Start a new job in 16 weeks through Navarro College

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In this episode of the Waxahachie 360 podcast, hear from Navarro College Workforce Development and Continuing Education Director Leslie Hayes about how you can train for a new job in as little as 16 weeks.

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Main Points:

• The Navarro College Development and Continuing Education Department has a program that trains students for careers in health and protective services.

• Classes last 16 weeks.

• Students become licensed.

• The cost is around $2,500.

Students can learn phlebotomy in 16 weeks at Navarro College.


Marshall Hinsley: Career training at Navarro College can prepare you for a new job in a matter of weeks.

Hear from the person in charge of the program that may change your life, in this episode of Waxahachie 360. I’m Marshall Hinsley.

For those Looking to advance their job options, the workforce development and continuing education department at Navarro College is a local and an affordable resource.

In just 16 weeks, you can become certified as a health or protective services professional. Leslie Hayes is the director of the department. Leslie, what is the workforce development and continuing education department at Navarro College, and what does the department offer?

Leslie Hayes: So the continuing education department is really focused on reskilling and upskilling adult learners, so individuals that may already be in a career, but they would like to change career paths — they can come and reskill, learn something new. We work with business partners or individuals that would like to maybe increase their wage earnings and have a better living revenue expense. In that sense, all of our credentials that we do and licensures are what we call a quick career.

They can be attained in less than 16 weeks. Most of them are very intensive. All of our allied health programs have classroom learning. They’ll have clinical also with those so that the students are out in partnering sites, doing the hands-on learning that’s all required. And then we make sure that they sit for their licensure so that they are certified in whatever pathway they’ve chosen, to make sure that they can either get a good job or get that increased pay by upskilling.

Marshall Hinsley: What is it all available in those pathways? What pathways are available?

Leslie Hayes: Our basic continuing education focuses on our allied health areas, which include certified nurse aide, which a lot of people call C.N.A. Clinical Medical Assistant C.M.A. or C.C.M.A., where they’re certified clinical medical assistants. And we also do the medication aide update because they’re required to update their credentials every year. We have phlebotomy. We also have started, through some other grant funding, a patient care technician pathway. So a P.C.T. has to have training in E.K.G., C.N.A., and phlebotomy. So, we walk our students through doing our C.N.A. and phlebotomy program, getting those licensures — we get them their E.K.G. license as well. And then we do a capstone for a patient care tech. So, by the time they’ve done that pathway, they’ll have four different credentials and that is how we upskill those individuals. We also are adding a pharmacy technician program as well, and all of those are done in less than 16 weeks.

Marshall Hinsley: How many students so far participate per semester or how many are turned out into the workforce per year?

Leslie Hayes: So in continuing education, [they] typically run on quarters. We don’t run on typical Navarro College semesters. So, we can start classes anytime we have a good amount of students that are interested.

Photo of Leslie Hayes
Leslie Hayes is the workforce development and continuing education director for Navarro College.

Typically, most of our programs, we run a fall and a spring, but they could start in September. They could start in December, run through the course of the spring. So, really we do it based on demand in the community.

Last year, which I would call September 1 through August 30, so for what we would call fiscal year 22, we had a. 1,250 students that we served through continuing education. What we are doing, I think is very impactful to the community. However, since my time in the program, we are working really hard to expand our services.

So previously some of our programs were only offered in Waxahachie or Midlothian. We’ve got students driving from Buffalo or Mexia to come to classes here because it’s the only place that it’s offered. So, over the past few months, we’ve worked very hard to expand those programs to those other locations so that students don’t have to travel so far.

So vice versa: we have some that are only in Corsicana. We’re trying to expand those to the north, which would be Ellis County to make sure that we’re meeting the needs of our individuals interested in the programs.

Marshall Hinsley: Are there any prerequisites that are required for the students?

Leslie Hayes: Not as far as course or learning. They do require that they have a high school diploma before they receive their licensure. So we do have individuals in high schools. We partner with some local high schools to do the certified nurse aide program, for example. And the students get their licensure as soon as they graduate because they’ve finished the program through the course of the year at the high school.

Really, other than that requirement, would include a clean background check. They have to have vaccinations. Every partnering agency is different and every program is different, but we require a full gamut of vaccines, just obviously going to a hospital to do clinicals, they’re going to ask that you have these. So those are a couple of things that we do require before starting the program.

[For] every program we have what we call a packet online that gives information about all of the things that a student needs to register for the programs, what their livable wage should be by the time they’ve completed the program, what they have to do for a testing to complete the program and have their license, and then if it requires any updates after that.

Marshall Hinsley: Can you give me a list of what people wind up as a licensed this or that?

