Career in a Year

Career in a Year

Many recent workforce and labor studies indicate that two out of three jobs created between now and 2030 will require education and training beyond a high school diploma. However, many of these jobs will not necessarily require a four-year college degree. Southwest has certificate programs that allow you to fast-track your way to career success in one year or less. These credentials prepare you to immediately enter the workforce or build a foundation for continued study to earn additional credentials on up to the associate degree.


Healthcare Careers

For more information, email the Allied Health Department or call (901) 333-5407/5400.


The EMT Program is delivered through a combination of classroom instruction (didactic and psychomotor) and clinical experience. Upon successful completion of the course, students are eligible to sit for the National Registry’s written and practical examinations. Upon successful completions of examinations and other licensure requirements, the student will be eligible for the State of Tennessee EMT license. The EMT renders life support to patients at the scene of their injuries or illnesses and prepares these patients for transport to the hospital.
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The Advanced Emergency Medical Technician Program includes basic and limited advanced skills. The program focuses on the acute management and transportation of critical and emergency patients. The Advanced emergency Medical Technician has the knowledge associated with, and is expected to be competent in , all of the skills of the EMR and EMT. Additional studies include pharmacological interventions, tracheobronchial suctioning of an already intubated patient, and intravenous therapy.
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The Laboratory Phlebotomy Technician program recognizes the importance of professional competence and the obligation they have to provide well-trained health care professionals for the citizens of Shelby and Fayette counties and the surrounding Mid-South region. As a result, development of professional competence, personal growth and appropriate patient care are integrated into each area of the curriculum.
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A pharmacy technician works under the supervision of a pharmacist to assist with filling and dispensing medications, maintaining patient records, medication labeling and other job-related duties. Students in the program will rotate in assigned pharmacy settings. During this period, the program calendar will differ from the academic calendar. The Pharmacy Technician program is accredited by the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP).
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Technology Careers

For more information, email the Technologies Department or call (901) 333-4159.


The Technical Certificate in Advanced Integrated Industrial Technology is designed to prepare graduates for many different careers related to manufacturing with an emphasis on technology, critical thinking, and problem solving. Students will take courses in the basic fundamentals of engineering technology and move on to very advanced applications including PLCs and robotics.
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The Advanced Machining Technical Certificate is designed to equip graduates with the advanced machining skills that will enable them to find high-level positions in the machining and metal fabrication fields. Students will become better acquainted with NIMS (National Institute for Metalworking Skills) machining standards. Emphasis is placed on advanced CNC and CAD/CAM topics. This certificate combines theoretical principles and hands-on practical skills into a cohesive training curriculum which has been designed to meet the needs of local industries.
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The Architectural/Construction Fundamentals Certificate Program emphasizes the basic skills needed to begin a career in architecture and building construction. Designed for high school graduates or those entering the design and construction field for the first time, the program covers six important areas. These areas include engineering technology techniques, architectural drawings, surveying, computer aided drawing, the materials and methods of building construction, and the use of modern computer software including word processing, spreadsheets, and databases.
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The Basic Electronics Technician Certificate program is designed to provide basic electronic skills for entry-level electronic technicians. The program covers five areas that are essential for entry-level technicians. These areas include: electric circuits, electronic circuits, digital circuits, electronic test equipment, and soldering (wire splicing, PCB assembly/rework for through-hole and surface mount components.
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This program is designed to develop skills in keyboarding and introduce word processing, spreadsheet, and database concepts. Individuals should possess basic keyboarding skills to pursue employment. Specifically, students will develop word processing, spreadsheet and database skills necessary for office support personnel.
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The Electrical/Electronic Fundamentals Certificate Program emphasizes the basic skills needed to begin careers in either the electrical or electronics engineering technology fields. Designed for high school graduates or those entering industry for the first time, the program covers six important areas: introduction to electrical/electronic technology; engineering technology techniques; electric circuits; electronic circuits; CAD drawing; and computer systems and applications such as word processing and spreadsheets.
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The Industrial Computer Fundamentals Certificate Program emphasizes the basic skills needed to begin a career in the computer engineering technology field. Designed for high school graduates or those entering industry for the first time, the program covers several essential areas. These areas include: introduction to engineering technology; computer systems applications such as word processing and spreadsheets; hardware/software essentials; introduction to electric circuits; digital circuits; and introduction to programming.
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The Technical Certificate in Industrial Motion Control Technology is designed to prepare graduates with skills needed for working with and maintaining equipment used in a distribution, warehousing, or manufacturing environment with an emphasis on technology, critical thinking, and problem solving. Students will take courses in the basic fundamentals of engineering technology and move on to advanced applications including PLCs and robotic/conveyor support systems.
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The Machining Fundamentals Technical Certificate is designed to equip graduates with the basic machining skills that will enable them to find entry-level positions in the machining and metal fabrication fields. Students will become acquainted with OSHA safety standards and NIMS (National Institute for Metalworking Skills) machining standards. Emphasis is placed on manual machining and basic CNC topics. This certificate combines theoretical principles and hands-on practical skills into a cohesive training curriculum which has been designed to meet the needs of local industries.
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The Mechanical/Manufacturing CAD Certificate Program emphasizes the basic skills needed to begin a career in industry. Designed for high school graduates or those entering industry for the first time, the program covers four important areas. These areas include the study of materials and how they behave, basic manufacturing processes and quality used to create everyday products, computer-aided design concepts, and the use of modern computer software including word processing, spreadsheets, and databases.
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The PC and Networking Technician Technical Certificate Program provides the skill set needed to begin a career in the Information Technology field. Designed for dually-enrolled high school students, high school graduates, those entering the workforce for the first time, or individuals seeking to retrain into an occupational field with a high level of projected growth over the current decade and into the next, the coursework in this program provides training.
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This program provides skills for those who are interested in a career as a maintenance technician or process technician. The program trains students to work as a key member of a team of people responsible for the planning, analyzing, and controlling the production of products from the acquisition of raw material through the production and distribution of products to customers in a variety of industries. Graduates are prepared to enter technology fields such as: Quality Control, Power Plant Operations, Maintenance, Chemical Plant Operations, Water and Wastewater Treatment, Plant and Systems Operations, and Process Control Operations.
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The Quality Assurance Certificate Program provides the student with intensive measuring and testing skills. Major areas of study include common measuring instruments and techniques using micrometers, gage blocks, and calipers; special measuring equipment and techniques using coordinate measuring machines, computer vision machines, and digital measuring devices; materials testing covering stress and strain analysis, tension and compression tests; metallograph inspection and analysis; and hardness and strength studies involving heat treating.
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The Quality Assurance Supervision Technical Certificate Program is designed for students with varied backgrounds. The certificate provides education and training in the practical knowledge and skills needed in today’s ever-changing workforce. The courses can be tailored to the needs of the student and local businesses.
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Business Careers

