Spotlight on Tallapoosa & Chambers: Higher Education

Two community colleges provide several certificate and degree options for area residents

Central Alabama Community College is simulating real factory operations for students with the SMC HAS-200 trainer.

Central Alabama Community College

CACC is one of Alabama’s five original community colleges. Its main campus is in Alexander City, with additional locations in Childersburg, Talladega and a new campus in Prattville. The service area for the college includes all of Tallapoosa, Coosa and Talladega counties, plus portions of Shelby, Clay, Elmore and Autauga counties.

CACC enrolled 2,219 students in the 2021-2022 academic year and enrollment is currently up by 14% over last fall. The college boasts a 15:1 student-faculty ratio and offers associate degrees in science, applied science and occupational technology.

Students who choose the associate in science degree path can transfer to a four-year college or university to finish their course of study. Students who choose the associate in applied science degree path can pursue a degree in computer science, general business, office administration, nursing, automotive manufacturing technology, medical assisting technology and industrial electronics technology. And students who choose the associate in occupational technology degree can pursue cosmetology, machine shop or welding,

The dual enrollment program continues to grow rapidly at CACC, serving students in grades 10 to 12 at the 40-plus high schools in the college’s service area.

Heading into 2023, CACC is offering several new programs. CACC signed an agreement with Intel to offer AI Artificial Intelligence, making it the only school in Alabama and one of the first in the nation to offer this program. CACC also offers the MFG 4.0 Curriculum for its electrical and mechanical maintenance pathways.

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The Marine Service Technician program, started in 2020, has continued to grow.

CACC recently started a nursing apprenticeship for four health care provider companies. The number of health care provider participants has grown to more 25, now just weeks after the start.

CACC also plans a Google IT Professional Certificate program, preparing students for an entry-level IT support job and industry certification.

The community college works with business and industry, government, civic clubs and more to make sure its programs match regional needs.

For students who opt to transition to a four-year school, CACC has transfer programs in place with the Auburn University School of Agriculture, Auburn University at Montgomery, Troy University and Alabama State University.

CACC continues to offer medical assisting technology. This program includes instruction in basic anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, medical law and ethics, medical office procedures and more preparing graduates for supervised work in a medical setting.

Southern Union State Community College has experienced substantial growth in the last few years at its Valley campus.

Southern Union State Community College

The second oldest community college is Alabama, Southern Union State Community College has three campus locations in Wadley, Opelika and Valley. SUSCC serves residents of an eight-county area of east and central Alabama, as well as neighboring Georgia counties.

The Valley campus of Southern Union State Community College in Chambers County has experienced substantial growth over the last few years. Home to the college’s physical therapist assistant and medical assistant technology programs, the campus has continued its tradition of offering programs in the medical field.

The Valley campus, which opened in 1974, was established to offer academic courses for transfer as well as a home for the college’s nursing program, which has since moved off campus.

The campus’ Saturday College offerings have grown since its inception in 2019. Saturday College offers students an opportunity to earn an associate in science degree in seven semesters or less by attending classes on Saturday and/or online.

SUSCC and Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine are developing a partnership to offer a veterinary technician program on the Valley campus.

This article appeared in the December 2022 issue of Business Alabama.

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