The Tristate area offers many options for adults wishing to continue their education, advance their careers through education, or even switch careers entirely. And if you think doing this will cause the headache of juggling schedules or the frustration of compromising your valuable downtime, think again. Thanks to online and hybrid classes, accelerated courses and customization, higher education has really evolved.

Use this “Education Update 2008” as your guide to find out what awaits you at local schools and universities.

The Art InsTITute of Cincinnati

The Art Institute of Cincinnati offers only one program, but by focusing entirely on their associate degree of applied science in design/computer graphics, the Tri-county school turns out students primed for careers in design, advertising, packaging and more. The associate degree takes two years and is slightly intensive, with eight quarters in two years and 117 total credit hours. This “boutique” art school typically has less than 100 students enrolled, meaning more personal attention to help students refine their own styles.
Beckfield College in Florence offers associate and bachelor degrees in various areas including business administration, criminal justice, health information technology and paralegal studies. Students have the option of morning, evening and Saturday classes and can earn a college degree with just three classes a week.

Butler Tech serves more than 14,500 adult students annually throughout southwest Ohio. New this year are courses in medical assisting, certified EKG technician, phlebotomy and medical math. Additionally, two new industrial programs have been added: industrial welding technology and manufacturing production technician. Butler Tech is unique in the services provided through use of its consultative coordinators who work directly with business and industry. Customized programs are developed often to meet the specific targeted needs of businesses.

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College’s Workforce Development Center in Evendale provides educational programs to business and industry, government agencies, non-profit organizations and individuals. The center provides evaluation and assessment of technical and professional training needs, planning and delivery of training content, and technical support services for program preparation, employee assessment, risk and troubleshooting analysis.

According to the college’s marketing director, Michele Imhoff, “The Workforce Development Center has access to virtually every program content, teaching concept, technical certification, leadership approach or management paradigm desired by employers and students today. Unlike organizations that offer only a particular training approach, the Workforce Development Center works with its clients to assess their unique needs and to develop a program of training that addresses the organization’s goals and objectives within and outside the industry sector.”
Adults seeking to go back to college for undergraduate and graduate degree programs will find a full range of services, conveniences and flexibility at the College of Mount St. Joseph. The Mount offers 35 undergraduate majors, 29 minors and four certificate programs, four master’s degree programs and a doctoral degree program in physical therapy. Courses are scheduled in a variety of time frames to assist adults who are juggling work and family obligations while going to college. Programs offered during the evenings and on Saturdays are taught by members of the Mount’s full-time faculty, along with professionals from a wide variety of career fields. Adult students may choose to enroll either full time or part time in classes held during the day, in the evenings and on Saturdays.

The College of Mount St. Joseph offers graduate programs in education, nursing, organizational leadership, religious studies, and physical therapy. The Mount continues to work on alternate delivery of courses for adult undergraduate students that translate into quicker degree completion. The business and social work programs now offer seven-week courses that run consecutively, and coupled with a weekend course allow adults to earn nine credit hours attending part time. Adults receive a spiral-bound student kit prior to registering for any classes to help keep everything organized, from financial aid and scholarship information to important phone numbers and contacts. Details on other options for earning credit like CLEP and credit by portfolio (for life and previous experiences) are also included.

Ivy Tech Community College in Lawrenceburg offers a wide range of flexible learning opportunities, allowing you to take classes that fit your schedule. Program areas include healthcare, technology, business, public service and education. In addition to associate degrees, Ivy Tech also offers a wide range of career development certificates. Ivy Tech offers online degree programs, distance education, credit for previous experience, accelerated courses and a college for working adults.

Ivy Tech offers 10 degree programs that can be completed entirely online, and the distance learning program uses two-way video, the internet, or a combination of technologies. There is also a program designed specifically for working adults. Classes are set in an 8-week format and combine classroom teaching and technology-enhanced learning to get students through each class quickly. Students take just two classes per semester and each class meets on the same evening and time throughout the program.

Still paying those undergrad student loans? Don’t worry; your time and money already spent will be rewarded at Ivy Tech. According to Kelly Lucas, director of marketing and media relations, “We make every effort to apply your previous studies or experience toward course credit for your degree. By completing a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), and through a review of your past experience and education, we can determine how much credit you can receive.”

