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Certificate Programs Pave the Way for International Students to Advance Their Careers and Education in the US

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Certificate Programs Pave the Way for International Students to Advance Their Careers and Education in the US

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The United States is a popular country for international students seeking the opportunity to learn or practice English as their second language and obtain a quality education. During the 2019/2020 school year, there were 1,075,496 international students studying in the US according to the Institute of International Education and the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

However, earning acceptance at a US four-year college or university isn't easy. Not only do international students have to jump through the same hoops as students born in the US-including an acceptable secondary school GPA, qualifying standardized test scores, application essays, and letters of recommendation-they have to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as well.

Fortunately, there are intermediate educational steps these students can take to pave the way for acceptance at a prestigious US higher education institution. While some choose to enroll at schools that focus solely on English as a second language (ESL) education, others maintain their F-1 Student Visa through full-time enrollment at an academic institution that provides additional career development and skills training along with ESL.

Computer Systems Institute (CSI) is one such institution. Founded nearly 30 years ago, CSI has helped thousands of international students obtain the training they need to have successful, rewarding careers.

"CSI is focused on the industry-specific skills employers are looking for today," explains Ramon Flores, Director of Marketing and Admissions. "However, career-focused colleges like CSI typically step beyond the boundaries of job training alone. We also teach students critical thinking, ethics, theory, and other valuable insights that can be used throughout their careers."

With six campuses across the Greater Chicago and Boston areas, Flores says CSI is popular with international students because of its affordable price, convenient schedules, and internship and externship opportunities available both during and after program completion.

"At CSI, students can expect formal college coursework along with practical career training," Flores continues. "And unlike a typical liberal arts school, CSI offers hands-on experience, in-field internships, and career services."

The school's business career program offers international students several concentrations including business fundamentals, digital multimedia, marketing, business finance, hospitality leadership, and organization administration. Students are given a substantive, comprehensive look at the fundamentals of developing and operating a business as well as professional development and customer service knowledge.

In CSI's networking career program, students choose between tracks that focus on computer networking and information technology or the core skills required for developing web applications. These tracks include certification exam preparation and qualify students for jobs as technical specialists, help desk specialists, systems administrators, UI developers, and software engineers.

When international students choose to enroll in the institution's healthcare career program, they can choose between tracks focused on billing and coding or clinical skills. Both paths prepare participants for certification in their field upon completion. Students in the healthcare career program are qualified for jobs as medical coders and billers, medical receptionists, medical administrative assistants, or clinical medical assistants.

CSI also offers students a number of skill building programs in areas including customer service specialist, hospitality industry professional, administrative assistant professional, sales and marketing professional, and small business administrator. These programs enable students to gain additional specialized professional skills needed to succeed in the business world. Most of these programs supplement classroom learning with the opportunity for externships and short-term workplace training programs through curricular practical training (CPT).

Each program at CSI spans 44 weeks. After completion, eligible international students can apply for up to 12 months of optional practical training (OPT). Authorization of OPT allows these students to live and work in the US for one year, gaining practical experience in their field.

Many students choose to go on to four-year colleges and universities in the US following these programs.

"CSI helps international students achieve their long-term career goals through industry certification exams and career-focused education," Flores says. "These programs set students up to transfer into degree programs to achieve bachelor's and master's degrees to grow their career."

Former CSI business career program student Edward Riveros is one such student. Riveros was accepted at DePaul University to work towards a master's degree in data science.

"Earning my business career program certificate from CSI increased my appetite for learning," says Riveros. "When I learned about digital marketing and all of the ways you can use data during my courses, I felt driven to pursue my master's to gain more knowledge."

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