Six high schools are offering pathways for students to earn college credit and job skills.
By: Daniel Alejandro Diaz
Two dual credit programs are being offered this semester for high school students to earn certificates in professional and technical fields that could land them a job.
Dual credit courses allow high school students to earn college credits before they graduate. Previously, dual credit courses were offered only in arts and sciences classes such as English, math or government.
Students taking dual credit courses while in high school do not have to pay college tuition.
This is the first time dual credit courses will be offered that can lead to a certificate, Vernell Walker, dean of professional and technical education, said.
“We’re saying not only are you going to get college credit, you will get a certification saying that you have some job skill,” she said Aug. 27 in an interview. “You can actually go out there and get a job.”
This semester dual credit courses are offered for computer application specialist and multimedia specialist.
Walker said the college is hoping to add courses in the spring leading to certificates for a criminal justice specialist and communication design specialist.
All certificates require 15 credits hours, but there is no limit of credit hours that a student can take. Previously, there was a restriction on how many dual credit courses a student could earn but now a student can get more than one certificate.
In addition, thanks to House Bill 5 passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013, all high school students will have access to these courses, from freshmen to seniors, which gives another plus to this program, she said.
Six high schools are offering the dual credit courses — East Central, Harlandale and La Vernia; and Brackenridge, Lanier and Burbank in the San Antonio Independent School District.
The courses are taught by high school teachers who meet the same credentialing standards as college faculty. The teachers underwent an intensive two weeks of training during the summer to prepare to teach these courses, she said.
“It’s a pathway,” Walker said.