For more information, email the Business and Legal Studies Department or call (901) 333-4130.


The Accounting Technical Certificate is designed to prepare students to become qualified for entry-level positions in the accounting job market. The program provides enhancement of accounting and computer skills for those already employed in accounting who are seeking promotion.
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The tremendous growth and expansion of international trade has generated the need for a greater understanding of the import/export process. This is especially evident in Memphis, a major international distribution center. The primary educational objective of this program is to provide practical experience working with documents and processes used by customhouse brokers. Through a detailed understanding of the Harmonized Tariff Schedules of the United States and Customs Regulations, students will be able to apply knowledge to actual business applications. Also, upon the completion of this program the students will have gained practice to master the questions that appear on the United States Treasury Department’s Customhouse Brokerage Examination.
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The certificate for Logistics/Transportation Management is designed for students with varied backgrounds. The certificate provides education and training in the practical knowledge and skills needed in today’s ever-changing workforce. This curriculum includes a total approach to logistics management, including domestic and international transportation, warehousing, purchasing, and materials.
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The Tax Preparer Technical Certificate is designed to prepare students to take the new IRS required tax preparer exam and to enhance their ability to find jobs in payroll and tax preparation.
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Social Sciences Careers

For more information, email the Social Sciences Department or call (901) 333-4115/5196.


The Early Childhood Education Technical Certificate program is designed to prepare early childhood professionals by developing competencies in developmentally appropriate practices. Completion of this program will provide the candidate with knowledge of theory and practice necessary to plan and implement a holistic program for individual children and groups. Courses taken in this program may be used toward the Associate of Applied Science degree with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education.
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Students completing this program, including the recommended elective, will earn 100 percent of the education hours required by the State of Tennessee for state licensure as a substance abuse counselor. This training program does not include the state’s required work experience component for licensure. Becoming a state licensed substance abuse counselor greatly enhances career opportunities in this field. This training program has been approved for counselor licensure credit by the Tennessee Alcohol and Drug Credentialing Board. Completion of this program is not a guarantee of employment in this field.
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