Chances are, if you are an adult interested in expanding your education in California, you may have heard of ROP courses. If you aren’t familiar with ROP, it stands for Regional Occupational Program. It allows older teenagers and adults to continue their education, learn something completely new, or even get their High School Diploma. Some adults participate in ROP courses when they want to start a new career, improve in their current career, or enhance their personal skills and abilities.
To help stimulate the economic development of California through developing the careers of its citizens, the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs has promoted and supported Regional Occupational Courses. In fact, there are over 72 programs and centers in California. The design is to provide a variety of occupational-based training to anyone older than 16 years of age. Some occupational-based classes include nursing, culinary arts, graphic design, Auto CAD, and more (much more).
The primary concept of ROP classes is to provide older teenagers and adults with career preparation or a technical education that can be utilized in the job market. Depending on the demand of the labor market, you may find that some courses will be available tuition-free.
What Courses Are Available?
The more you learn about Regional Occupational Centers and Programs (ROCP), the more you will realize how expansive the list of available courses truly is. Let’s touch on just of few of the many:
- Dental Assistant or Hygienist
- Continuing CNA Education (This can be Emergency Medical Technician, Emergency Medical Responder, Nursing, Sports Medicine, and more!)
- Graphic Design
- Basic Computer Literacy
- Parent Education
- Yoga Instruction
- Crime Scene Investigation
- ESL (English as a Second Language)
- Entrepreneurship (Yes, learn about owning a business!)
- Resume Writing & Interviewing
With this list, the surface is barely scratched. If you were unable to get your High School Diploma for any reason, you can utilize the Regional Occupational Program to get your diploma or GED (diploma equivalent).
Depending on where you live, there will be different courses available. The courses that are available in Orange County will be different from the courses offered in Riverside or San Diego. While you may find a lot of overlap for GED programs or basic courses such as computer literacy, courses that are more obscure (such as yoga instruction) will be more difficult to find close to you.
What Are Some of the Top Schools?
To keep the overhead cost of programs low, many of the courses are hosted at high schools after hours. This allows most adults as well as high-school aged teenagers to participate in the programs and courses. In some cases, students can earn an elective credit from attending courses that are designed to teach basic life skills.
If the idea of going back to high school at night feels too weird for you, there are a few alternatives. Some local community colleges also offer courses throughout the day, at night, on weekends, and even online in some cases. Here are some cities/counties where you can attend courses at a community college campus:
- Orange County – Coast Community College, North Orange County Community College, South Orange County Community College
- Riverside – UEI College, San Joaquin Valley College, Mayfield College, Penn Foster
- San Diego – Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College, Escondido Adult School, Poway Unified/Community Education Service
Depending on what type of course or courses you want to take, there are other options in addition to high schools and colleges. You can also opt for specific ROP locations that host the courses. Some places of employment offer a job training program that allows them to host a ROP course.
Your best first step is to simply decide what it is you truly want to do!
Who Can I Expect to Work with and Meet?
First and foremost, you can expect to meet and work with people from all walks of life. Over 520,000 high school students and adults are served by ROP courses annually. So, you can expect your fellow classmates to represent a wide range of ages. Additionally, with California being as culturally rich and diversified as it is, you can expect a strong mixture of races, religions, creeds, sexual orientations, and genders. When it comes to Courses in California (CA), you should simply drop all “socially rational” expectations.
As for your teachers, you can expect the utmost in professionalism, wisdom, and capability. Every teacher has been fully credentialed and approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. What this means for you is that your teacher has true-to-life experience in the industry you are personally invested in and is ready to prepare you for a competitive career market.
Depending on your teacher’s style of teaching, you may meet other professionals in the industry in which you are planning to start a career. These professionals will offer insight into the industry and ultimately help you determine if that career is going to be right for you. In some cases, you may find that your expectations were different from reality – and that too is a valuable lesson early on in your learning and preparation process.
How do I Qualify?
Qualifying for ROP courses is typically an easy process. First, however, you will want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you know what your career passion is?
- Are you ready to truly dedicate yourself to a career?
- Are you committed to learning everything you need to know to be successful in your career?
- Do you understand that your commitment could potentially be very time-consuming?
- Do you understand that the cost for courses in your career is an investment?
- Are you okay with some of the courses potentially being formalities – such as safety and protocol? Keep in mind that these courses may seem tedious, but they are just as crucial as the courses dealing directly with your career.
If you didn’t answer ‘yes’ to all 6 questions, you may want to re-evaluate your career choice (or lack thereof). ROP courses are an investment of both time and money. If the courses you are considering are currently tuition-free because the career they are for is (or will be) in high demand, you are still investing your time. In case you were unaware, time is money.
If you answered ‘yes’ to all 6 questions, congratulations! You know what you want your next chapter in your life to look like, and you are willing to do what it takes to get there! You are ready to take advantage of the great opportunities that ROP courses have to offer.
There are many ROP courses you can simply “drop in on” if there is space available. Some courses have prerequisites and require sign-up well in advance. Ultimately, ROP courses are available to anyone, but priority goes to residents of the region.
How do I Get Started?
Whether you are preparing for your new career, improving your current career, or simply expanding on a skillset, getting started is easy. If you are a student, you can simply register with the ROP career specialist on your campus. If you are a student of an alternative high school, you can typically register with your school’s career specialist or in person at your local ROP office. If you are an adult, you will need to register in person at your local ROP office.
In most cases, registering for qualifying courses is free for high school students. For adults, registration fees will vary based on the desired course. In either case, there may be a fee for materials that will be used in class or taken home. Some courses may require certain materials to be brought from home. Be sure to check your district’s Schedule of Classes document to see what costs and requirements will be associated with the courses you are interested in.
It is also important to check to see if you qualify for financial aid. Since financial aid is typically available, you will want to find out beforehand how much of your education will be covered. Depending on your situation, you may have to pay little to nothing for many of your ROP courses.
ROP Courses Reviews
Laprettyguera X. from Los Angeles writes, “This is one of the best programs I have ever taken. I have taken many classes from Coastline ROP when I was in High School to even outside my college classes. Taking classes from here helps you get hands on experience, better customer service skills, and even gets you a job after your done with the class. I enrolled in all the dental assistant classes including the Dental Asistant Back office Radiology class which gave me my certificate to work right after! I really recommend everyone to take these classes here, they many wonderful teachers in all courses. Don’t Miss an opportunity like this one, enroll now, very affordable and you’ll meet so many great determined strong minded people like you!” She gave Coastline ROP a 5-star rating on Yelp!
Sue S. of Claremont writes, “Excellent low-cost vocational education open to all. I took EMT training here. Very well done.” She gave North Orange County Regional Occupational Program a 5-star rating on Yelp!
Overview of Regional Occupational Program Courses
If you are ready to begin a new career or to make yourself really stand out in your current career, ROP courses are a great place to start. Even if you simply want to learn a new skill (such as computer comprehension or auto detailing) or get your GED, you can look to Regional Occupational Programs to help you along the way.
There are many courses available for you to choose from in your area. You may be able to find something in law, law enforcement, HVAC, sports medicine, sports instruction/coaching, dental assistant, or even general job searching skills – truly whatever you may be passionate about.
There are several options for ROP locations in your area. Many high schools house after-hours study, some community colleges host courses all day and on weekends, or you can also opt for ROP locations for some classes. Regardless of where you go, you will meet many fun and interesting people with the same passions as yours. Additionally, your teacher will be highly qualified for teaching your course and has personal experience in the industry you will be learning about.
Qualifying for courses is easy, so when you are ready to get started, simply contact your local ROP office to get more information!