Moving into the 2023-24 academic year, Northland Pioneer College (NPC), has added three new academic degree programs to the college’s offerings. The new programs are designed to assist graduates with direct employment opportunities and support students who want to continue their studies at a university.
The new offerings debuting this fall include behavioral health studies, health and physical education, and the administration of justice studies. These new programs have been developed with careful analysis and in response to local, statewide, and national employment demands and socio-economic trends.
NPC’s Dean of Career and Technical Education, Jeremy Raisor explains, “The new programs support NPC’s overall strategic goal by building on the relationships we have cultivated with local agencies and employers and by addressing the barriers students face in furthering their career and educational goals locally.”
NPC currently offers a 20-week (36 credit) training course; the Northern Arizona Law Enforcement Training Academy (NALETA), that meets Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training (AZPOST) requirements for peace officers in the state of Arizona. Students who attend the academy, located at the Northeast Arizona Training Center in Taylor, AZ, are sponsored by local police agencies. Employment as an officer or deputy is contingent upon the successful completion of the academy. However, while completion typically secures employment, many local and state agencies require additional education such as an associate degree, to obtain a promotion in the field. NPC’s new Associate of Applied Science in the Administration of Justice Studies degree provides the necessary education and training to support local law enforcement professionals in advancing their careers. Additionally, the degree and certificates in the field allow graduates to obtain college-level credit that they can then transfer to a four-year university to continue their studies.
In our post-pandemic, ever-changing, and often volatile current social environment, attention has focused on the importance of mental and behavioral health services. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors and support staff is projected to grow 22 percent through 2031; much faster than the national average for all occupations. Currently, no education programs in the region are designed to train students as behavioral health technicians. Now there is one. NPC’s new behavioral health studies track provides the necessary education, training, and potential certification for students to find successful employment in behavioral health settings. Employment opportunities in the field include social work, inpatient and outpatient mental health services, substance use recovery services, developmental disability support, and forensic behavioral intervention, to name a few. The new Associate of Applied Science in Behavioral Health Studies degree would also prepare students to gain advanced credentials and transferable credit to a four-year behavioral health degree program.
Additionally, with support from, and in collaboration with NPC’s Northern Arizona Vocational Institute of Technology (NAVIT) partners and local employers, NPC is introducing a new health and physical education program. The program includes certificate options in sports medicine and in personal training and rehabilitation. Earning a certificate from NPC would qualify students to work as personal trainers, physical or occupational therapy technicians, assistants to athletic trainers, or as aides to physical therapists, occupational therapists, and chiropractors. Employment opportunities include working in private clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, home health care settings, orthopedic clinics, and gyms. Graduates with an Associate of Applied Science in Physical Health and Performance degree can continue professionally in the field, and work toward gaining the required education and training for advanced positions as physical therapy assistants, athletic trainers, physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, and medical doctors.
“NPC plays a critical role in the community,” Raisor says. “Our goal is to provide education and training to residents in our district and contribute to the region's economic development and cultural vitality.” NPC offers small class sizes and a variety of options including high school dual enrollment, distance learning, and in-person studies. “At NPC we realize the challenges our students go through, and we go above and beyond to help them achieve their goals,” Raisor continues. “These new programs have been developed to benefit not only our students but the community at large.”
Northland Pioneer College serves the residents of Navajo and Apache counties with four regional campuses and five center locations. Students are encouraged to reach out to an NPC academic advisor for more information on these new programs and other NPC offerings. Visit www.npc.edu/advisors to set up a meeting with an advisor nearest you. Registration is currently open for the fall semester. Classes begin August 21. Apply to NPC and register online at www.npc.edu or any NPC front office location.