Three Rivers Trains IT Professionals with Revamped Degree Program

Aug 11, 2015

Computer-savvy students entering Three Rivers College this fall will have a new option to choose from if they’re looking to turn their love of technology into a career.  The college’s Network Administration degree track has been upgraded into a new IT Specialist program, which trains students for careers in IT more effectively than ever before.

“We’ve worked very hard to design the program so that it develops all the skills that our students will need to jump straight into jobs in the field,” said Heather Carlton, Instructor of Information Systems Technology at Three Rivers, and one of the architects of the redesign. “We’ve updated the curriculum, brought it into line with industry standards, and provided more opportunities for students to get certifications that will make finding a job easier.”

Three Rivers took the time to make sure that the skills the IT Specialist program teaches are ones that match the needs of the region. According to Carlton, the college consulted frequently with local employers as part of its advisory committee discussions about the program, starting in the fall of 2013.

“We spent about two years refining the program, relying heavily on the input of employers like Ozark Border, Poplar Bluff Schools, and the Black River Medical Center,” said Carlton. “They really helped us stay focused on exactly what these students need to be learning, the kind of skills that will make them stand out in a job interview.”

Though it’s ready for launch, the IT Specialist program isn’t done adjusting and growing.  The college is currently seeking to reach transfer agreements with several or area four-year universities that would allow graduates with an IT Specialist associate degree to transfer easily to those institutions to complete a bachelor’s degree. Three Rivers is also working with area career technology centers to provide a smooth pathway into the program for high school students.

The new IT Specialist program features a two-year associate degree track, as well as a one-year certificate.  Several of the required courses feature the industry-standard Cisco curriculum, and students will have the opportunity to earn industry certifications such as CompTIA A+, CompTIA Security+, Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate, and more. A Linux course is also available and will prepare students for a Linux Professional Institute certification.

“It’s definitely a more rigorous and relevant curriculum, and our students will see the benefit of that,” said Carlton. “But it will also benefit local businesses, because it ensures that our students will be ready to step into positions using cutting-edge technologies. With this new program, everyone wins.”

Registration remains open for Fall semester classes at Three Rivers through Friday, August 14. To apply for admission to Three Rivers, visit to fill out a free application, or call the Welcome Center at 573-840-9605. Fall classes start Monday, August 17.

Three Rivers College is committed to contributing to the quality of life in Southeast Missouri with quality, affordable higher education opportunities and community services that support and encourage the economic, civic, and cultural vitality of the region. For more information about college and workforce programs and upcoming events, visit