Piedmont Tech Adds Two New Certificate Programs for Aspiring IT Pros
It seems every day there is a new report of computer hacking or system problems at a major company or organization. Piedmont Technical College is doing its part to prepare local workers to navigate an increasingly complex world of information technology challenges.
PTC is introducing two new certificate programs for the fall semester. The Certified IT Professional certificate prepares students to take national certification exams offered by Microsoft, CompTIA and others. The Cybersecurity certificate prepares students to protect IT systems from attack.
“There is a lot of local demand for workers with these types of skills,” said Lesley Price, who heads the Information Technology Department at Piedmont Tech.
The Certified IT Professional certificate is a 24-credit, two-semester program being offered on the Greenwood Campus. Courses range from computer systems management to operating systems to network architecture.
“Many of the classes can also be taken online,” Price said. “We understand students need flexibility.”
Upon completing the program, students should be able to properly install, configure, upgrade, troubleshoot and repair computer hardware. They may then choose to take national certification exams.
“Employers are looking for these certifications,” Price said. “We wanted people in our community to be able to get them. It makes them more employable.”
As of May 31, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) reported 11 job openings in Greenwood County for computer systems analysts alone.
Some of the national certification testing is conducted on the Greenwood campus.
“In the past, students might have had to drive to Columbia or Greenville to take these exams,” Price said. “This makes it much more convenient for them.”
Students who complete the certificate program at PTC may also choose to enroll in the Computer Technology associate degree program. Last fall, Computer Technology added a concentration in cybersecurity as part of the associate degree program. This fall, PTC is adding a one-year certificate program in cybersecurity.
“We asked employers and they expressed a need in the area of cybersecurity,” Price said.
The 27-credit program is offered on the Greenwood campus. It includes some courses being offered for the first time by Piedmont Tech, such as computer forensics, digital forensics and certified ethical hacking.
The certification is good training for someone who is interested in working as a security analyst, according to Price.
“It could be a first-time student or somebody who is already working in the IT field,” she said.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 1,400 information security analysts working in South Carolina in 2016. They earned an average wage of $73,170 per year. SCDEW reported that as of May 31 of this year, there were more than two dozen open jobs for information security analysts statewide.
Nationally, there were nearly 83,000 people working in the field in 2014, and the BLS expects that number to grow by 18 percent by 2024.
“As long as people use computers, there’s going to be hackers out there trying to gain information,” Price said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a large business or a small business, every company needs somebody with security knowledge.”
To learn more about the Certified IT Professional or Cybersecurity certificate programs, contact Lesley Price at (864) 941-8746 or firstname.lastname@example.org.