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Students consider technical school options

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Photo by Tamie Meck Senior Emily Clawson talks with Delta-Montrose Technical College career services coordinator Jessica Carlson last week at Paonia High School. Clawson is considering earning her EMT through DMTC so she can work while in college.

Delta-Montrose Technical College career services coordinator Jessica Carlson wants all area high school students to know about the career options the school has to offer. On a visit last week to Paonia High School, Carlson explained that a four-year degree used to be the standard option for graduating seniors. But with rising costs in education, and more options being offered by technical schools, the trend is shifting.

Some students have their minds set on a four-year school, said Carlson. She has even seen situations where parents are mortgaging their homes to pay for college.

Carlson said technical colleges are great for the population they serve, and courses can be very affordable. Technical schools fill a gap in career training, explained Carlson. There are generally two types of graduates -- those who enter the workforce right out of high school, and those who go to college to earn a four-year degree before starting a career.

"Then there are all of these in-between jobs," such as auto mechanics, cosmetologists and licensed practical nursing, which require specific skill sets that not everyone can do, but that don't require a four-year degree, said Carlson.

More and more, school counselors are steering students who, for various reasons don't plan to attend a college or university, toward technical schools. Courses run as short as three weeks, making it possible for students to learn a valuable skill and work their way through college, said Carlson.

Paonia senior Emily Clawson attended Carlson's presentation. She plans to study pediatric nursing at a junior college before transferring to a university and is looking at the University of Northern Colorado. She wants to work while in school and is considering earning her EMT certification through DMTC. "It's super interesting to me," she said.

Earning her EMT would allow her to work in emergency room pediatric nursing while attending a university.

While DMTC courses are open to junior and senior students, Carlson meets with freshmen and sophomores too, offering career information and urging them to keep their grades up and think about what they want to do after high school in preparation for their junior and senior years.

Carlson has already visited Delta and Palisade high schools and hopes to visit all of the high schools in the area.

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North Fork
Paonia, PHS, School
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