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Micro-Credentials—Your Career in Focus

Posted: November 12, 2019 — I often ask students entering their studies at FM if they are preparing for a job or a career. There is a distinct difference.  A job can meet your basic needs but provides little more.  A career goes beyond that to meet personal and professional goals, with opportunities for promotion and employment satisfaction.  The latter requires commitment, planning and perseverance.

Through the long term work of the FM Independent Learning Committee, Criminal Justice Faculty, and our Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB), we are now able to further support the bond to career aspirations through a spectrum of Micro-Credentials.

The CJAB membership is a core group of representatives from our student employment targets within Police Departments, The Court System, Institutional and Community Corrections.  As a group, they remain very weighted on accredited college preparation for employment, and awarded degrees for advancement within their professions. We felt their input was key to the validity of any Micro-Credentials we would propose.

Utilizing a combination of Criminal Justice Program Core Curriculum and Elective Options, we sought to verify, validate and attest to specific skills and competencies that have been achieved by our individual students.  The unique elements of each credential have been approved in conjunction with our curriculum governance process to ensure meaningful design and high quality.

A series of Elective Choices have been developed, aligned toward merging personal interests with desired professional goals.  These Elective Choices follow enrichment tracks in a range of occupational studies, and include:

  • Correctional Services
  • Victim Studies
  • Sociology of Crime
  • Youthful Offenders
  • Law Enforcement
  • Judicial Process
  • Psychology of Criminal Behavior
  • Homeland Security
  • Private Sector Security
  • American Policing

Micro-Credentialing allows a focus upon career goal learning and permits potential employers and institutions of higher education to note readily recognizable concentrations of study, earned under strict assessment criterion.

A Micro-Credential is a compact qualification that verifies the achievement of in-demand skills and competencies.  As it is also a digital badge, it allows recipients to showcase their skills easily through social media platforms such as LinkedIn.

Micro-Credentials are typically comprised of three or more courses, which allow a learner to earn skills that differentiate individuals academically and professionally.  The courses are highly focused and also satisfy degree requirements.

The courses comprising our Micro-Credentials are aligned with our degree programs and are consistent with our transfer and articulation agreements for students opting to progress to a four year school. This element of alignment is intended to support thoughtful and deliberate student choices in course planning among our traditional enrollment.

Although this plan was initially designed for the Criminal Justice Program we recognized the level of interest which exists within other disciplines.  These Micro-Credential options have also been approved for the Liberal Arts and Sciences: General Studies Program.

Explore Micro-Credentials when planning for your future profession. Visit our website at https://www.fmcc.edu/academics/programs/micro-credentials-badges/ to learn more about the full range of Micro-Credential opportunities currently available at FM.

Embrace your studies and clinch your career. Your Future Matters!

This article was written by John Armstrong, Assistant Professor for Criminal Justice.

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