Miami University’s Farmer School of Business offers three small, selective graduate programs: a 10-month master of accountancy, masters in economics, and a newly redesigned, accelerated MBA program.

A distinctive feature of the master of accountancy program is its two-course capstone sequence in corporate governance, enterprise risk management, and transparent business reporting. The program prepares its students for professional careers in accounting and related fields. Graduates meet the 150-hour education requirement for CPA certification that Ohio and most other states maintain.

The masters in economics program is designed to prepare students to be economic analysts in the private or public sector, or to pursue a Ph.D. or professional degree at another institution. It can be completed in one calendar year, and is not limited to participants who majored in economics as an undergraduate. “The program is rigorous, with a very high level of interaction between students and our outstanding economics faculty,” says Farmer School Dean Roger L. Jenkins. “We are very proud of the opportunities that await our graduates, which include acceptance into the nation’s most prestigious Ph.D. degree programs.”

Miami’s newly redesigned, accelerated MBA program, now in its third year, provides an interdisciplinary curriculum that helps participants understand the interrelated functions of business throughout the value chain. This 14-month program incorporates an ongoing internship and concludes with a five-week international consultancy. This past fall, the MBA program was on The Princeton Review’s list of “Top 10 Business Schools with the Best Classroom Experience” alongside such schools as Harvard, University of Virginia, Indiana University, and the University of Chicago. “We are absolutely sold on the value of having our students involved in a two-semester internship, which is built into our program,” Dean Jenkins says. “In addition to this, the culminating experience at an international firm in either Asia or Europe is a very, very powerful learning tool. It also reflects the Farmer School’s commitment to ensuring that its undergraduate and graduate students become globally literate.”

Beginning in the fall of 2009, the Farmer School will offer a professional MBA program at the new Miami University Voice of America Learning Center in West Chester. “We are very excited about the way our full-time MBA is taking off, and we know that there is a tremendous market for a professional program of the same caliber,” says Dean Jenkins.

Miami University Hamilton celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and registration is at an all-time high. Miami Hamilton is an open-enrollment, commuter campus, so if you have a high school diploma or GED, you’re in. The university currently has two four-year degree programs in nursing and engineering technology and will be adding a third, a bachelor of integrative studies, perhaps as soon as the fall 2008 semester.

Through the new “SaturdaySelect” program, Miami Hamilton students can earn an associate in arts degree in as little as two years by attending class on Saturdays only. “SaturdaySelect” uses an innovative hybrid approach to learning — in-class time is complemented by an online component — that students can complete at home at their convenience during the week. It’s an accelerated, eight-week class as opposed to a traditional 15-week class.

Perry Richardson, Miami Hamilton’s campus communications officer confesses, “We’re quite proud of our academic (and cultural) programming at Miami Hamilton. We’re particularly pleased to have found a market niche with ‘SaturdaySelect,’ which our working moms and dads tell us they really appreciate because the classroom becomes their ‘own space’ away from kids … and spouses!”

Miami University Middletown offers certificates, associate degrees, and bachelor’s degrees in nursing, electro-mechanical and mechanical engineering technology, as well as coursework leading to a master’s degree in education. Flexible scheduling programs include the “Degree Power Schedule,” “SaturdaySelect,” and an ever-increasing number of online classes and offsite class locations in Butler, Warren and Preble Counties.

Also, Miami Hamilton and Miami Middletown jointly operate the Corporate and Community Institute (CCI), which provides training assistance, certificate and other programs for area businesses and community organizations. For business and industry, the CCI emphasizes training customized for the individual client. The Institute offers non-credit courses in professional development, computer technology, personal enrichment, online learning, fitness and summer youth programs.

CCI functions will be relocated to the university’s Voice of America Learning Center in West Chester in January 2009. The Voice of America Learning Center in West Chester will also offer graduate and undergraduate courses and programs, together with workforce development and customized training opportunities for business, industry, school districts and government agencies. The 23,000-square-foot facility will be administered by Miami’s regional campuses and will support more than 80 classes per week offered during daytime, evenings and weekends.

