Students forge careers in law enforcement, EMT and business at COS
College of the Siskiyous puts wide range of careers within reach for everyday students.
Since she was 5 years old, Corina Sloan knew she wanted to work in law enforcement. As a kid however, she may not have imagined herself one day graduating from the police academy at the same time as her husband and having their young children, ages 5 and 6, cheering them on.
But that’s exactly what happened last August when Sloan graduated from the Law Enforcement Academy at College of the Siskiyous, a small community college located in far Northern California. She also earned an associate degree in administration of justice from the college.
She was sworn in as a deputy with Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office and currently works as a bailiff. She plans to become a field deputy later this month.
She credits COS for helping her achieve her dream, especially when balancing school and a young family.
“The college staff really wants you to succeed,” she said. “They want to help you graduate and they’re very flexible when you need it.”
The college staff answered her questions about financial aid forms, provided gas vouchers and even guided her through registration –– a big help for someone who was new to college.
“A lot of people are scared of how they will afford college, or how they can take classes when they have kids,” she said. “But a lot of people are in the situation that I was, and there is help.”
The school’s administration of justice program allows students to complete an associate degree or transfer their credits toward a bachelor’s degree program in criminal law, forensics, homeland security and other careers in criminal justice. Some students even go on to pursue a master’s degree in the field.
The administration of justice program is just one of many programs offered at COS. Others include career technical education programs, such as emergency medical services, and business-related associate degrees and certificates.
Top-notch education for first responders
Completing a paramedic program is no easy feat.
“You have to be very focused and very centered,” said Neal Warren, who earned an associate degree in emergency medical services from COS and now works as a paramedic in Santa Barbara County. “It’s a tough program in general, no matter where you go.”
Students complete an associate degree or can transfer credits to a bachelor’s degree program geared toward a career as an ambulance, firefighter or private industry paramedic; search and rescue responder; or hospital or emergency room technician.
“It was like the stars aligned,” Warren said, when he found COS. At the time, he was living in San Francisco and had never been to the Mount Shasta area.
“College of the Siskiyous was a lot more affordable than if I had gone to the private paramedic schools in the Bay Area,” he said. “And the instructors are a big part of it. They really care and they’re very helpful. There were times when I was stressed out and they really took the time to talk to me and help me out. They’re very student-focused.”
EMS program coordinator Kirk Thomsen helped to make sure the program kept running, even during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Warren said.
“He was an absolute bloodhound in making sure we got the education we needed and that were able to finish the program when we were supposed to finish,” he said. “I have four or five friends who started paramedic school elsewhere at the same time as I did and they’re just finishing now when I was done in October.”
Preparation for business careers
Along with training the next wave of first responders in law enforcement and medicine, COS offers several business-related concentrations and certificates for getting an edge in today’s marketplace or continuing to a bachelor’s degree program in business.
Adding to its business program, the college recently welcomed professor Sherice L. Bellamy to the department, who has a decade of experience in higher education. As a first-generation college graduate herself, Bellamy has been driven to make education accessible to anyone seeking personal or professional advancement.
For students interested in the business world, COS offers an associate degree or certificate program in administrative assistant and accounting, an associate degree in business administration and a certificate program in e-business. Students studying business administration can also transfer credits toward earning a university bachelor’s degree.
In the workplace, COS grads have pursued careers in advertising, economics, insurance, management and sales, or even gone on to run small businesses.
To learn more about programs at College of the Siskiyous, visit http://www.siskiyous.edu/