Image: Ryan Snook

NO ONE WILL BLAME YOU for looking at the last 12 months of uncertainty as a nausea-inducing reason to panic, but we see it differently. We prefer to look at it as a chance to rethink our going-nowhere, doing-too-much careers; to reassess our marketable skills; to reprioritize what’s important in our lives. So we’ve knocked down the doors of almost every local institute of higher learning to find educational outlets for all of that rethinking, reassessing, and reprioritizing.

Want a fresh occupational start? (Or forced to look for one?) Need to pick up some new talents to hold on to the job you’ve got? Or just looking for a better way to spend your free time than biting your fingernails? We’ve done your research for you on 25 of the best, most interesting, and most sought-after adult education classes and programs in the area. All you have to do is sharpen your No.2 pencil and sign up. You can thank us later.

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Degree & Certificate Programs

Advanced Practice Nurse Immersion
103 to 111 credits, master’s entry program
Seattle University

DURATION A little more than two years, plus up to a year of prerequisites that may be taken at a community college. TUITION $57,000 to $62,000, although that will likely increase for the 2010-11 academic year; financial aid is available. WHO IT’S FOR Anyone with an undergraduate degree and caregiver tendencies. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN The true meaning of “immersion.” Fly-by-Nightingales need not apply; designed for career changers, the APNI program crams four years of nursing-school know-how (advanced pathophysiology, psychosocial foundations for advanced practice nursing, etc.) into a hardcore, two-year crash course on next-level health care. But there’s a big payoff: Students earn the right to do almost everything a family doctor can, in one-quarter of the time. GETTING STARTED Call 206-296-5660 or visit; the deadline to enroll for the program that begins in June 2010 is December 1.


Emergency Medical Technician
10 credits, certificate program
North Seattle Community College

DURATION Twelve weeks, three days per week, plus a two-day CPR class for those who have yet to be certified. TUITION $715.50. WHO IT’S FOR Superpower-less superheroes, take-charge personalities. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN Whether you can stomach a night in the ER. Saving lives is more than just lugging survivors away from exploding cars in slow motion; it can be gory, too. As part of their training, students in NSCC’s EMT program (the oldest in the state) spend one 10-hour shift at Harborview Medical Center after learning how to assess and treat traumatic injuries in the rigorous boot camp–style program. As heroic-deeds prep work goes, it’s an efficient—albeit jam-packed—curriculum, but graduates can expect to endure a year of on-the-job training once they join a fire department. GETTING STARTED Call 206-528-4568 or visit; the entrance exam for the winter quarter is on November 17.


Nutritional Therapy
certificate program
Seattle Central Community College

DURATION One weekend per month plus weekly conference calls for nine months. TUITION $3,300. WHO IT’S FOR Reformed junk-food addicts, believers in better living through whole foods. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN How to evaluate a malnourished client’s mineral intake with a blood pressure cuff. The functional evaluation (a dietary peek under the patient’s hood) is one of several steps nutritional therapists take in holistically helping unhealthy eaters balance their diets. But this isn’t a glorified ad for the ­USDA’s food pyramid. Graduates of the Olympia-based Nutritional Therapy Association’s proprietary and largely self-directed program guide their clients to a healthy lifestyle through whole foods. GETTING STARTED Call 800-918-9798 or visit; registration for the 2010–11 academic year begins next summer.


Occupational Therapy
master’s program
University of Puget Sound

DURATION Two and a half years, plus up to a year of prerequisites. TUITION $70,930; financial aid is available. WHO IT’S FOR Problem solvers, potential life-changers. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN That rehabbing your life is as important as rehabbing your body. Half of the program’s students are pulling a professional U-turn, searching for emotional connections with clients. GETTING STARTED Call 253-879-3211 or visit­; the 2010 academic year starts next August, but the deadline for applications is January 15.

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Image: Arena.Net

3D Game Design
certificate program
Seattle Central Community College

DURATION About four and a half months. TUITION $1,250. WHO IT’S FOR Hardcore gamers, wannabe architects of virtual worlds. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN How to render a wooden crate so realistic you’ll worry about splinters—and that’s just in the first week. By “design,” they mean “animate,” so this is for digital artists, not programmers. And by “artists,” we mean "artists”: The current instructor at SCCC’s program comes from Bellevue-based ArenaNet (creators of the online world of Guild Wars), so he knows from building animated landscapes. Even better: Teachers will review your postgraduation portfolio and help you land a gig. And there’s nothing fake about that. GETTING STARTED Visit; classes for the winter session start January 5.


certificate program
University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education

DURATION Six months. TUITION $2,700. WHO IT’S FOR Patient peeps who believe in social justice, have a knack for nurturing, and can balance a checkbook. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN How to be an advocate. Like the protective big brothers of the health-care world, certified professional guardians fight for the rights of their incapacitated clients and manage the medical, legal, and financial details of their everyday lives. It’s demanding work, but the program, which ranges from navigating social services to the ethics of acting as a legal proxy, is the most rigorous in the country. GETTING STARTED Call 206-685-8936 or visit; the next program begins in spring 2010.


