Rachel and Bryce Johns are a local couple who embody the American dream, complete with a powerful work ethic, determination and optimism. Both graduates of Charter College’s Vancouver campus, Bryce has earned a pharmacy technician certificate, an AAS in Allied Healthcare, a BS in Health Care Administration, and an MBA (formerly offered at Charter College).
Rachel has a certificate in accounting and AAS degree in business administration, is working on her B.S. in business administration and has future plans to complete an MBA with another institution. They have accomplished all of this while working full-time and raising three children.
With its accessibility, supportive environment and streamlined approach to education, Charter College has given them the tools they need to pursue their dreams. Bryce earned all of his degrees in just four years. And Rachel shares, “At Charter College, you get what you need so you can get out there and work.”
They agree that an education tailored to their specific career goals was invaluable. “They (Charter) really want you to be able to walk in and know that from the first day to the last, everything is going to be a direct correlation to what you’re actually trying to do when you graduate,” Bryce says.
Bryce studied online for three of his degrees, and took advantage of Charter College’s Blended Learning curriculum for his Pharmacy Technician certificate, which combines hands-on classroom experience with online education. For Rachel, as a mother and full-time manager, of a local McDonald’s where she works 45 hours a week, an online education is the key to her success. “The flexibility makes it a lot easier,” she says. “I don’t have to change my schedule at work or do anything like that. I can do it on my time.”
Bryce points out that even if you’re an online student, you’re still encouraged to access all resources. “You have full access to the entire campus,” he explains. “They encourage people to interact, talk to each other and set up study groups.”
Along the way, students are supported by teachers and staff. “You can email them with questions,” Rachel says. “And some will give you extra links that might take you to more sources that you couldn’t find on your own.”
Bryce was also impressed by the caliber of instructors and their accessibility. “All the instructors are easy to reach out to and get their feedback and input,” he says.
Rachel finds the personalized support to be especially helpful, including reminders about homework and class requirements. “They call and check on you during the week,” she says. “They’ll send motivational emails and all kinds of things you need to succeed.”
Bryce says another advantage is Charter College’s all-inclusive tuition plan, which covers books, materials and test fees. For Bryce, it also included placement in his pharmacy externship.
The fact that Charter students earn their degrees quickly also eliminates additional enrollment fees or costly extra classes that don’t directly relate to their career fields. When students are ready, Charter’s Career Services team will help them find jobs.
Bryce is now an assistant manager at Walgreens, where his dual-focus degrees in healthcare and business are a tremendous advantage, as he’s developing skills to both work in the pharmacy and manage the store. “The way my company’s wanting to go in the future, it has to be much more integrated,” he says. “They want people that can do both seamlessly.” Bryce’s goal is to be a store manager, and then regional manager.
Rachel sees the same bright future for herself. “Every degree I’ve earned will help me in my company,” she says. “They’re seeing what I’m doing and offering me new opportunities.” Rachel says she might also use her degrees to pursue another career path. With a Charter College education, her choices are now wide open – and that’s something she wants to model for her children. “I want them to see that if we can do it, they can do it,” she says.
Bryce echoes her optimism, not just for his kids, but for anyone who’s looking to get started in a career after high school, or to change careers later in life. “You can do what you want,” he says. “If both of us can work 40-plus hours a week with three kids and get it done, it’s a possibility for everybody.”
The Charter College-Vancouver, Washington, campus is located at the Columbia Tech Center and is right next to The Vancouver Clinic. Details on Charter College’s approach to career-focused education can be found at the Charter College website.