True or False? A college education should always lead to a college degree.

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ACCC_true_or_falseAnswer: False

Yes, you read that correctly.

As an educator for more than 25 years, and a former human resources director in the casino industry, I have seen lots of students – in all age ranges – succumb to societal pressures (and possibly peer or parent pressures, too) that assert a college degree as one’s primary assurance of job security, job success and respectable compensation.

If you live in or near Atlantic City, then you are familiar with the economic downturns we have faced during the last three years. You probably also realized a college degree alone will not guarantee these assurances.

Today, there are still thousands of people in our area unemployed. Many of these long-term, hard-working employees faced crossroads for the first time in their careers. People in this situation told me they kept asking themselves the same questions: What do I do now? How am I going to find a job at this stage in life? Who is going to hire someone like me?

Supportive family and friends may have suggested they go to college.

A great suggestion, indeed – but a daunting one if the idea of going to college at 50 or 60 years old looks more like a Plan C or D, and not within reach.

That’s where we come in. You see, “going to college” doesn’t necessarily mean “getting a college degree.” At Atlantic Cape Community College, we proudly offer 47 college degree options – BUT we also offer six shorter-term certificate programs and 35 professional series.

Additionally, we also offer industry-recognized credential programs in Culinary Arts, Health Care, Computer Technology/IT, Table Games, Casino Surveillance, Retail, Customer Service and Hospitality.

These non-degree programs are designed for folks (possibly like you and me) who desire to enhance their skills, their marketability and their wish to keep learning. I like to refer to those of us in this category as people simply trying to reinvent ourselves.

Regardless of your age, it’s never too late to start over.

So, you see, a college degree may not be a goal for every prospective student that walks in to one of our three campuses – and that’s OK.

At Atlantic Cape, we know it is our students who define what success means for them. A college degree does not – and should not – equate to student success.

But a college education just might.

When you (or someone you like a lot!) are ready to explore short-term college education programs, designed to provide you with the skills you need and the confidence you deserve, please think of Atlantic Cape. We provide much more than just a college degree. We provide our community with college education options that meet their needs – when they need us.

And when they need us, we’ll be here.

In my humble opinion, that is the true mission of being a community’s college.

Donna Vassallo is the Dean of Career Education at Atlantic Cape Community College. In 2016, she celebrates her 26th year as an educator at Atlantic Cape. Dean Vassallo is a former human resources executive and restaurant owner. She is also a proud graduate of the college’s Hospitality Management program in 1985. Feel free to reach her at She is passionate about helping students define what success looks like to them.

Career Training Programs

Computers, Technology & IT Certifications

  • A+ Certification
  • Business Technology Specialist
  • Computer Technical Solution Series (A+, Net+, MCSA, Help Desk)
  • Network+ Certification
  • Operating System Concepts

Culinary Arts and Cooking

  • Baking and Pastry Training Program
  • Culinary Training Program
  • Sanitation Training

Casino/Gaming Training

  • Alumni Refresher & Practice Programs
  • Certified Surveillance Professional (CSP)
  • Lunch and Learn Series for Table Games
  • Table Games Training (Blackjack, Craps, Baccarat, Roulette, Poker and Tournament Play, Pai Gow Tiles, Pai Gow Poker, Carnival Games)

Health Care 

  • Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA)
  • Certified Home Health Aide for CNAs
  • Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA)
  • Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)
  • EKG/Monitor Technician
  • Emergency Medical Technician Certification (EMT)
  • ICD-10 Medical Coding
  • Inpatient Coding
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • Test of Essential Academic Skills (TEAS) Prep

Retail, Customer Service & Hospitality

  • Bartending Training
  • Certified Front Desk Representative (CFDR)
  • Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP)
  • Certified Guestroom Attendant (CGRA)
  • Customer Service, Sales and Loss Prevention Training
  • Retail Management Certification

Workforce and Career Training Programs

  • Construction Management
  • Line Locator for the Natural Gas Industry
  • Operations Technician (Natural Gas Industry)
  • Personal Fitness Training Certification Program
  • Real Estate Training
  • SORA Security Training
  • Substitute Teacher Certification
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