BY KARISSA MILLER
When Mitchell College first opened its doors more than 150 years ago, it was small, locally attended higher learning institution.
Today, Mitchell Community College serves thousands of students at its campuses in Statesville and Mooresville.
The campuses continue to operate as places where students can earn an affordable post-secondary or technical education close to home. Nowadays, however, there are far more career options, including three different information technology degrees and a paralegal program.
“With a historic campus in Statesville, a fast-growing campus in Mooresville, as well as online courses — we’re here to make sure our students are prepared to excel,” said Mitchell President Dr. Tim Brewer.
Mitchell offers a variety of technical training programs and two-year degrees to prepare students for today’s careers .
“Our technical certificates, diplomas and degrees train students from a modern, competitive workforce. Along with short-term coursework from our Continuing Education Department, Mitchell can help you successfully enter or re-enter the workforce,” Brewer said.
Associate degrees, as well as transfer and career programs, also remain an integral part of what Mitchell continues to offer.
“Our curriculum is aligned with four-year institutions to ensure students receive high-quality, transferable coursework close to home,” Brewer explained.
Here’s an overview of a few of Mitchell’s most popular career programs:
Mitchell has a long history of preparing area nurses for careers in the medical field. The college also plays a major role in supplying well-qualified graduates for the county’s many medical facilities. Around 80 to 85 percent of Iredell County’s nurses were trained at Mitchell.
Graduates go to work in many fields, including home health, industrial, rehabilitation, long-term healthcare, acute care, nursing homes and hospitals.
Students can earn an Associate Degree in Nursing and continue toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or earn a Certified Medical Assistants’ certificate through the Medical Assisting program.
No matter what program the student is pursuing, recent facility upgrades will help to enhance the student’s learning experience at the Statesville campus. The nursing program boasts a new 40,000 square foot health sciences facility, which includes simulation labs, teaching spaces and centralized faculty offices.
Associate Nursing Degree
• Cost for all courses: $9,500
• Length of program: 2 years
• Pass rate for state exams: average 95 to 96 percent pass rate on NCLEX- RN
• Career outlook in Iredell County: Excellent, there is a need for RNs
• Starting pay range: Different at every hospital
Medical Assisting program
• Cost: Less than RN program
• Length of program: Diploma is fall, spring, and externship ends in June. With diploma completed, student can sit for certification exam. The diploma program is CAAHEP accredited.
Associate Degree is two years.
• Pass rate for state exams (if applicable): 90 to 95 percent
• Career outlook in Iredell County: Excellent, there is vast need for medical assistants in many settings
• Starting pay range: $13 to $15 per hour
• Opportunities to continue studies: Student can start with diploma, and progress to Associate Degree in Medical Assisting.
If you are interested in emergency medical service, two key EMS careers are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and paramedics. Mitchell’s EMT program prepares students for entry-level positions in emergency pre-hospital care.
Upon completion, a student should be prepared to take the North Carolina EMT basic exam.
• Cost: $180 plus supplies (approximately $500 total)
• Length of program: 4 months
• Pass rate for state exams: 90 percent pass rate
• Career outlook in Iredell County: Excellent, 6 percent growth expected in N.C.
• Starting pay range: The median annual wage for EMTs and paramedics was $36,650 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,650, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $62,150.
This program provides individuals with the knowledge, skills and attributes to provide advanced emergency medical care.
• Cost: $360 plus supplies (approximately $1,200)
• Length of program: 18 months
• Pass rate for state exams: 100 percent in 2012, 100 percnet in 2017, 100 percent (curriculum) 2019, and 90 percent in 2021
• Career outlook in Iredell County: Excellent. With a 6 percent growth expected in N.C., almost all of Mitchell’s graduates are employed by Iredell County EMS.
• Starting pay range: The median annual wage for EMTs and paramedics was $36,650 in May 2020.
Mitchell’s Basic Firefighter Training program provides individuals the information and skills needed to obtain North Carolina Fire Fighter certification with the N.C. Department of Insurance, International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and the National Board of Fire Service Professional Qualifications.
• Cost: $450 total
• Length of program: 3 months
• Pass rate for state exams: 100 percent
• Career outlook in Iredell County: Almost all of the new hires for Statesville and Mooresville attended the Mitchell Basic Firefighter Program. In many cases, the departments pay for their new hires to attend the certification program.
• Starting pay range: The median annual wage for firefighters was $52,500 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,940, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $93,790.
• Curriculum degree options: A.A.S. at MCC, many opportunities to transfer Continuing Education credit in to curriculum.
