20 Community Colleges With Niche Programs to Get Excited About

Trish Sammer Updated on February 20, 2019

If you’d like to invest in your future career but you find that thinking about life in a cubicle makes you break out in a cold sweat, we’ve got you covered.

These 20 community colleges across are offering some truly unique (and affordable) training programs that will help you break out of the box.

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Casino Studies

With the promise of steady work and excellent wages, the casino industry offers exciting opportunities for qualified workers. This field is exceptionally well-suited for outgoing people who are good with money—and who relish the idea of working in a fast-paced environment. 

Because many people enter this field without a degree, those who have appropriate training are in demand. Plus, many casinos will not advance an employee into a gaming manager position without a college degree.

Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold, MD, offers a continuing education certificate in casino dealing. Certificate holders will be qualified to work as a dealer for table games, such as craps, black jack, and roulette, as well as poker. Best of all, full-tuition scholarships are available to qualifying applicants.

Atlantic Cape Community College in Mays Landing, NJ, offers dealer training for table games and poker, as well as training for casino-related security and surveillance. Classes take place in the Caesars Casino in Atlantic City.

Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN offers a certificate in casino operations and management. This program is geared toward people who would like to pursue a management career with the gaming industry.

Erie Community College in Orchard Park, NY, has a casino gaming repair technician program of study. The program recognizes that slot machines and other casino games are basically computers that require qualified computer-repair people to service and maintain them. The first half of training focuses on general computer repair, with the second half providing specialized courses that address casino-specific topics.

Gunsmithing

While you probably won’t hear about gunsmithing as a hot employment category, this field has retained steady employment levels for decades. With many current gunsmiths reaching retirement age, people in the industry expect demand for new gunsmiths to begin climbing.

Trinidad State Junior College in Trinidad, CO, offers a two-year degree program to teach students how to make, repair, and sell small firearms. Through a partnership with the National Rifle Association (NRA), the school offers classes on the mechanical components of guns, as well as the creative/artistic side of riflemaking.

Montgomery Community College in Troy, North Carolina, offers degrees, diplomas, and certificates in gunsmithing. Students can choose daytime, evening, or weekend programs. These programs focus on hands-on learning, with about two-thirds of classtime spent in shop instruction. This program is also affiliated with the NRA.

Lenoir Community College in Kingston, NC, offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in gunsmithing. Graduates will learns skills needed to refurbish metal and wood firearms, to diagnose and repair malfunctions, and to accomplish more complex custom gunsmithing tasks.

Lassen Community College in Susanville, CA, is the oldest gunsmithing school in the United States. They offer Associate in Science Degrees in Firearms Repair and General Gunsmithing, as well as Certificates of Completion for Pistolsmith, Riflesmith, Long Guns, and Gunsmith Machinist and Metal Finishing. As an NRA-affiliated school, Lassen also offers NRA summer courses that are one- or two-weeks long.

Legal Nurse Consultant

If you’re not familiar with this program of study, you’re not alone. This is a highly specialized program that prepares already-licensed nurses for positions as paralegal nurse consultants. Graduates may work for attorneys, within the healthcare industry at hospitals or insurers, or government offices. Legal nurses consultants may work in this capacity full-time, or part-time while maintaining their regular nursing positions.

Bergen County Community College in Paramus, NJ, is one of the few legal nurse consultant programs in the country that is approved by the American Bar Association. This program is open to registered nurses who hold an AAS or BS in science, have current licensure in New Jersey, and have a minimum of 2,000 hours of nursing experience.

Carroll Community College in Evergreen, CO, offers a Legal Nurse Consultant Training Course. Upon completion, students can opt to sit for the Legal Nurse Consultant Certified (LNCC) test, although doing so is not necessary to begin consulting.

Gallery and Museum Management

Santa Fe Community College in Santa Fe, NM, offers a certificate in gallery management. This certificate is designed to prepare students for employment in art galleries, arts organizations, and museums. Students are provided a comprehensive knowledge of art history, art criticism, business practices, collections care, the contemporary art market, artist’s rights, contracts, intellectual property, and copyright law.

Queensborough Community College in Bayside, NY, offers an Associate in Science degree (AS) in Gallery and Museum Studies, preparing students for employment in art galleries, historical museums, or cultural institutions.

Auctioneering

There’s more to auctioneering than just being an exceptionally fast talker. In fact, there’s a whole business behind it, making this an excellent field for people who are outgoing and entrepreneurial.

Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, PA, offers a diploma in auctioneering. This program prepares students for self employment as an auctioneer (with the expectation of selling about 70 items per minute!).

McLennan Community College in Waco, TX, offers an 80-hour course in auctioneering. Classes include License Requirements, Professional Conduct, Ethics, Collectibles and Antiques, and Real Estate and Homes.

Calhoun Community College in Decatur, AL, offers the only Accredited Auctioneer School in North Alabama. The school includes 85 hours of associated instruction as required by the Alabama State Board of Auctioneers. This program is limited to 15 participants.

Diving Business and Technology

From equipment rental and maintenance to underwater photography, this career path is perfect for the recreational diver who wants to take their passion for diving their career.

Florida Keys Community College in Key West, FL, offers the Associate in Applied Science – Diving Business and Technology. Graduates will be prepared to manage dive businesses in retail sales, rentals and equipment repair. Students will be trained in physics and physiology as applied to diving, emergency medicine and first aid for pressure related injuries, recompression chamber operation, mixed gas dive planning, and underwater photography.

Cannabis Studies

Some claim the cannabis industry is the fastest-growing career industry in the United States. Now that over half of states have legalized some form of marijuana—for recreation or for medical purposes—there’s a huge opportunity for people to create their own career path in this emerging industry.

From the business of running a dispensary to testing plants for mold, bacteria, and purity, the cannabis industry is in need of educated workers. Here are some community colleges that help fill that need.

Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, MA, offers a completely online cannabis program. It has partnered with Online Cannabis Education to offer a variety of certificates for students who complete programs in marijuana law, cooking and extraction, general business, and other cannabis-related topics.

Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, MA, is offering a cannabis career and training program. This program includes instruction by cannabis-industry professionals, including growers, attorneys, doctors, chefs, and dispensary operators.

Tacoma Community College in Tacoma, WA, is offering two continuing education classes on cannabis. One class focuses on the cannabis industry, with a concentration on how to get a job within the field, and the other class will examine the health benefits of cannabis.

Holyoke Community College in Holyoke, MA, is currently designing workforce-training programs for people who want to work in the cannabis industry. The program will focus on four jobs, including cultivation assistant, dispensary patient advocate ("bud tender"), extraction technician assistant, and cannabis pantry cook/cannabis culinary assistant. Students will have the opportunity to work directly with cannabis companies through internships and apprenticeships.

Want to learn more about community colleges? See also: Are Community Colleges a Good Value?

Published in: Online Colleges

About the Author
Trish Sammer

Trish Sammer is Nitro's managing editor. Her work has appeared in Woman’s Day, Redbook, Huffington Post, TechCrunch, and Forbes. She has also written for various corporate clients, including the tech giant SAP, The Franklin Institute, and PSE&G. When Trish isn’t busy acting as a writing ninja for other people, you can find her … well, writing about other stuff, like divorce and blended family life. She lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, their combined brood, and the world’s laziest dog. Read more by Trish Sammer

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