The impetus for adding this degree?
“Miami-Dade ranks No. 1 for air cargo, Port of Miami is leading for cruise line passenger traffic and for container traffic, and Port of Miami unveiled a $2 billion plan to continue tunnel construction and for dredging,” said Thania Rios, associate dean of MDC’s School of Business. “Also, $6 billion is being spent on Miami International Airport, including new cargo facility and warehouse space.”
Who’s going to keep all those facilities lighted and at the right temperature? Among them will be Victor Del Cid, a 27-year-old father of four who went from banking clerk to power plant electrician in two years, boosting his entry-level salary to about $45,000. He underwent a specialized two-year program that Miami Dade College began offering five years ago in conjunction with Florida Power and Light, to equip workers with the engineering skills necessary to run the Turkey Point nuclear power plant.
“The technical nature of the work and FPL being a big company, I had an idea that the compensation would be good and that there’d be opportunity for growth,” said Del Cid, who started at the plant as an apprentice three months after graduation in 2009, and now is a plant electrician, currently gaining supervisory experience for his next promotion.
Not everyone is into technical jobs, and not all job-preparatory programs are technical. Broward College has had a successful legal assistant program for years. This year the college made it even more comprehensive by administering a test from the National Association for Legal Assistants. Although not required by the state of Florida, the test is an objective measure employers can use to assess the competency of people who have gone through paralegal training. As such, some people already working as legal assistants take the exam to further demonstrate their mettle and negotiate higher salaries.
“I tell my students the test is a mini Bar exam,” said Cheryl-Dene Spring, a practicing lawyer and professor at Broward College. “It really gives them the recognition that they can provide quality legal service. I’m an attorney, when I hire this is one of the type of things that I look for.”
So if your industry seems to be disappearing, your occupation has become thankless or the economy tanked before you had your first job, take a look at industries where the jobs keep showing up. Depending on your situation and how much education you have completed, it might be a matter of taking an exam, a few courses, a certificate, or a combination. For some ideas, below are five professional-ranking jobs in growing demand that can get you started or suggest a path for further advancement. The cost of training at public colleges shown below is for Florida residents, and would be higher for non-residents.
Job: Pharmacy Technician
Salary range: $27,000 to $42,000
Training /certificate needed: Technical certificate that includes specialized pharmacy technician coursework leading to state-issued certification. Can be combined with an associate degree.
Cost of training: Can range from about $3,000 for the certificate program at a public college like Miami Dade College or Broward College, to about $19,000 in a private program such as Everest University. Individual courses at Broward or Miami Dade colleges cost about $300 each.