Basic Law Enforcement Training (BLET) is designed to provide the essential skills required for entry-level employment as a law enforcement officer with state, county and municipal governments, as well as private enterprise. Applicants must be 20 years of age prior to the last day of training. Applicants must have completed high school or received a GED prior to the first day of class. Must successfully obtain a tenth-grade reading level on the TABE test administered by Mitchell Community College Personnel. Must possess a valid N.C. driver’s license and be a U.S. citizen. Must be present the first day of class. No applicant will be admitted into the program if they have ever been charged or convicted of a felony. Nor will they be admitted if they have been charged, convicted or have pending charges within the past five years of any Class B Misdemeanor or DWI.
• Cost: $680
• Length of program: 4 months
• Pass rate for state exams: 95 percent
• Career outlook in Iredell County: Employment of police and detectives are projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.
• Starting pay range: The median annual wage for police and detectives was $67,290 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,130, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $113,860.
• Curriculum degree options: A.A.S. at MCC; 20 credits awarded in the degree for BLET.
Graduates of the Welding Technology curriculum may be employed as entry level technicians in welding and metalworking industries. Career opportunities also exist in construction, manufacturing, fabrication, sales, quality control, supervision and welding-related self-employment.
Welding is a course that is offered under two options, either as a curriculum program or a continuing education program.
• Cost: $231.25 (Students must provide appropriate safety equipment; information given at first class. This is in addition to the cost of the class).
• Length of program: 16 weeks, a total of 96 hours
• Pass rate for state exams: N/A
• Career outlook in Iredell County: Very good
• Starting pay range: $15 to $18 per hour
Information Technology (IT)
Mitchell offers Information Technology (IT) degrees in networking, service and support and software development.
♦ Networking – A specific IT degree for setting up and configuring Network Servers of multiple types, Routers and Bridges to connect computers to them. This degree also has classes in both Windows and Linux OS Administration.
♦ Service/Support Development – A general IT Help Desk Degree enabling a student to work a Help Desk or Support Position for a local company setting up computers, fixing some software problems, installing software and upgrading computers. This degree has classes in advanced hardware support and both Windows and Linux OS Administration.
♦ Software Development – A specific degree making computer software programs for a business. Multiple programming languages are in this degree as well as database classes. This degree would enable a student to get a job as a computer programmer or software developer.
• Cost: $5,320 of tuition for the 70 credit hours of classes (at $76 per hour) and $40 in other fees for four semesters of classes. Totaling $5,760.
• Career outlook in Iredell County: Very good.
• Starting pay range: The average salary for IT Support Workers is $65,450, Network Support $72,260, and Computer Programmers $89,190. This is affected by experience and location. Mitchell’s graduates should probably expect a salary between $30 and $40 an hour with these technical degrees and should expect to earn the average over time and more than these averages if they increase their skills, certifications, and experience.
Mitchell is one of two community colleges in the state to offer this program through short-term training. The certificate program introduces the paralegal profession and the legal system. Topics include regulations and concepts, ethics, case analysis, legal reasoning, career opportunities, certification, professional organizations, and other related topics. Prerequisite: An associate’s degree or higher.
• Cost: $180 plus books (about $200)
• Length of program: 4 months
• Pass rate for state exams: Not specifically tracked but 100 percent based on feedback. Paralegals are not required to have the certification in N.C. so some never take the exam after the class and become employed.
• Career outlook in Iredell County: Paralegal job growth in North Carolina is expected to slightly exceed the national growth rate, with projections calling for a 17.3 percent growth rate for paralegals in the state from 2016 to 2026. This is based on a projected 157 jobs expected to come from new positions annually.
• Starting pay range: $50,460 in the Charlotte area of the state.
• A.A.S. starting this fall.
Mitchell offers both diploma and certificate programs. According to Mitchell’s HVAC instructors, HVAC graduates are well equipped for these entry level positions across industries in the built environment. Daily responsibilities span residential and commercial HVAC-R installations, service, preventative maintenance, energy monitoring and building automation.
Other tangents of the HVAC-R industry include HERS raters; the Home Energy Rating System, originated by the federal EnergyStar program that helps homes and businesses manage energy usage while saving the polar bears.
Students will start around $15 an hour and easily move up to over $20 an hour when they begin to express their learned higher-level problem solving and soft skills. With a median income surpassing $40,000 annually, typically including a company van, opportunities abound. Dedication to craft and life-long learning serve our students well across multiple industries.
Mitchell’s staff can help prospective or returning students find ways to make college affordable.
The financial aid team encourages prospective students to contact a financial aid advisor to find out about payment options, financial aid and scholarships that can help you become a student.
The best place to start is by first completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, to begin the application process for all financial aid and scholarships at Mitchell. https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa
How much does it cost?
• Curriculum classes cost $76/credit hour plus fees and books/supplies. An in-state student taking a full load can expect to pay $1216 plus fees and books/supplies per semester. Full tuition info can be found at https://mitchellcc.edu/tuition-and-fees
• Continuing Education class cost depends on the course. All costs are listed in course descriptions in the Continuing Education Schedule. The Fall 2021 schedule can be found at https://mitchellcc.edu/publications/continuing-education-schedule