Northern Kentucky University’s graduate and continuing education programs are designed for flexibility. Online and evening classes are offered and degrees in education and nursing can be earned completely online. New online programs, such as a master in integrated studies, will begin in the fall. Also, NKU is the only school in the area to offer a master's in public administration. Other master's degrees are available in communication, business and health informatics, industrial-organizational psychology, computer science, school and community counseling, liberal studies and nursing.

For those who want to further their education at the graduate level without pursuing a graduate degree, there are several certificate programs. “The University maintains a close relationship with the community and the businesses here,” says Dr. Salina Shrofel, dean of the graduate programs and associate provost for research. “This has allowed us be responsive to the community so that we offer graduate and certificate programs that meet the needs of our students and have a positive impact on the region.”

The College of Business offers certificates in advanced taxation and six business certificates including entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, international business, project management and general business. There is a certificate in non-profit management offered through the College of Arts and Science, and a certificate in civic engagement will begin in the fall. In the technology arena, certificate programs are available for corporate information security, secure software engineering, and business and health informatics.

In addition to NKU’s graduate programs, another option for adult students is the Program for Adult-Centered Education (PACE) started in 2005. Students may complete an associate degree in liberal studies or bachelor's degrees in organizational leadership, computer information technology and liberal studies. PACE classes meet for consecutive eight-week sessions throughout the year and include 90 minutes of web-enhanced instruction weekly. Some courses are delivered entirely online. PACE meets at NKU’s Covington campus on Dixie Highway.

Raymond Walters College, UC’s Blue Ash campus, offers a variety of learning options for adult students including distance learning, weekend and evening classes and non-credit training through their Professional Development Institute. The college offers professional certificates for students who have already earned bachelor’s degrees and wish to acquire skills and knowledge in a specific field. The professional certificate programs generally consist of the technical portion of the college’s two-year, career-oriented programs. These range from administrative management technology courses to international business, and from real estate courses to sales and marketing training.

In addition, RWC’s “Performance Packages” are designed to help working adults upgrade skills and knowledge to become more valuable to their employers. Each package includes three to four courses intended to increase the student’s knowledge and skills in a particular area. Upon completion of the required courses, students will receive a certificate of completion. Most packages can be completed in one year by taking just one course a quarter. Courses include 3-D gaming, accounting basics, advanced communication skills, desktop publishing, E-commerce, global business, sales basics and many others.

The University of Cincinnati offers a comprehensive set of graduate programs in 12 colleges in approximately 250 graduate degree programs, including 83 doctoral programs. The Master of Public Health and Doctor of Physical Therapy are two new graduate degree offerings this year. In addition, to accommodate the continuing education of working professionals, UC is expanding its distance learning offerings at the master's level. For example, this year the College of Pharmacy has started offering a distance learning Master of Science degree with an emphasis on cosmetic science, and the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services now has a distance learning option for its existing Master of Education program in special education. 

“This is a particularly exciting time for graduate education and research in Ohio. The state is planning an investment of $150 million, through the Ohio Research Scholars Program, to attract nationally and internationally recognized faculty talent to our universities. We expect that this will have an enormous impact on our graduate programs. UC is competing for these funds with innovative interdisciplinary research and education programs in the sensing technology, propulsion and the biosciences,” says Neville G. Pinto, vice provost and dean of the graduate school.


Clermont College, in Batavia Township, is a regional campus of the University of Cincinnati. The college offers more than 50 associate degree and certificate programs in a wide range of subjects, as well as bachelor’s degrees in education, nursing and business. Clermont College is an open admissions institution, providing access to higher education to anyone with a high school diploma or equivalency. Classes are offered during the day, evening and on the weekend. UC Clermont can also boast that 97 percent of their professors teaching freshman level classes have advanced degrees, the highest percentage at any Ohio two-year and community college.

Warren County Career Center provides training for area businesses and industries. WCCC participates with area chambers of commerce and other area business groups to stay connected and current on the needs of the business community. Customized training is offered in many areas including health careers, information technology and computer software training. WCCC can quickly move an individual through a program — in approximately nine months to one year — and into immediate employment with the technical skills needed.

