Atlantic Technical Center (ATC) is a combined secondary and post-secondary school located in the Florida community of Coconut Creek, on a picturesque and spacious campus of some 30 acres. The school is overseen by the Broward County School Board as well as the Florida Department of Education. The center was originally established in 1973, and since the original days of scarcely 450 enrolled students the school has expanded to welcome some 5,000+ today, with an enormous growth and expansion in its facilities during those years.
The college offers various technical programs most of which are open to participation from the high school as well as the post-secondary students at the same time. There are many fields of study, with a heavy focus on the automotive/transportation fields, on the health sciences, business management and administration, manufacturing and computer systems, information technology, and the culinary arts.
At the post-secondary level, programs culminate in either one year or two year technical certificates that can serve as a valuable tool in jumping straight into a career field. Many programs include the possibility of garnering college credits which can then be applied to a degree program at a two- or four-year institution within Florida or even beyond.
The accreditation of the school as a whole is provided by the Commission of the Council on Occupational Education as well as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Furthermore, several programs are given accreditation by corresponding professional trade bodies, with recognition forthcoming for certain programs from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, the American Culinary Federation, the American Welding Society, and the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, among many others.
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The Green Ready Program is a very unique program that will give students who complete it the opportunity to acquire a solid foundation in green design principles. It is a preparatory program for people looking to sit for the Green Associate exam, which is auspiced by the Green Building Certification Institute and the US Green Building Council.
The academic requirements for admission merely require that applicants demonstrate minimal competency in the areas of math, reading and writing as mandated by Florida law for entry into a post-secondary program (hence, this does not apply for people looking to enroll in the high school programs). The admissions process consists of the following steps:
First, applicants must participate in the schools orientation process, which can be done both in person or online. Then, applicants must complete a basic skills test for the reasons mentioned above. Following, an interview is held with an advisors/counselors to go over test results and see where the applicant would most likely fit into the school as far as specific programs are concerned and go over issues such as financial aid, special needs, and so forth. Finally, when necessary arrangements are made to raise the basic competencies of admitted students who performed poorly on the basic skills test, and ultimately the process ends with students signing up for classes. Registration is conducted five times annually for post-secondary students.
A final consideration: in order to qualify for in-state tuition, it is necessary for a student to provide proof of more than 12 months residency in Florida; otherwise, out of state tuition rates will apply.
Various financial aid options are available, including Federal Pell Grants and loans thanks to the schools Program Participation Agreement through the US Department of Education. The recommended form for applying for financial aid is by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible, as aid is disbursed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
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Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.