Director, Career And Educational Planning (Female, Age 40) in Mesa, AZ

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 40 who works as a Director, Career And Educational Planning in Mesa, AZ. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete our job profile survey so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job TitleDirector, Career And Educational Planning
Salary$70,580
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week40
Company Size(not answered)
LocationMesa, AZ
Years Experience3 years

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career0
Education(not answered)
Income Rating0 / 10
Interest Rating0 / 10
Work-Life Rating0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating0 / 10

Table of Contents

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
Student success is the number one priority of Mesa Community College. For over forty years, MCC has provided outstanding transfer, career, and service programs to the East Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona. Our nationally recognized student outcomes assessment program testifies to the faculty’s commitment to more than 27,000 students who attend annually. MCC’s Center for Teaching and Learning further energizes residential and adjunct faculty to excel in the classroom and in professional development.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
Plans, organizes, directs and evaluates career planning and placement and adult re-entry services; supervises, trains and evaluates staff; maintains liaison with internal/external committees and organizations for student recruitment and retention purposes and to link supervised services; prepares and controls budget; formulates and evaluates goals and objectives of the program; oversees the selection of occupational and educational materials used in the center; coordinates the collection and dissemination of information on job requirements, labor market conditions, forecasts and economic development in the community; develops and implements programming to address the special needs of re-entry students; supervises a student job placement program including computerized job listings, job referrals and on-campus recruitment by employees; organizes and implements assessment policies and procedures; prepares reports and presentations.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
2 weeks vacation, accrued sick leave, medical, dental, vision insurance, Arizona State Retirement System

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
Well compensated; However, with the current state of budgets at the community college level, there have been no raises in the 3 years I’ve been here. Both our insurance and ARS costs are scheduled to increase next year, with again not even a cost of living salary increase.

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
The Career and Re-Entry Services office is open to staff as well as the community at large, so our daily jobs entail working with students, community members, staff, etc. In addition, as a manager in the Division of Student Affairs, my job also requires an ability to work collaboratively with other departments, administration, community agencies, our District office, etc. I’m an an extrovert and a people person, and I recharge my energy by being with people. It’s not always easy, but I love the fact that I work with people as part of (most of) my job. Otherwise, I would not be doing it.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?
Yes

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?
Yes

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.
My office is one of 8 in the Career and Re-Entry Services Center. This space is also shared with the American Indian Center staff. I like being close to the action and being close by in case my staff needs assistance. It has been challenging to make sharing the space with another department, but we are all continuing to find new ways to work and share resources collaboratively. It’s a warm, friendly, busy environment, which I enjoy. However, living in Arizona, sometimes it’s a bummer to be stuck working inside when we are having such nice weather!

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 5
Benefits: 3
Hours: 4
Co-Workers: 6
Supervisors: 7
Job Title: 1
Level of Responsibility: 2
The Actual Work: 8

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
Internal postings for Maricopa Community College District

What was the application process?
submit electronic application and resume….then wait! Higher education is not known for moving through this process quickly.

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Yes, I was interviewed by a large group (about 12) of staff, faculty and administrators for this position. For the second interview, I spoke with the Dean and Vice President of Student Affairs.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
Unfortunately, I don’t remember, but they were common questions for management positions in higher education.

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
No, there should definitely be a more detailed and outlined onboarding program here for new managers, which I believe HR is currently working to develop.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
Unfortunately, no! I was shown my office and told, “Here’s your department. Now go run it!” Call it ‘trial by fire’ or ‘learn as you go’, but I’ve fumbled through it every day, learning never stops. It’s good to have a mentor who can guide you through the obstacles…you will need one! You will also learn to trust yourself, your strengths and your decisions. Remember that having happy employees is a gift that should be fostered continually. You cannot do your job effectively without a great team behind you.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes, my counseling and career development background have definitely helped me. When I encounter areas of my job that are new and challenging, I always know that I know counseling and I know career development. The rest I can learn about and ask questions to get help.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
Yes, my internship was a paid, full-time position as Career Center Coordinator in a high school. It was invaluable experience, that not only provided me with exposure to working in the field of education, but also an introduction to navigating the politics involved.

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
Masters degree in Counseling is generally required. I also recommend a variety of management experience, and experience in higher education / student services. My concentration for my counseling degree was career development, so obviously career counseling experience would be recommended. there are a variety of community agencies where one could also gain experience working with clients, such as workforce development / one-stop offices; any organization with a career center, like Goodwill, AWEE, Maximus, Voc rehab. Being connected with those agencies in your area is always a plus for this position.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
Patience, first and foremost; love working with students, passionate about education, management skills, counseling skills, empathy, forecasting and strategic planning, negotiation and influencing skills.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
Minimum of a Masters degree

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Get management experience early and often; be fair and flexible with your staff, peers and students. Building relationships with internal and external stakeholders is key for your department being a success, so have those skills going in, because the other parts of the job can be learned as you go (I know! I’ve done it!)

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
Yes, this is the position I said I eventually wanted when I completed my Masters degree.

What are your current career goals?
I’m in the process of refining my new career goals, since I recently accomplished the current goals. In looking forward, I see myself in a more independent, self-sufficient, entrepreneurial role that includes a combination of teaching college-level courses, working in private counseling practice, and providing training for Global Career Development Facilitators. For me, this also includes a dream of living near the ocean, so hopefully moving to San Diego in the next year.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?
What I try to impart upon our students is that career planning and job readiness skills are skills they will continue to use throughout their lifetime. I wish more people would embrace them this way, so that ideally the process would be less traumatic and stressful for people. I also hope that people will come to realize the value of have counselors to help you through this process, so that people don’t have to feel so alone. It’s a very needed and honorable profession, especially during times of recession and economic uncertainty. We can provide people with hope, and that you cannot put a price tag on.

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

TitleLengthSalaryDescription
Prior Job 1Manager, Career Services2 years65000Represent all 10 Maricopa Community College programs as manatory partner in for Phoenix-area Workforce Development/One-Stop offices. Provide academic advising, job search assistance, conduct workshops on resume writing, interviewing, career pathways, financial aid, etc.
Prior Job 2Career Services Coordinator1.5 years32000Provide career guidance and assistance to university students and alumni, conduct job readiness workshops, act as liaison to academic departments, review career assessment results.

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:3.16

GPASchoolDegree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
3Michigan State UniversityPsychology
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)
3.5Oakland UniversityCounseling/Career Development

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