HLC Self Study
Chapter 7 Graphic

Preparing the Workforce

As Estrella Mountain strives to be responsive to business and industry needs, there are new challenges from the Higher Learning Commission and the U.S. Department of Education. Once such challenge involves new requirements to meet gainful employment criteria. As a result, the College can no longer quickly respond to community needs regarding the creation and offering of new workforce programs. Before offering a new program, Estrella Mountain must go through an approval process that can take up to six months. However, students enrolling in existing occupational degree or certificate programs can now find information on the college website regarding on-time completion rates, median debt of students completing the program and other important program information. This new release of information will assist students in making an informed decision when enrolling in any Estrella Mountain occupational program.

In 2009, an Estrella Mountain Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness follow-up survey was conducted one year after completion of students who completed two-year transfer degrees, two-year occupational degrees, occupational certificates, and SouthWest Skill Center certificates. The survey addressed whether or not students gained the skills and knowledge needed to function in a diverse local, national and global society.

The following questions were presented:

  • How well has your Estrella Mountain degree/certificate prepared you for success at the university that you have most recently attended?
  • Do you believe the degree or certificate you received enhanced your ability to think critically?
  • Do you believe the degree or certificate you received enhanced your ability to communicate better?

Results of the 2009 survey are as follows:

  • More than 85 percentage of student transfer respondents felt they were fully or mostly prepared for success at the university
  • 90 percent believed the degree they received enhanced their ability to communicate better
  • 98 percent of respondents believed it enhanced their ability to think critically
  • 60 percent of the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree graduate respondents felt they were fully or mostly prepared for success at the university level
  • 90 percent AAS graduate respondents believed the degree enhanced their ability to think critically
  • 70 percent of respondents believed it enhanced their ability to communicate better
  • 75 percent of certificate completer respondents felt they were fully or mostly prepared for success at the university level

Evidence of how the College is providing skills essential to a diverse workforce is also demonstrated through a review of program offerings. Estrella Mountain offers a High School Nurse Assistant program and a Nursing Assistant program. Both of these programs provide students with a SouthWest Skill Center (SWSC) certificate of completion and the eligibility to sit for the Arizona State Board of Nursing (AZBN) certification examination. The SWSC certificate of completion for Medical Billing and Coding provides national registration/certification and is for students who complete the program through the following certifying organizations:

  • American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC)
  • Certified Professional Coder (CPC)
  • Certified Professional Coder-Hospital (CPC-H)
  • Certified Professional Coder-Payer (CPC-P)
  • Certified Professional Coder-Apprentice (CPC-A)
  • Certified Professional Coder-Hospital Apprentice (CPC-HA)
  • American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
  • Certified Coding Assistant (CCA)
  • Certified Coding Specialist (CCS)
  • Certified Coding Specialist-Physician-Based (CCS-P)
  • American Medical Billing Association (AMBA)
  • Certified Medical Reimbursement Specialist (CMRS)