Non-Credit Bearing Courses: Advancing Career Paths
Part of New Hampshire Community Colleges’ mission is to help students prepare for careers or promotion within a field, and that doesn’t always mean taking courses that lead to a degree or certificate.
The business and workforce development departments at all seven community colleges offer numerous non-credit bearing courses that, while not leading to a certificate or associate degree, provide invaluable job skills and can also prepare you to take certification exams.
The purpose of non-credit bearing courses is to develop skills that will make you more attractive to a potential employer or lead to advancement in a career that you’ve already started.
“Our workforce development department is part of the college’s mission,” says Alan Blake, director of communications at NHTI-Concord. “We approach it in two ways. First, it is to provide courses for individuals to obtain skills to get that job or advance their career. Second, we develop programs for employers who have employees or potential employees that need to be educated in a series of courses.”
Here’s a look at some of the non-credit courses offered at each of New Hampshire’s Community Colleges.
NHTI offers multiple non-credit courses, ranging from continuing education courses in nursing and dentistry to management development and computer skills.
“As an example, we have classes on how to use Microsoft office products or QuickBooks,” Blake says. “Often, students enroll because their employer said they needed the skill.”
One of the most popular series of non-credit bearing courses at NHTI is the Front Line Manager’s Certificate Program. Although graduates do not receive an academic certificate, they obtain a credential that shows they have completed a series of classes related to front line managers.
“We developed these classes to help employees gain the skills and leadership required to move up the chain and be promoted,” Blake says.
Nashua Community College
Nashua Community College has partnered with BAE Systems to offer a Microelectronics Boot Camp designed to teach basic military standards and assembly techniques for radio frequency and microwave electronic assemblies. The 10-week course meets the requirements for an entry-level bonding position and graduates are guaranteed an interview with BAE Systems.
NCC also offers a course in Project Management that focuses on tools and techniques used to improve the five phases of a project: initiating, planning, execution, monitoring, and controlling and closing. Topics include project scope, time, cost, risk, resources and effective communication.
River Valley Community College
River Valley Community College offers non-credit courses in arts, design, business, computer applications, hospitality, construction and trades, health and fitness, information technology and writing. Many can be taken online and most prepare students to obtain industry-recognized certifications.
Over the past year, RVCC has partnered with MilliporeSigma in Jaffrey to provide instruction on motivation, leadership, team-building, communication and behavioral attitudes.
Manchester Community College
Two non-credit courses at Manchester Community College train students to become home inspectors and pharmacy technicians.
“They receive all the information they need to sit down for the national certification exam,” says Kristine Dudley, MCC director of workforce development. “We also have a medication nursing assistant course that actually gives students certification once they pass the course. We are certified by the Board of Nursing in New Hampshire, so students receive a credential by taking our course.”
MCC also offers industry-specific courses in manufacturing, such as a tube fabrication and forming certificate, along with continuing education courses in the national electric codes.
“Much of what we do is workforce skills training, such as Microsoft office products,” Dudley says. “We have a variety of online courses, and we have Introduction to Project Management, which can be applied to many different industries.”
White Mountains Community College
White Mountains Community College has courses that provide training and certification to become a licensed nursing assistant and a medication nursing assistant. Students are instructed on working directly with patients to assist them with their personal needs, while also taking vital signs and performing routine specimen collection. The MNA course covers the professional role of the MNA, medical ethics and laws, infection control and safety for administering drugs. The students also learn medication administration methods.
Additionally, there are introductory courses in welding, technical manufacturing, photography and even the art of tying flies for fishing.
Lakes Region Community College
Anyone looking to obtain a commercial driver’s license can take the first step at Lakes Region Community College with a tractor-trailer, competency-based driver training program course that leads to a certificate in CDL-A training. The course includes trip planning, maintaining daily logs, handling cargo, cargo documentation, employer relations and public relations.
There is also a non-credit course in energy auditing that prepares students for the Building Performance Institute (BPI) Building Analyst written and field exam. Students learn how to evaluate residential buildings as energy systems, and recommend safe, energy efficient and cost-effective building improvements. Approximately half of the course is spent in the field using a blower door, combustion analyzer and other weatherization diagnostic equipment.
On a lighter note, new this year is a course in ballroom dancing.
Great Bay Community College
Great Bay Community College offers non-credit programs designed to help people find employment in entry-level manufacturing positions. The CNC Boot Camp trains students to become a CNC Operator, while Precision Machining is a two-part program that includes Introduction to Precision Machining. A third program, Introduction to Solidworks, prepares students to take the Certified Solidworks Associate exam.
“We offer occupational short-term training where students can get a job at the end of it,” says Kathleen Totten, director of community education at GBCC. “We also offer professional development for people who want to improve their skills in areas such as supervision and leadership. A new course this year is Community Leadership and Nonprofit for people who want to get into that field.”
Like the other community colleges, GBCC works closely with specific industry professionals when planning the non-credit curriculum.
“When students take our non-credit courses, they are learning exactly what the industry wants from their employees,” Totten says.