Western Technical College (WTC) is a two-year community college in La Crosse, Wisconsin with branch campuses in Black River Falls, Independence, Mauston, Sparta, Tomah, and Viroqua. There are 43 separate programs of study at the college.
There are four academic divisions at WTC: General Studies, Business, Health and Public Safety, and Industrial Technologies. Degrees include an Associate of Applied Science and Associate of Science Liberal Arts. A number of certificates are available as well. For students who wish to transfer to four-year institutions, WTC has transfer agreements with Upper Iowa University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Capella University, Franklin University, Marian College, University of Minnesota Crookston, University of Wisconsin Stout, and Viterbo University.
Popular Western Technical College Programs:
Many of the programs at WTC are geared toward preparing students for direct entry into the workforce after earning their associate’s degree or certificate. Here are some of the most popular direct entry programs:
The Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources department offers Agri-Business Science Tech; Culinary Management; Farm, Business, and Production Management; Food Production Specialist; Animal Science; Catering Certificate; Dietary Manager; Horticulture Plant Care; Hospitality Events Management; and Landscape Horticulture.
The Architecture, Graphics, and Design department offers Architectural Technology; Graphic Design; Interior Design; Desktop Publishing; Mechanical Design Tech CAD; Web Design; and Mechanical Design Technology.
The Business and Information Technology department offers Accounting’ Administrative Professional; Business Management; Electric and Computer Engineering Technology; Finance; Computer Support, Network Systems Administrator; Web and Software Developer; Computer Hardware Certification; Computerized Accounting; Database Technology; OSHA Compliance; Writing in the Workplace; Marketing; Office Support Specialist; Paralegal; Supervisory Management; and Visual Communication.
The Education department offers Disability Support; Early Childhood Education; Instructional Assistant; Autism Spectrum Disorders; and YoungStars.
The Engineering and Technology department offers Air Conditioning, Heat, and Refrigerator Technician; Bio-Medical Electronics; Electric and Computer Engineering Technology; Electrical Systems Installation and Maintenance; Electromechanical Technology; Electricity Fundamentals; Fluid Power Fundamentals; Mechanical Designs Technology CAD; Mechanical Drive Systems; Power Systems, Motor and Control; Programmable Program Logic Control; Solid State Devices; Wiring and Fabrication; Machine Tool Operation; and Mechanical Design Technology.
The Health department is very large and split into two sub-departments; Health Behind The Scenes and Direct Patient Care. Health Behind The Scenes offers Bio-Medical Electronics; Central Service Technician; Clinical Laboratory Technician; Health Information Technology; Phlebotomy; and Pharmacy Technician.
Direct Patient Care offers Dental Assistant; Dental Hygienist; Emergency Medical Technician; Medical Assistant; Paramedic; Nursing; Occupational Therapy Assistant; Paramedic Technician; Pharmacy Technician; Physical Therapist Assistant; Practical Nursing; Radiography; Respiratory Therapist; Surgical Technologist; and Therapeutic Massage.
The Public Safety department offers Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement Academy; Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement; Fire Protection Technician; and Paramedic Technician.
WTC has an integrated curriculum that incorporates college-wide outcomes throughout all learning materials. As stated on the college’s website, these outcomes are:
1. Use effective communication skills.
2. Apply mathematical concepts.
3. Transfer social and natural science theories into practical applications.
4. Demonstrate ability to think critically.
5. Demonstrate ability to value self and work ethically with others in a diverse population.
6. Use technology effectively.
7. Make decisions that incorporate the importance of sustainability.
Students are graded not just on their mastery and demonstration of the material, but on their mastery of these outcomes as well.
WTC offers thousands of eBooks and other digital resources through NetLibrary, which students can access through any internet connection. Popular databases available through the library include Badger Link, which connects to resources available through other colleges and universities in Wisconsin; CREDO Reference, a compendium of dictionaries, encyclopedias, biographies, and atlases; Criminal Justice Periodicals Index (CJPI), a gathering of US and international criminal justice journals, law enforcement and correction administration information, family law documents, and industrial security information; Encyclopedia of Global Warming; GreenFILE, a multi-disciplinary database documenting relationships between humans and the environment; Health Reference Center; Historical Encyclopedia of American Business; and LexisNexis Academic, a collection of more than 6,000 news, business, and legal publications.
The Computer Lab in the library is open for student use and for alumni who have graduated in the last six months. There are both Macs and PCs, with a large number of software programs, including databases, spreadsheets, word processing programs, accounting programs, desktop publishing, graphic design, and AutoCAD. There are full-time technicians on staff to assist students as needed. The library also loans out free netbooks for student use.