Wilmington College, located in Wilmington, opened a new Cincinnati branch in fall 2007. The new site, The Landings of Blue Ash off Reed Hartman Highway, results from the consolidation of former campuses in Tri-County and Eastgate. Iris Kelsen, vice president for external programs, says, “By centralizing our services at a single location, students will have easier access to faculty and staff, and to all the information that they need to help move them along the path to graduation. We are very excited by the possibilities that will exist for Wilmington College students as a result of this move.” The Blue Ash branch offers degree programs in accounting, business administration and liberal studies. Classes meet once per week for an entire semester, and acclerated courses are offered on weekday evenings and Saturdays.

At the main campus, about an hour’s drive from Cincinnati, students can enroll in a variety of liberal arts undergraduate degree programs, as well as achieving a master’s degree in education. For the master’s program, classes during the spring and fall semesters meet one evening per week for three hours and summer classes meet three days a week for three hours and fifteen minutes. Students who take two courses each during the fall and spring semesters and three courses during the summer semester can graduate from Wilmington College in five semesters.

According to Jennifer Bush, Xavier University’s executive director of MBA programs, “Consistently 95 percent or more graduates report that their Xavier MBA experience was excellent, and the business community knows that Xavier is the school for anyone wanting to achieve their goal of an MBA that will challenge and lead to career movement.” This success can certainly be attributed to Xavier’s diverse MBA program options: an evening program for working professionals, three offsite MBA options at GE in Evendale, Deerfield Township, or West Chester, or the 19-month executive MBA for high level managers and leaders. A new curriculum was rolled out in fall 2007 which intertwines ethics and social responsibility, international business, operations management, and cutting-edge electives in the areas of business intelligence, data mining, category management, customer relationship management, global mutual funds and many more.

New this year, Xavier’s MBA program offers a concentration in business intelligence, the first of its kind in this region. Business intelligence is one of the hottest trends in business computing, says Bush, and top media outlets such as and Newsweek have reported that business intelligence is increasingly being used to support strategic decision-making.

Another unique program offered by The Williams College of Business and the Xavier Center for Corporate Success is “Back to Business.” This is a new business professional education opportunity for women who have been out of the workforce for a while. The program consists of approximately 22 class sessions on topics of current managerial concern, career planning and career reentry. Participants will be immersed in an intensive learning setting and will have the opportunity to network with peers who share similar backgrounds, career aspirations and work/life challenges. 

The Art Institute of Ohio — Cincinnati relocated last year to a brand-new Symmes Township facility that offers more than 35,000 square feet of classroom, laboratory, and office space designed to the specifications of the college for its design programs. The Art Institute offers associate’s degree programs in graphic design, web design and interactive media, interior design, fashion merchandising, video production and culinary arts. Dean Lisa Mercurio says, “A large number of our current population consists of individuals that have decided to go back to school for something they are passionate about. We do not offer single classes in any of our areas of discipline, but our associate degrees allow adult students to gain the education necessary to succeed in the industry in as little as 18 months.”

The Indiana Wesleyan University Cincinnati Education Center located in West Chester offers adults degrees in business, nursing and education. IWU’s nationally and regionally accredited programs are designed with adult student needs in mind. Students register only once for all courses in their program and books and materials are delivered directly to each student. Classes meet once a week at a convenient time and location and degree programs generally take 18 to 24 months to complete.

Enroll now for a new weekend MBA program beginning in the fall at Wright State’s new Courseview learning facility in Mason. This program offers twice monthly classes on Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. “Students establish close relationships with a highly talented cohort of working professionals who complete the program together,” according to Monica Snow, director of marketing, business and international relations. The curriculum emphasizes leadership skills to manage innovation, change and technology to achieve strategic business goals, and is taught by the same faculty who teach in the MBA program on Wright State’s main campus.

Also, the Raj Soin College of Business recently launched a new masters degree program in information systems. This program is designed for working professionals who want to advance their leadership potential and strategic skills, while continuing their full-time careers. This 12-month program combines collaborative online learning with five weekend on-campus classes. Students also complete a major project to achieve specific ROI goals for their company.