Career ladder helps students advance in careers

Published 7:50 am Friday, September 18, 2009

Some people wanting to enter a certain profession are intimidated by the notion of pursuing the required degree in combination with work and family responsibilities. A good avenue for them to explore is the career ladder. As a Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a 100 miles begins with the first step.”

Career Ladder

A deliberately designed career ladder enables you to start at the bottom and move up as you acquire more skills. Step by step, it provides you with courses you need to land a position in a high-demand field and to continue advancing in your career. You can take a part-time certificate program, enter the workforce, and then return to take more classes toward a degree and a better job.

Paul D. Camp Community College provides short-term programs that can be the first step on a career ladder for achieving further credentials, making it possible to start with a career studies certificate and continue through a two-year degree, a four-year degree, a master’s degree, and even a doctoral degree in particular areas of study. Following are examples:


You can complete the Nurse Aide Career Studies Certificate in a couple of semesters, followed by work experience as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) to see if you really want to work in that field. After you make that decision, completion of the Career Studies Certificate paves the way to another step on the ladder (the CNA to RN bridge program) to complete a two-year degree in nursing to become a Registered Nurse. If you are already a Licensed Practical Nurse, the career ladder (LPN to RN program) enables you to become an RN by completing the Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in nursing in three semesters.

Being successful at the lower degree level provides access to yet another rung on the ladder. If you wish to acquire a four-year degree in nursing, PDCCC has articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities. Success in attaining the bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) in turn leads to eligibility for acceptance into a graduate program to earn a master’s degree in nursing (MSN), which can be followed by a doctoral degree (DSN).

Early Childhood Development

If you wish to become a qualified teacher and/or director in a Head Start or child care setting, you can begin with the Career Studies Certificate in Child Care. Courses in this program wrap into the Early Childhood Development Certificate, which leads to the next rung on this career ladder: the AAS degree in Early Childhood Development. After earning this two-year degree, you can start working on a four-year degree.

Paul D. Camp has established a transfer articulation agreement with Norfolk State University for pursuit of a baccalaureate degree in Early Childhood Development: Child Care Option. Upon successful completion of the four-year degree, you can enter master’s degree program, and ultimately a doctoral program, depending on your level of success and career interest.

Business Opportunities

If you have an idea for a small business, you can start first with the Career Studies Certificate in Entrepreneurship in Small Business. All classes in this program apply toward two options under the AAS degree in Management: General Management and Marketing Management. After completing the AAS degree, you can go on to Old Dominion University, which accepts credits from this non-transfer program.

Lateral Moves

You can also consider lateral moves from one area to another. For example, early childhood majors aspiring to establish their own day care centers can complete the Career Studies Certificate in Entrepreneurship in Small Business to get help in developing a business plan. This same option applies to other fields of study, such as Electricity and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning).

For more information on career ladder possibilities or other options available at PDCCC, call 569-6700, or visit our Web site at