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Career Pathways

Explore different career areas and develop skills to start a career. Most Career Pathway programs require three terms or less to complete!

Students earning Career Pathways are advised into a specific schedule of courses. The Pathways are linked with specific certificates and degrees. Completing a Career Pathway allows a student to move seamlessly into a Southwestern certificate or degree program. Alternatively, earning a Career Pathway Certificate provides the student with new skills and knowledge that broaden job search possibilities.

The Career Pathway programs are listed in the Interest Areas under CertPrograms A-Z list. 

Explore your college options through Career Pathways at Southwestern!

What is a Career Pathway Certificate of Completion?

A Career Pathway Certificate of Completion is an Oregon community college credential comprised of 12-44 credits that are wholly contained in an approved Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree/option or an independent Certificate of Completion (45+ credits). The Career Pathway Certificate provides a state-sanctioned credential for a course of study that: 1) acknowledges a specific skill proficiency to help students qualify for a job or enhanced employment opportunities; 2) is centered on the needs of students by providing educational options; and 3) provides the flexibility to achieve specific competencies within a longer term career path. These certificates lead to an AAS degree - or even beyond. For more information see the Career Pathway Certificate of Completion webpage.

How do Students Enroll in a Pathway?

All courses included in a Pathway are college courses. Students register for courses through the usual Southwestern registration process.

See Southwestern’s .

When are Courses Offered?

Courses included in Career Pathway Certificates of Completion are offered at a variety of times including daytime, evenings, and online. See Southwestern’s Schedule of Classes.

How do Students Learn More?

Students can find more information about Southwestern certificates by visiting the Student First Stop Center in Coos Bay, 541-888-7352; Curry, 541-813-1667.

Do Students Take a Placement Test?

Students who will be full-time, who will be pursuing a degree or certificate program, or receiving financial aid must complete the placement process prior to registration.  The placement process determines the student's entry-level for reading, writing and math. Multiple components are considered to place students initially into college courses and a placement test may not be required.  

If students have prior college work, have taken a placement test at another college, or have recent ACT or SAT scores, check with Educational Support Programs and Services (ESPS) in Stensland Hall on the Coos Bay campus, 541-888-7405. Placement testing, if required, is offered at all Southwestern sites.  

How do Students Pay for College Credit While in High School?

Check with the guidance counselor at your high school for specific options! These include College Now options including: Dual Credit, Expanded Options, Enhanced Options, personal payment and other opportunities.

Are Employers Willing to Assist Employees in Attaining the Courses Necessary for the Certificate?

Some employers are willing to provide flexible schedules, partial tuition, and other support. For example, hospitals and other health care businesses are funding professional development at higher levels now than in previous years. Larger retail chains are willing to assist employees who show management potential. See the individual employer for more information.

Is Financial Aid Available for Students Studying Toward a Certificate?

Financial Aid may be available. If you have any questions, please email the Financial Aid Office or call 541-888-7352.

How Much Does it Cost to Earn a Certificate?

The cost varies depending upon how many courses are in the certificate. The cost of tuition and fees can be found on Southwestern's website.

For more information contact the Student First Stop Center in Dellwood Hall or on the Brookings campus.

What is a Career Pathway Roadmap?

A Career Pathway Roadmap is a graphic display of the path from the first Certificate of Completion to the two-year degree and beyond with career opportunities.