We love to take moments to brag. Today we are boasting about a web design program at Massac County High School in Metropolis, IL. Penny Allen is one of our newest teachers, and already she is knocking it out of the park. Penny has a number of students who will be receiving their industry credentials this year. The first course completer is Nick Proctor, who is a newly minted Certified Web Designer Apprentice (CWDSA-apprentice). He is the first high school student in the state of Illinois to do so with the new Learn and Earn program. We are proud to welcome Nick as one of the newest members of Web Professionals Global.
As if that isn’t already enough, Nick has already designed the website for a local bakery, Miranda’s Delight. The Web Design certification process helped teach him the skills to build the site and he is now taking the website to the next level by consulting with search engine optimization (SEO) experts to learn how to get more people to see his site while searching online. Students like Nick are “future-proofing” themselves with international industry-recognized certifications from Web Professionals Global that they can take with them into their future educational and professional endeavors. With the changing world of work, having certifications to set yourself apart is more important than ever before.
Nick is a great example of the Learn and Earn model, in which industry professionals have underwritten certification costs for students around the country. Instead of teaching to a test, the Web Professionals Global approach is to teach learners by enabling them to gain real-world experience and build a portfolio they can take with them. Nick is developing a professional portfolio and already having an impact in his local community.
One of the great aspects of web design is that it is a growing and stable career field, and many designers work on their own. According to the job site Zippia, there are over 21,000 freelance web designers in the U.S. The growth rate of web design between 2021 and 2031 is expected to be 23%, far above the average rate of 5% for other professions.
We caught up with Nick and Penny to hear about their experiences with the Web Design course and certification.
Hear from Nick
What attracted you to wanting to be a web designer?
Well, really I think it was this class. I had never really considered web design until I started taking this class this year. It was always something that I was sort of interested in because I’m also really interested in graphic design and like video production. And I feel like those three kind of fall under the same category of creating things online. And this is probably the easiest form for me, because I’m not the most creative mind, I guess I’m a lot better at taking instruction and then putting it out on a piece of paper. And that’s kind of what this is, with graphic design. I really enjoy it and have fun with it. Although I don’t necessarily have an artistic mind, for some reason web design just comes naturally to me.
How do you feel about the idea that you’re actually earning industry credentials right now in high school?
It’s honestly kind of surreal, because I never assumed that I could, I guess achieve something like this while I’m still in high school. It seems like something that is out of reach for a high schooler, and then to have that opportunity and be going through it right now is really strange but cool.
How exciting is it that this certification has helped you realize some of your goals?
I think it’s really exciting. I’ve been trying to do this for years but never had success until now. So being able to work with a client, build the website and get a site host and then have a complete site is really cool. Having the certification is great because I can carry it with me in my future.
What was it like hearing from industry professionals?
Oh yeah, in the lessons the professionals really clarified a lot of the things that I was really confused about. And I think hearing advice from people who do this in their daily lives is really great. Obviously teachers help a lot, but sometimes you want to hear from people who actually work in that field. And hearing from multiple people gave me different perspectives on different concepts as well.
We hear that you’ve already started your web design business. Is that true?
Yeah, I’ve actually just finished my first client. I’ve published that website, actually, and it’s up right now. I am struggling with the SEO right now. I’m not exactly sure how search engine optimization works at the moment. But I’ve been researching that a lot today and yesterday, and I’ve got it published, I just need to get it out there really, for people to search it.
What do your parents think about the fact that you’re getting a certification while in high school?
They’re actually really impressed with it, because I guess I hadn’t properly explained to them that I was getting certifications until a couple months ago. I just kind of walked in the house with the certification. And my mom was like, where did you get this from? And I was, Oh, it’s my web design class that I’ve been taking for a couple months now. And I think she’s just really proud of it because I guess she didn’t know that my school offered something like that either. As far as I know, we don’t have other certifications offered at the school.
Hear from Penny
What does it mean to you to get your students “future-ready” (certifications, more than just tech skills, etc.)?
This certification gives students a way to make money now and not have to wait until they graduate. Most college students have to work in lower wage jobs while going to college and work long hours during the evening or late nights. This certification will give them the freedom to work when they want, making much more money while going to school.
What do you think of the Learn and Earn Model?
When I introduced the idea of the Learn and Earn model to my students, we talked about how industry professionals were going to underwrite the cost of the students receiving their certifications if they worked hard. I asked my students what they thought about the idea of doing the work and projects in lieu of an exam, and they agreed and said it was a better idea. With an exam they could just memorize a bunch of ‘stuff,” pass the test, and then immediately forget it all. However, this model means they actually have to learn it and use it! This encourages them to remember the material. We are all thankful to the partnership between Web Professionals Global and CTeLearning for this opportunity.
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Whether you are a teacher looking for industry certification opportunities for your students, a student in high school looking to advance your career prospects or a working professional seeking to develop new professional skills for a career change, we can help. Our international industry-recognized certifications prepare learners for in-demand 21st-century careers. Contact us today to chat about how we can help.