Alumni from the Salt Lake Community College Family and Human Studies Department recently spoke about their career experiences to the “Planning Your Future” forum at the Taylorsville Redwood Campus.
The forum consisted of nine SLCC graduates. The alumni gave advice to students who are pursuing careers in the early childhood education field. The family and human studies program prepares students with skills and training to work in a childcare center as teachers or directors.
Department representative Sally Schramm conducted the forum. She asked the former students what they were currently doing with their degree. Some of the alumni said they were already teaching at childcare facilities, while others have obtained director positions.
Advantages of getting your associate degree at SLCC
“The quality of education you’ll get at SLCC is much better than you’ll get at any university because the classes are so much smaller,” says Sara Atherton, who graduated from SLCC in 2001.
Atherton also advised current students to get their full degree at SLCC, not just the general class requirements. She said she was able to save money by completing her associate degree, plus, she saved time. She later completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah within three semesters.
There were also some of the alumni that are currently working towards achieving their bachelor’s degree. They expressed how earning an associate degree at SLCC has given them very valuable experience.
“I’m really grateful I am getting my four-year degree, but the majority of my education came from my experience [at SLCC], so I felt very prepared,” says Kelsey Brown, a graduate from SLCC in 2013.
Extra training can be useful down the road
The program has an administrative course that teaches students the skills required outside the classroom in the childcare facility setting.
One thing Atherton emphasized is to take a business class, aside from the core classes. This is in case you decide to run your own childcare center.
“A basic business class will help you tremendously because child care is still a business. It’s not a normal business, but it is still business,” says Atherton.
Seeking advice from mentors and professionals in your field can be very helpful. According to Brown, frequently meeting with her school counselor helped make sure she was taking the courses needed to graduate and succeed in her career.
“Just take advantage of your counselors. It’s very beneficial,” says Brown.
Make an impact in children’s lives
According to Shanae Schouten, who works at the Eccles Early Childhood Development Lab School, some days can be very challenging, but at the same time, rewarding.
“They are learning from you and it’s that love that you give them that makes the biggest difference,” says Schouten, who graduated SLCC in 2013.
Rachel Thackeray was one of the current family and human studies students who attended the forum. She said there was a lot of useful information she will use.
“I’ve always loved children and have been drawn to work with them. They’re just too darn cute,” says Thackeray.