Master-Minding Success

COD offers many certificate programs ideal for degreed professionals.

Karen Brasini Andrews

Karen Brasini Andrews

Professionals looking to strengthen their already impressive resumes are finding valuable options at College of DuPage. Highly educated, successful people like Karen Brasini Andrews, a senior vice president at Cole Taylor Bank, a commercial bank headquartered in Chicago, are enhancing their success through COD certificate programs.

Two years ago, Andrews began the Advanced Accounting certificate at COD to prepare for a big item on her bucket list. “I’m going to be sitting for the first part of my CPA exam this summer,” said Andrews, who holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in finance and political science. “I’m doing this to update my current skills and also for transitional planning for semi-retirement down the road.”

When she decided to go back to college—some 20 years after earning her master’s degree—Andrews found it would take more than a couple classes to prepare for the rigorous four-part CPA exam. After consulting with COD Professor and Program Coordinator Lisa Capozzoli, Andrews learned the Advanced Accounting certificate, developed for CPA exam candidates who have already earned a bachelor’s degree, provided a solid foundation for this next milestone. “I liked the fact that COD had the relationship with Northern Illinois University, and COD tracked into the NIU CPA review courses. Economically, I think it’s a good value. I liked the fact that COD presented the program as a bundled package solution.” Andrews resides in Naperville with her husband and two college-age children. She found COD’s program and convenient location to be a good fit in achieving a work/life balance.

Master’s Track program

Professionals with clinical master’s degrees in social work, counseling, psychology, human services or a similar field of study can prepare for another valuable credential at COD. The Addictions Counselor Certification program known as Master’s Track includes four addictions-specific courses and an internship. Students who complete the program and pass the state exam become Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors (CADC). 

“A lot of the licensed counselors and social workers are essentially being required to get the CADC credential to make them competitive,” said Human Services Assistant Professor Jason Florin. “This is a really nice route. Instead of going back to school for two or three more years, you go for a couple of semesters and get certified.”

Master’s Track classes are offered online—a major plus for Michele Racanelli, a former human resources benefits specialist who started with one psychology class at COD. She continued her studies, earning her associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees while working full time, and is now a licensed psychotherapist. Racanelli wants to help women battling or affected by addiction. “It’s that thousand-mile journey that begins with one step. I’m always encouraging people to take one class, something you’re interested in. You have no idea where that path can lead you.”

Teaching Online Utilizing Technology (TOUT) certificate

The five-course TOUT certificate helps educators, trainers and people in the business/corporate world learn the ins and outs of online instruction, covering everything from theory and best practices to using multimedia and creating an online course. “We look at how to make your basic course even more valuable so that it’s more engaging, more interesting, more interactive,” said Professor Lois Stanciak. “It’s very different teaching a course online than teaching face to face.”

Nadene Eisner

Nadene Eisner

Nadene Eisner is a certified school library media specialist who most recently taught life skills and social studies classes for The School Association for Special Education in DuPage County’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing program. She found the new TOUT program while exploring continuing education courses that might help her professionally. Eisner holds a BA in English, an MS in Information Studies, a Certificate of Advanced Studies and this fall begins a master’s program in Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse.

“I’m deaf and employment of deaf people in the educational field unfortunately is limited,” said Eisner, who wants to teach at a community college. “I earned my CAS through a synchronous online program, and I thought the idea of becoming certified as an online instructor, combined with a subject master’s degree, might lead to more employment opportunities in both hearing and deaf education.”

At top: When Michele Racanelli decided to make the most of her strengths in listening and helping people, she realized education was her key to success. After nine years of schooling while working full time, she became a licensed psychotherapist and is now completing COD’s Master’s Track Addictions Counselor Certification program.

Photos by Lloyd DeGrane/special to College of DuPage


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