Leslie Hayes: Okay. Most C.N.A.s work in long term care facilities. They could be a home health aid as a medication aide. There’s a lot of our students [who] actually start in our programs to earn points to go into our nursing program here at Navarro College. They give preferential points if you’ve completed any of these licensure, knowing that you have that background knowledge. And then they are getting points to be accepted into the nursing program. We do have a lot of students who do that. C.N.A.s are going to, I mean, C.C.M.A.s, I’m sorry, are going to be individuals that you encounter when you go into a clinic and they take you back in the room and they check your blood pressure, take your pulses, ask you what’s wrong.

Those are typically C.M.A.s — certified medical assistants — so some of those basic entry level jobs, and then that’s why we’ve added things like a P.C.T., which then becomes a little more advanced because they then have taken phlebotomy, which is where you draw blood. Phlebotomy also enters into our M.L.T. program, which is where they’re testing the blood, seeing what’s in the blood, doing different things like that, which is a two-year degree here at Navarro College.

So those are some of the entry level, basic things that you would see some of our students going into.

Marshall Hinsley: Is it all, for the most part, medical.

Leslie Hayes: Yes, at this time it is. However, we’re making a big turn into workforce development, so I work very closely with business and industry in the counties that we serve to listen and hear what training their employees need to be successful on the job or to upskill. So, for example some of our business partners — they need that hazmat training — just hazardous chemicals in their job. So we use one of our firefighter instructors; they go out and they train these employees in this factory on some of the skills that they would need to be safe on the job. So, we’ve made that push.

We’re doing a lot more basic industrial maintenance training. We’ve added in some quick credentials into our welding program — whether they want to finish their welding, the whole two-year welding program, or if they would like to just get a basic welding certificate after 16 weeks, that’s something they could do. Then they would be immediately employable, and then if they determined to come back and maybe finish their career later, that’s really where we’re going, is getting quick credentials, getting people employable — upskilled to increase their wage earnings, but then they have a pathway started to come back and finish a two-year associate’s degree.

Marshall Hinsley: How does this program compare to some of the for-profit schools in the Dallas area that offer sort of the same thing?

Leslie Hayes: We hope that we’re providing quality training based on the research that we’ve done. The quality faculty that we have here, and like I said, a lot of our stuff is focused on that quick career, so we don’t keep students for a full semester to try to get a for-credit certified medical assistant degree. It’s not required in the industry. Hospitals or clinics don’t look for that to hire someone. So, we offer that program in 16 weeks through C.E. to get them employed quickly when we work a lot with adult learners. We partner with our Navarro College adult education and literacy program to help individuals who may have had a change in life or had opportunities that prohibited them from completing their learning when they were younger and bring them in.

And those individuals already have life happening. They don’t have time to do a two-year program. So we focus on helping them get a credentialed quickly and get them employed.

Marshall Hinsley: What would the cost be for someone wanting to enter one of these programs?

Leslie Hayes: It varies. Our most expensive programs run probably about $2,500 for the entire course, including the licensing and testing.

it really depends on the course and the length of the program. But what I can say is that we work really hard to help individuals that need assistance; we can help them qualify for some funding. Also the adult education literacy partners — they can apply for their grant tuition assistance through that program as well.

So our goal is not to make that be a barrier. We have some local resources that we can use for students to meet their goals.

Marshall Hinsley: So for $2,500 in 16 weeks, someone could actually be qualified for a new career.

Leslie Hayes: Absolutely.

Marshall Hinsley: Interesting. What else do we need to know about the continuing education department?

Leslie Hayes: We partner with a third-party vendor that can be found on our continuing education website as online career training. But some of the things that you can find there — that introduction to Microsoft or how do I use my computer, speed Spanish.

Some of those more community-focused opportunities; these are offered through this online service — you’ll still get a Navarro College certificate of completion, but you pay for it online through them and work at your own pace. So, those would be for anything that someone in the community is interested in that we may not have a class being hosted at that time, and some of those things we do not have classes for all the time. Microsoft Office — we do not run regular classes for that. We just don’t have the student interest. So when we get one or two people in the community that call, we can still serve them in meeting their needs through this online opportunity.

Marshall Hinsley: And that would be for, say, someone who is in a job that wants to make offering their skill set greater, maybe for advanced opportunities or for retention of their job and the like.

Leslie Hayes: Absolutely. It’s very focused on personal development, so professionalism in the workplace, computer skills for the workplace are just some examples.

Discovering sign language would be another course that you could find there that we wouldn’t teach every semester. So, there’s a whole gamut of hundreds of online course offerings that students could search through to find something they’re looking for.

Marshall Hinsley: How does anybody who wants to get started with this get started?

Leslie Hayes: The quickest way to get started would be to visit our continuing education website. It’s found at and from there you can do an interest request. You can search any of the programs that I’ve discussed. You can register for programs from that website and you can also look through our online learning resource catalog there.

Marshall Hinsley: Very good. Thank you very much.

Leslie Hayes: You’re welcome.

Marshall Hinsley: Thanks for listening. Please subscribe to our podcast. And to keep up with what’s happening in Waxahachie, visit our website at


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