AC Regents approve new certificate program in Banking and Finance

Amarillo College, with enthusiastic support from industry stakeholders, is now better positioned than ever to propel students to a wide variety of careers in the burgeoning banking and finance industry.

On April 26, the AC Board of Regents approved a new Banking and Finance Certificate and, pending approval of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the academic certificate will be offered at AC beginning next fall.

Additionally, four banks have partnered with the College, not only to help advise and shape the new program, but by offering assurances that AC students who complete the certificate will be granted an interview at a bank with job openings.

“There are a lot of different roles in the banking industry, not only tellers and loan officers, but in areas like human resources and cybersecurity and accounting and marketing, and this certificate can be a launching pad for all that and more,” said Rashmi Pillai, Business Technology program coordinator for AC.

“Students who complete the certificate will not only be ready for entry-level positions, they will get a job interview if any of our partner banks have openings, and they can work part time if they choose to continue their education. We’re very excited about it,” she said.

The Banking and Finance Certificate is comprised of 5 courses, and all 16 credit hours they entail can be applied toward an A.A.S. degree in Business Technology. The courses, which AC’s banking partners helped identify, are Word Processing, Financial Literacy, Advanced Spreadsheets, Principles of Bank Operations and Selling Bank/Financial Products and Services.

“The classes selected for the certificate were largely decided by our banking partners,” said Lynne Kenney, instructor of computer information systems at AC. “They wanted a diversity of classes in keeping with the skillsets they’re seeking.”

AC’s banking partners are Amarillo National Bank, FirstBank Southwest, First United Bank and Happy State Bank.

“Amarillo National Bank is proud to support the Banking and Finance Certificate at Amarillo College because we see the value in growing the next generation of bankers,” said Christa Gutierrez, assistant vice president for people development at ANB. “This program will open countless doors not only for the students that complete it, but also for the financial institutions where they work and for the customers that they serve.

“Students who complete this certificate will have the immediate advantage of knowing how financial institutions operate,” she said. “They will be familiar with banking terms and products, and they will understand why customer service is the key to success in the industry. It’s a wonderfully powerful opportunity and we are thrilled to be a part of it!”

Bowden Jones, executive vice president and chief consumer officer for FirstBank Southwest, not only supports the new certificate program but will be teaching a couple of the courses.

“This certificate program begins to lay the foundation for a student to explore many possibilities across many disciplines that are used within the banking industry and place them on a path to be successful in their career,” Jones said.

“It also falls in line with what Amarillo College has been doing to help provide a workforce for our community. This program will create additional interest in the banking industry, as well as a built-in workforce that will allow FirstBank Southwest and others to employ people from within this community and help put them on a path to success. That it is a win-win for everyone!”

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