Moraine Park's online programs open doors for working adults and parents

by admin29. September 2008 19:00

Whether it’s for the first time or the second, getting a college degree can help you can make more money and advance your career or start a new one. For adults who work and/or have children, time and distance can be hurdles. How do you find the time to drive to and attend classes when you can’t leave your job or you have a family to take care of – or both?


Fortunately, technology and flexible scheduling make it easier to fit continuing education into busy lives. Moraine Park Technical College offers more than 350 online courses and 20 online programs and certificates, with courses ranging from four, six, eight or 16 weeks.


Associate of applied science degree, technical diploma and certificate programs that can be completed entirely online, with the exception of a few which also require clinicals, include Accounting, Business Management, Entrepreneurship for Small Business Certificate, General Studies, Health Information Technology, Human Resource Development Certificate, Information Technology – Web Developer, Instructional Assistant, Medical Transcription, Organizational Management Certificate, Supervisory Management, Veterinary Technician and Water Quality Technician.


“Online is a great alternative for students who have family and work responsibilities,” said Pete Rettler, Moraine Park West Bend and online campus and community partner. “With gas prices being so high it may be the thing that makes college affordable for the students who do not live near our campuses. Our faculty are trained to teach online, our curriculum was built to be delivered online, and our online provider (eCollege) is willing to help our students with access-related questions 24 hours per day, seven days per week.”


Jason Helnes of West Bend is an example of someone taking advantage of online learning while working. He is enrolled in Moraine Park’s online Veterinary Technician associate of applied science (AAS) degree program that includes clinicals at veterinary practices.


“The biggest difference that I have experienced between online classes and typical courses in classrooms is that through online learning you are given more freedom to budget your time between school and other parts of your life such as family and work,” said Helnes. “The biggest advantage that I have had is the ability to work nearly full-time to help support myself and my wife while still having the time to finish my classwork and be successful in my chosen program.”


Rachel Wigman of Fond du Lac needed a class schedule that worked with her “mom” responsibilities for two sons – one born with spina bifida – and her part-time job. She volunteers at her sons’ school and is turning that interest into a career by pursuing an Instructional Assistant associate of applied science degree. Going back to school after more than 16 years was a challenge, but online courses and the support of her family have helped.


 “If it wasn’t for online classes I wouldn't be able to go back to school, at least full-time,” said Wigman. “I like to just log on whenever I want to instead of making sure I make it to class on time.” She works part-time while her sons are in school and tackles her course assignments on the computer after they go to bed. “I would suggest to any parent that if they want to accomplish a degree to further their career, I would go for it. I just have one more year to go and I will accomplish getting a degree – it's very exciting.”


Like Wigman, Candice Sippel of Fond du Lac is enrolled in the Instructional Assistant program while she works and volunteers at her daughter’s school. “Taking online courses gives me the ability to create my own schedule. The instructors are often online, increasing their availability. With my experience thus far, they have been so helpful and willing to answer questions over e-mail or phone as often as possible. Being an online student has been a really great experience and I would recommend it to anybody.”


Moraine Park provides a checklist you can use to find out if online learning is for you; go to You can also see a demo course by going to and clicking on Demo Course then the Courses tab in the upper left. For a complete list and answers to frequently asked questions, go to and click on Online Learning.


“I would never be able to achieve and learn what I have learned without the online Veterinary Technician program at Moraine Park,” said Jennie McMonagle of Maribel, who had previously earned two bachelor of science degrees the traditional classroom way. “The instructors are extremely helpful and will go miles out of their way to see you succeed – you just need to ask.”


Moraine Park also offers evening and weekend classes. If money is an issue, ask about your financial aid and scholarship options. Get to know Moraine Park. Schedule a campus tour and visit with an academic advisor. Short videos about the College and its programs are located at, along with other information about programs and services. To get started on the next step in your life and career, call Moraine Park at 1-800-472-4554.