UNF: Continuing Education program ‘simply a success’

Spinnaker

Simply Certified, a program started just last semester by the UNF Division of Continuing Education, has been a success, according to program management.

The program allows students to pick from several courses such as search engine marketing, personal fitness training or professional writing and receive a certificate in that area in just one or two months.

The cost for each is $599, and registering can be completed online.

The program is designed for anyone who is interested in a career change, unemployed, or just looking to learn additional skills, said Valerie Murphy, program manager.

“It’s good for people who want to subsidize their income when they have free time over the weekend,” Murphy said.

The success rate of the fall 2008 fitness certificate course was 55 percent, with 51 students entering the program and 28 earning the award.

The three courses being offered in a classroom setting are all personal-fitness training courses.

Program Director Tim Johns said the course is so popular they filled up one class and had to add a second last semester.

Grading is done by World Instructor Training Schools, and the program measures the success of the course on whether students pass the final exam, Johns said.

The average annual salary for a fitness trainer is $26,000, and the job outlook was expected to increase 27 percent during the 2006-2016 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The most recent bureau statistics also state that certification is critical to find work, and employers are currently looking for trainers who also have a degree.

Gold’s Gym, where some graduates of the program are currently employed, provides a lab for the students.

Vice President of Administration and Finance Shari Shuman said the program was not affected by the recent budget cuts for UNF because they’re an auxiliary, under different operation and not affiliated with the university’s budget.

The program essentially operates off its own revenue, which comes from registration fees, Johns said.

The money collected is turned around to pay for instructors, materials and renting classrooms.

It was not altered in any way from last semester because they’re not going to take away something that’s working, Murphy said.

She also said they have no plans to reduce the amount of classes offered and the department is going to stick with it in hopes it will continue to move forward.

“The recession hasn’t affected us, knock on wood; it is working, and it’s very successful,” Murphy said.

The Division of Continuing Education, on the other hand, has been affected.

Its budget has reduced along with its personnel, Shuman said.

But it makes money off of the program, which goes directly into its overall operating revenue.

Although the personal fitness training course is taught in a classroom setting, Johns said many courses such as search engine marketing and pay-per-click are offered online.

E-mail Sarah Gojekian at [email protected]