For those wanting to learn skills that will place them in professional careers, higher education options abound in Westchase District. Already, students have their choices of American InterContinental University, Houston Community College (and its partnership with the University of Texas at Tyler), the Center for Advanced Legal Studies and Fuller Theological Seminary. Add to the list the District’s newest degree-granting institution: the Interactive College of Technology.
Degrees and diplomas
Founded in Athens, Georgia in 1982 as Akers Computerized Learning Centers, the institution is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education and has grown to include seven campuses in Georgia, Kentucky and Texas (including two additional Houston locations). While new to the area, ICT has served students in Houston since 1987 from a location on Hillcroft. In January, the college moved into 30,000 square feet at 2950 South Gessner. “We nearly doubled our size and now have more room for our media center and computer labs,” said Cynthia Bryson, campus director. She said the extra room has paved the way for information technology diplomas and degrees to be offered later this year.
“We currently offer two-year Associate of Science degrees in office technology with emphases in accounting, business information systems and administrative support,” Bryson said. “We also offer diplomas in accounting, business information systems, administrative support and medical office administration. Our English as a Second Language programs are among the most comprehensive in the country. Our programs are designed for adult learners who are best served through a hands-on, interactive approach to education.”
Diversity and development
About 600 students are enrolled at the Westchase District location and Cheryl Latham, ICT’s career services coordinator, said about 85 percent of them are non-native English speakers enrolled in ESL classes. “We have students from about 90 different cultures speaking about 50 different dialects,” she said. “Graduates of our ESL program, which takes about a year to complete, may be awarded a scholarship for each semester in which they continue their studies in one of our occupational programs. So there’s motivation to continue studying.”
All occupational programs at ICT include a 135-hour externship, where students are assigned to a partner company to put their new skills to use. “As we establish our presence in Westchase District, we’re looking forward to partnering with more local businesses that could benefit from the professional skilled labor our students can provide,” Latham said. She said that the college’s career development classes prepare students for the workforce, focusing on such skills as resume writing, company research, interviewing and salary negotiations.
With courses costing about $400 per credit hour, the college is ranked by the U.S. Department of Education as one of the best values for private, for-profit, two-year colleges. “Financial aid and work/study programs are available as well for our occupational students,” Bryson said. “We don’t want to see our students in debt; we want to see them well-equipped to get jobs.”
Interactive College of Technology
2950 South Gessner Road, Suite 100