that number is growing all the time.  The ability to complete your degree studies online and on your schedule is outstanding.

We also offer many evening classes and have remote locations for learning that may be of interest to you.

Step Six: Complete your studies, and start earning!

Whether it’s a continuing education course, a one-year certificate, your associate degree or you’re moving on to your bachelor’s degree, completing your studies at Mountwest is only the beginning.

Once you’ve achieved your goals, we assist you in finding the right job placement with our many counselors in student services.  Our career goals team is at your disposal to assist in finding the job of your dreams.

Mountwest is your starting point for a new and exciting career! Follow these easy steps and get started today!

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