STC Dual Credit Students Celebrate Industry-Level Certifications


With the accessibility of South Texas College’s Dual Credit program, high school students from J. Economedes High School (JEHS) successfully earned professional certifications that are globally recognized by industry professionals. STC Image
With the accessibility of South Texas College’s Dual Credit program, high school students from J. Economedes High School (JEHS) successfully earned professional certifications that are globally recognized by industry professionals. STC Image
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By Sara Reyna

With the accessibility of South Texas College’s Dual Credit program, high school students from J. Economedes High School (JEHS) successfully earned professional certifications that are globally recognized by industry professionals.

Twenty-six students from JEHS in Edinburg, a cohort of juniors and seniors, participating in the STC Information Technology (IT) dual credit program, earned certifications as Microsoft Office Specialist Experts and Associates.

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Angelita Teniente, STC Information Technology program chair, emphasized this is a unique path for dual credit students interested in exploring information technology as a profession because accessibility to additional resources like these professional certification exams come at no cost to students enrolled in the dual credit courses and the accrued credits transfer into the associate and bachelor’s degree programs at STC. 

“In our industry it is great to have a degree in our field, but it is even better when you have these technical certifications to demonstrate your expertise,” Teniente expressed. “The accessibility to additional professional certifications is a huge help to any dual credit student enrolled in this program, each exam can cost upwards of $100 each. We are so proud of these students for taking the initiative of challenging themselves and moving forward to pursue an associate degree or four-year bachelor’s degree since these courses are stackable.”

The Computer Applications Specialist program prepares students to master skills in business applications like word processing, spreadsheet and database management systems, as well as multimedia software.

JEHS Dual Credit Instructor Maria Salinas expressed her excitement for the cohort and explained the process students had to go through to earn professional credentials will give them a competitive edge when job hunting. 

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“These students are pursuing the STC Computer Application Specialist Certificate program which is giving them a jumpstart in their professional and academic careers. By taking the required courses for the certificate program they can also take advantage of additional certification opportunities that are globally recognized and are highly sought out by industry professionals,” she said. “To earn these credentials students had to extensively study for five exams to demonstrate their competency with these software, so this is a huge accomplishment for them. Microsoft Office Specialist certifications set these students apart because they are not only familiar with applications like Microsoft Office and Adobe, but they are now experts in these software, they have so much to be proud of,” Salinas said. 

Nia Garcia, a senior at J. Economedes High School, said she didn’t know about the possibility of studying IT, but heard about the certificate program offered from STC which piqued her interest of getting ahead in her college career as a high school student. 

“Hearing about this IT certificate program my sophomore year was something new and after learning more I realized this was a way to get ahead with college credits. When I started the courses, I immediately enjoyed the skills I was learning in computer applications and how you can transfer the skills to various computer software,” She shared. “I was never interested in this field until I began taking the courses and it eventually came naturally to me.”

JEHS junior Maximus Lorenzi said he has dreams of becoming a music education teacher and believes that these professional certificates align closely with his goals of becoming an educator in the future. 

“I learned about this program as a freshman and my parents encouraged me to pursue it because they know these skills are extremely practical and useful in any profession I might be interested in pursuing,” Lorenzi said. “I have goals to study music education, but I believe that these credentials raise my value as a professional and have prepared us for jobs we may want to explore in the future.”

Overall, 17 students from Economedes High School earned Microsoft Office Specialist Associate certifications and nine students also successfully passed five exams to earn the expert level of Microsoft Office Specialist Certificates.

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