Where Are the Hot Jobs?
College Graduation is Now a Community Affair: Help Comes from Strangers, as Well as Faculty and Friends

PHILADELPHIA, May 03, 2012 — Erica Morrison made a decision last year that has nearly doubled her salary. She enrolled at Community College of Philadelphia to get the training to become a certified pharmacy technician.

After completing the six-week Wanamaker Scholars Program, the mother of two passed the state exam, which qualified her for a new job at Keystone Mercy Hospital that pays $7 per hour more than she earned as an uncertified worker at a retail pharmacy. “The certification made all the difference,” Morrison said.

Today’s challenging job market increasingly demands that workers obtain the appropriate academic and occupational certifications, along with academic degrees. By coming in on the ground level, graduates gain a foothold in expanding and emerging industries, and their real-world experience gives them a competitive advantage as they pursue their education.

In recent years, the College has established a series of seamless career ladders, where students can gain entry to high-growth business sectors by taking first-tier, career-specific certificate courses that may last as little as six weeks. The popularity of these programs has grown as employers seek out job candidates with credentials that attest to their proficiency. Industries and occupations related to health care, personal care, social assistance and construction are projected to have the fastest job growth between 2010 and 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The College will confer 2,322 associate’s degrees and 161 academic certificates to 2,258 candidates at its 46th Commencement on May 5 at 10 a.m. at Temple University’s Liacouras Center, Broad Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue. Below are stories of graduates who are heading into the area’s hottest growth sectors:

Health Services Management and Patient Service Representative

Iyun Williams, 34, a former emergency medical technician, came to the College to study for a Nursing career. But after doing some research, he switched his major to Health Service Management (HSM).  “Even though I like patient care, because I have been an EMT for seven to eight years, I realized that there is a whole lot more to health care than Nursing,” Williams said. Williams is graduating with associate’s degrees in HSM, Patient Service Representative, and Culture, Science and Technology, qualifying him to work in a variety of health care settings. To give himself an added edge in the job market, he also earned a PSR Proficiency Certificate, which focuses on the administrative components of a medical practice. “I want to find a good job, and then pursue a bachelor’s degree,” Williams said. “My goal is to be the manager of a hospital.” Williams will enter Drexel University in September to continue work on a bachelor’s in Health Care Administration.
Median Annual Salary: $84,270
Projected Job growth: 22 percent, better than the national average for all occupations

Dental Hygienist (Allied Health)

Talia Shumsonk, 26, earned a bachelor’s in Science from Pennsylvania State University but decided that a career in Science was not for her. The Bristol Township resident really wanted to work as a Dental Hygienist and chose Community College of Philadelphia for its diverse student body and urban setting. “The patients that we see are more diverse than I would ever see in the suburbs,” Shumsonk said. “It is more realistic, and it gave me a chance to feel more comfortable and confident going out into the world.” Affordability also weighed heavily on Shumsonk, who took out student loans to help pay for her bachelor’s degree. “I did not want to be swamped in more debt,” she said. Shumsonk will receive an Associate in Applied Science degree in Dental Hygiene, with credits that are transferrable to a four-year program. However, once she passes a state exam, Shumsonk is eligible to find employment as a licensed dental hygienist, a job market driven by population growth and a growing emphasis on preventative dental care. Shumsonk’s interest in the field began as a teenager when she broke her jaw in a fall and required years of reconstructive dental work.   
Median annual salary: nearly $70,000
Projected job growth: 36.1 percent, better than average

Cook/Chef

Svetlana Jordan, 28, immigrated to the United States from Russia when she was 19 and became a naturalized American citizen in 2010. Jordan tried her had at several jobs before enrolling in the College’s Culinary Arts program, “because people always have to eat.” Jordan already is putting her culinary training to use as a line cook at Shannondell at Valley Forge, an upscale retirement facility in Montgomery County. “I do want to become an executive chef, and I know it will take a few years,” Jordan said. Her more immediate goal is to become a sous chef in a year. Both of these goals will require more schooling, and Jordan is prepared to continue working full time while taking college courses. “There are a lot of jobs out there for students with degrees,” she said. She should find plenty of opportunities in a booming hospitality sector. The demand for culinary and hospitality workers in the Philadelphia region is expected to grow faster than the national average, thanks to the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the opening of four casino operations and at least four new hotels to be added by 2014.
Median annual salary: $40,630
Projected job growth: 8 percent, slower than average