The library provides all materials found in the La Crosse library and any materials requested through interlibrary loan to distance education learners. Materials are sent to the branch location closest to the student’s residence.
Academics for High School Students
WTC works closely with area high school to prepare youth in their catchment area for either higher education or the workforce. They collaborate with local school officials and teachers on curriculum and hold open houses and guided tours to introduce students to the concepts and campuses of college.
Most Popular Fields of Study
In keeping with their mission to offer higher education to anyone who wishes to receive it, WTC features open admissions. Several programs have waiting lists for enrollment, however; so early application is encouraged. Wisconsin residents receive priority standing in admissions.
Admission to Western does not necessarily guarantee admission to specific programs, and students may be asked to present supplementary application materials or undergo assessment testing. All students should begin by submitting the Wisconsin Technical College System application for admission, and paying the one-time application fee, except for students applying to apprentice, farm business or production management programs of study who are exempt. All students must submit high school transcripts, complete ASSET or COMPASS basic skills tests or present other standardized test scores, and wait to receive confirmation of admission before enrolling in courses.
In addition to the standard array of federal and state financial aid options open to any college or university student in Wisconsin, WTC offers more than 200 of their own need- and merit-based scholarships. Some of the most popular scholarship programs at WTC include the Fresh Start Program, which provides childcare funding to students who are single parents; the Wisconsin Amusement and Music Operators Scholarship; and the National Science Foundation Scholarship, which supports students studying computer science and computer engineering.
Roughly 88% of students at WTC are European American, 13% are Native American, 3% are Asian American, 2% are African American, and 1% are Hispanic American.
Clubs and Organizations
There are a large number of clubs and organizations at WTC. Most departments have at least one professional organization. Other popular clubs include Campus Crusade for Christ, Vets for Vets Club, Phi Theta Kappa (Honor Society), and Promoting Awareness Victim Empowerment (PAVE).
There is one residence hall on campus, which houses 200 students in 50 four-person suites. Each suite includes both wireless and wired internet access; air conditioning; cable television access; phone service; two bedrooms; one and a half baths; and a kitchenette with microwave and refrigerator.
The main dining facility on campus is the TC Café, a traditional buffet-style cafeteria. As of 2011, Union Market serves a variety of grab-and-go options, including burgers, chicken sandwiches, quesadillas, pizza, made-to-order stir-fries, submarine sandwiches, burritos, soups, salads, and desserts to go.
WTC also has a student-run restaurant, The Corner Bistro. Second-year students in the Culinary Management and Food Production Specialist programs create the menu, cook and serve the food, and take care of all the other details of the restaurant experience. The students also run a bakery and sell bakery items through the Kumm Center Cafeteria.
Dental Hygiene Clinic
Students in the Dental Hygiene Program provide x-rays, cleanings, and fluoride treatments at a heavily discounted rate to WTC students at the Dental Hygiene Clinic on the La Crosse campus.
WTF is dedicated to providing disabled students with the services they need in order to learn successfully. Accommodations can include peer note takers, registration assistance, enlargement of print materials, and adaptive equipment.
WTC offers counselling for personal issues, stress management, career exploration, and life balance. Trained professionals are on staff five days a week.
The Parent Child Center at WTC provides childcare for students from 7:30 am to 5 pm during both the school year and the summer. The Center doubles as a laboratory for the Early Childhood Education program. The La Crosse School District’s preschool program is also housed at the center, and many children move from one to the other when they turn four.
Student Enrollment Demographics
The athletics department is known as the Cavaliers. They compete on the intervarsity level in the NJCAA. Competitive sports include baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and volleyball.
Full-time students can purchase semester memberships for a minimal cost at the Western Wellness Center. The Center offers cardiovascular equipment, Nautilis Nitro strength training equipment, a weight room, fitness classes, and personal training.
Many students go on from WTC to live and work in La Crosse after graduation. Major employers in the La Crosse area who hire WTC graduates include City Brewing Company, Logistics Health Incorporated, Trane (an air conditioning manufacturer), Ace Hardware, S&S Cycle, Gundersen Lutheran Medical Center, Franciscan Skemp Medical Center, School District of La Crosse, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, and CenturyTel.
Child Care. Western Technical College. Web. 23 May. 2011.
Course Planner. Western Technical College. Web. 23 May. 2011.
Student Planner. Western Technical College. Web. 23 May. 2011.
Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.
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.