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Nicolet launches new academic credentials, adds flexible options for others

July 13, 2016

This fall Nicolet College will launch four new academic credentials and add significant flexibility to two others to meet changing job market demands and make college more accessible for students who need alternatives to traditional daytime classes.

New offerings include a Drafting Design Technician diploma, an Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) associate degree, and two new Auto Technician diplomas.

In addition, Nicolet will offer a new sequence of evening Welding classes and a part-time Nursing option, featuring online, evening and weekend classes.

More information about each offering is below.

Drafting Design Technician Diploma

With strong demand locally for individuals with drafting design skills, Nicolet College is launching a one-year technical diploma that teaches the entry-level job skills needed by area construction companies, manufacturers, and other businesses.

DraftingOver the past year Nicolet staff met with numerous area employers to gauge job demand and determine the exact skill sets companies need, said Nicolet Dean of Trade, Industry, and Apprenticeships Jeff Labs.

“Through these discussions we found that there were a number of factors that businesses were dealing with,” Labs said. “One was how quickly the design software technology was changing. And the second was how the training was taking place to get individuals up to speed. Much of it was being done in-house, often in a piecemeal fashion. Everyone agreed there was a better way, and the decision was made for Nicolet to offer a formal Drafting Design Technician technical diploma.”

Along with demand at traditional residential and commercial construction companies, Nicolet discovered significant new demand for drafting designers in the manufacturing sector, specifically with metal fabrication companies, Labs said.

Starting pay for graduates with the one-year technical diploma is around $15 an hour. This jumps to a starting range between $16.50 to more than $20 an hour for those who continue on to earn the two-year Architectural Technology associate degree.

Click here for more information about the Drafting Design Technician diploma.

Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) Associate Degree

 “It’s no secret that Wisconsin is at or near the top of just about every list that ranks alcohol consumption,” said Lenore Blemke, dean of Health Occupations at Nicolet College. “Couple that with the increasing problem of opioid use and addiction, and it’s easy to see which direction demand is going for professionals trained to help people successfully deal with these issues.”

The 64-credit Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse (AODA) degree will help students develop skills in counseling, diagnosis, treatment planning, group facilitation, and crisis management.

Blemke noted the credential is perfect for anyone looking to start a career in the field as well as for those working in a related health care field looking to add to their resume.

Across the state, median entry-level wages for 2015 graduates with an AODA associate degree were $33,599 year, according to the latest Wisconsin Technical College System Graduate Outcomes report.

Click here for more information about the AODA associate degree.

Auto Technician Diplomas

Nicolet’s two new Auto Technician diplomas start with a fast-track credential for entry-level jobs and culminate with a two-year technical diploma and ASE Master Technician certification.

Auto“The goal was to create a pathway for students to learn the basic skills they need to get a job in the field relatively quickly and then follow that with more in-depth instruction that allows them to advance in their position,” said Labs.

The one-year Automotive Service Technician technical diploma is the first step in the pathway where students learn how to diagnose and repair multiple vehicles systems. These include engines, transmissions, fuel and electrical systems, steering and suspension systems, brakes, and climate control systems.

Students completing this diploma will have the skills to enter the workforce. They can also apply the 29 credits they earned to the two-year, 55-credit Automotive Technician technical diploma.

Graduates in 2015 with the two-year credential reported mean entry-level annual wages of $25,738.

Click here for more information about the Auto Technician diplomas.

Part-time Nursing Associate Degree

Nicolet’s new sequence of part-time Nursing class is designed for anyone interested in a nursing career but is unable to attend traditional daytime classes.

Nursing“We’re seeing an increasing number of people who want a career in nursing but need alternatives to the traditional pathway,” Blemke said. “People are busy. They have to work. They have children and any number of other responsibilities. This new sequence of classes is an option that may work for them.”

All of the classes - from the pre-requisites through the core Nursing classes that lead to an associate’s degree – will be held online, in the evening, or on weekends, Blemke explained.

The 70-credit sequence has students taking between one and three classes a semester and completing the associate’s degree in the summer of 2020.

While some potential students see that as a long ways off, “I always ask them, ‘What type of work will you be doing in 2020 if you don’t have a degree?’” Blemke said. “It does take effort, but the rewards of earning a Nursing degree will last a lifetime.”

Nicolet Nursing students who graduated in 2015 reported a starting median salary of $41,493. The survey also showed a 100 percent job placement rate, with every student responding to the survey finding a job in the field.

Click here for more information about the Nursing associate degree.

Evening Welding Classes

Nicolet College Welding classes will be offered evenings starting this fall for individuals looking to enter or move up in the field but were unable to take daytime classes due to other obligations.

Welding“By having the entire program available evenings, we’re looking to open the door to a great career for many individuals who might not otherwise have had the opportunity,” Labs said.

Students will start with classes to earn the entry-level, 17-credit Welding/Maintenance and Fabrication technical diploma. The credits for this college credential can then be applied to the more advanced 34-credit Welding technical diploma, which takes one year to complete.

“What we often see is students will earn the first diploma, obtain a job working in the field, and continue taking classes to advance in their position,” he added. “It’s a great way to make money while at the same time to build the foundation for future advancement.”

A wage survey of the 2015 Nicolet Welding graduates showed a starting median pay of $33,277 a year. This can grow considerably with experience and continued skill development, Labs added.

Click here for more information about the Welding program.