Event Planner

The region’s expanding hospitality market is good news for Kelsey Humphrey. Humphrey chose Hospitality as the route to a career as an event planner. Since January, Humphrey has been getting hands-on experience as an events management intern with the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association (GPHA). The Hospitality Management major expects to continue her internship after starting Temple University in the September to earn an Event Leadership certificate. “Meanwhile, I have many networking events I plan on attending in the future through GPHA,” Humphrey said. The GPHA internship allowed the single mom to work while she earned an associate’s degree in Hospitality Management, which prepares graduates for work in a wide variety of related careers. As an event planner, Humphrey will coordinate all aspects of conventions, professional meetings and events.  
Median annual salary: $45,260
Projected job growth: 45 percent, much faster than average

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst

Alban Bici, is the first to graduate from the College’s Geographic Information Systems degree program. Surprisingly, the international student had never heard of the emerging profession when he arrived from Albania two years ago. He has since learned that mapping and GIS are two of the fastest growing areas within the technology sector. Bici, who is in the United States on a student visa, will continue his education at Strayer University. Most geographers need a master’s degree in Geography, although some midlevel positions allow candidates to substitute experience or GIS proficiency for an advanced degree. Those with a bachelor’s degree may qualify for some jobs in government, businesses or nonprofits. “I know the economy is still on recovery, and millions of people are still unemployed, but I do believe that with a strong and well-educated, young generation, we can accomplish big things.”
Median annual salary: $72,800 
Projected job growth: 35 percent, much faster than the average for all occupations

Clinical Laboratory Technician

Chau Dang, 29, started on the path to a Nursing degree, but changed her mind after her first experience in a Chemistry lab. Something about looking through a microscope fascinated the Vietnamese immigrant. Then she heard that many local hospitals are requiring Nursing applicants to have a bachelor’s degree, even though Pennsylvania requires a two-year degree to become a registered nurse in Pennsylvania. The international student has proven to be a whiz in the lab and this year won Chemistry’s 2012 Departmental Distinction award. Dang plans to find a job as a lab assistant as soon as she graduates. The bachelor’s degree that could elevate Dang to Clinical Laboratory Technologist at double the pay of a technician will come later, she said. Her husband, Hoang Khong, also attended the College as an undergraduate and went on to earn a four-year degree in Architecture.
Median annual salary: $46,680
Projected job growth: 13 percent

Erica Morrison was working in a Walmart pharmacy at less than $10 an hour when she enrolled in the Wanamaker Scholars Pharmacy Technician program. She graduated from the certificate program in just six weeks and within a few months, she had a new job at Keystone Mercy Hospital paying $7 an hour more than her former job. “The certification made all the difference,” Morrison said. “It was a condition of the job.” Morrison had worked as an assistant at the retail pharmacy since 2005. She knew that completing a certification program would mean more money, but as a working mom, Morrison could not take the time for a nine to 18-month programs offered by many schools. Then she learned about the College’s Wanamaker Scholars program, which allows students to complete their certificate training in just 75 hours over six weeks. “It was a perfect fit for me,” she said.
Median annual salary: $28,400
Projected job growth: 32 percent, much better than average

Additional information about up-in-coming careers will be available at a series of open houses planned this summer at our Main Campus and Regional Centers. At the open houses, prospective students will learn about the College’s academic programs and activities, the admissions process, financial aid, and the Dual Admissions Program that allows for seamless transfer to partnering four-year schools.

Main Campus, 1700 Spring Garden St.
RSVP: http://path.ccp.edu/site/prospective/open_houses_form.php
Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 25, 2012, 6:00 p.m.

Northeast Regional Center, 12901 Townsend Rd.
RSVP: e-mail openhouse@ccp.edu
Tuesday, June 12, 2012, 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 6:00 p.m.

Northwest Regional Center, 1300 W. Godfrey Ave.
RSVP: e-mail openhouse@ccp.edu
Thursday, June 7, 2012, 6:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 18, 2012, 6:00 p.m.

West Regional Center, 4725 Chestnut St.
RSVP: http://path.ccp.edu/site/prospective/open_houses_form.php
Tuesday, June 5, 2012, 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 6:00 p.m.

*All salary and job growth numbers are as reported by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010).