Alternative Routes to Certification
45 credits, teaching certificate
Seattle Pacific University

DURATION About a year and a half, plus—if necessary—one semester of brush-up courses on subjects like math, science, or English. TUITION $23,250, although that will likely increase for the 2010–11 academic year; financial aid is available. WHO IT’S FOR Anyone who, like Whitney Houston, believes the children are our future. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN That you never stop learning—ever. Tailored to the schedules of career changers who want to make a quick occupational conversion, the full-time ARC program is intense: Five weeks of all-day, on-campus study on subjects like ­educational methodology and classroom management lead directly into nine months of student teaching (along with one night a week of on-campus study). The work is worth it, though. You’ll be ready to commandeer a classroom in 12 months, and with about two more quarters of work you’ll earn a master’s in teaching. GETTING STARTED Visit; the application deadline for the 2010 program is February 14.

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Wine Making
60 credits, certificate program
South Seattle Community College

DURATION About two years, part time, including an internship. TUITION $3,500 to $5,800. WHO IT’S FOR Wannabe winery employees, DIY drinkers. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN A lot more about algebra and chemistry than you’d think. Measuring sugar and acid content in grapes (among other fermentation formulas) is a science, so a thorough understanding of numbers-based procedures is a must. But making vino isn’t all lab coats and beakers: After intro classes on wines of the world and viticulture, you’ll get to produce your own vintage, from picking grapes to bottling. GETTING STARTED Call 206-764-7942 or visit But sign up soon; although you can still enroll in intro classes for the winter quarter that begins January 4, the waiting list for production classes already stretches to 2011.


Professional Massage Therapy
56.5 credits, diploma program

Cortiva Institute

DURATION Nine months. TUITION $11,200; financial aid is available. WHO IT’S FOR Hopeful healers, burned-out cubicle drones in search of human interaction. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN The real meaning of “hands-on experience.” After note-jotting lecture classes on anatomy, physiology, and pathology, students not only work with each other to stretch and massage the muscles they just studied, they also knead knots out of clients at Cortiva’s public massage clinic. The institute even coaches grads on how to launch a business, but the biggest lesson is in how to effect positive change in the lives of others. GETTING STARTED Call 206-282-1233 or visit ­; fall quarter starts October 5, and winter quarter starts January 11.


Sustainable Business
15 credits, certificate program
City University

DURATION Four and a half to 14 months. TUITION $8,832; financial aid is available. WHO IT’S FOR Green-leaning business leaders, eco-savvy corporate climbers. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN That today’s bottom line is equal parts profit, people, and planet. If businesses want to go green (and grow good PR), they need shepherds of good stewardship who know where to start and how to market their earth-friendly approach. (In other words, sustainability equals job opportunities.) CityU’s new program, which can be rolled into a full MBA, focuses on everything from understanding carbon credits to analyzing sustainable business plans. GETTING STARTED Call 888-422-4898 or visit; the winter quarter starts January 1.

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Image: Ryan Snook

Personal Enrichment

Aerial Dance on Trapeze
South Seattle Community College

DURATION Once a week for four weeks. CLASS FEE $75. WHO IT’S FOR Interpretative dancers, been-there-done-that gym rats. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN That you don’t have to leave your feet to fly. Disclaimer: This isn’t a class for hopeful circus performers. Instead of high-flying acrobatics, students grip a trapeze bar that hangs just five feet off the ground and run, jump, and twist their way through improvisational (and dramatic) dance moves. But they do get to sit on that apparatus of expression—and hang from it by the backs of their knees—because what’s dance if it ain’t got that swing? GETTING STARTED Visit to register; classes begin November 1. 


Birds of Puget Sound
Seattle Audubon Society

DURATION Four four-hour classes (including field trips) on consecutive Sundays. CLASS FEE $80 for members, $95 for nonmembers. WHO IT’S FOR Budding birders; owners of underused, overpriced binoculars. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN How to tell a red-breasted sapsucker from a marbled ­murrelet. Unlike most of Seattle Audubon’s classes, the four-week ornithological tour of the Sound’s avian species is designed for the neophyte naturalist. On field trips timed to spy winter species as they return to bird magnets like Discovery Park and Juanita Bay, students will wing through the basics of identification, habitats, and etiquette. (Hint: Keep it down so your fellow explorers can hear the songbirds.) GETTING STARTED Call 206-523-4483 or visit; the course begins October 25.


Beginning Figure Drawing
Gage Academy of Art

DURATION One night a week for 10 weeks. CLASS FEE $450. WHO IT’S FOR Doodlers sick of drawing stick figures, sentimental types who think photos are too impersonal. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN That you don’t need a computer to draw in 3D. Instructors don’t spend much time lecturing about the art of drawing the human form—they know you’re there to, you know, draw —but they do dish out need-to-know insight on shading and light that can turn flat facsimiles into full-figured portraits. It’s a fun, charcoal-and-lead-smudged environment, but it’s for serious sketchers—and mature adults who can share a room with live nude models. GETTING STARTED Register at; winter quarter classes begin January 22.

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Image: Sarah Hunt

Cooking and Entertaining
Diane’s Market Kitchen

DURATION One three- to four-hour session, hosted on Sundays. CLASS FEE $125. WHO IT’S FOR Kitchen klutzes, up-and-coming Paula Deens. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN That to make great food, all you need is great ingredients. Pike Place Market maven Diane LaVonne’s most popular class has a cook-by-the-seat-of-her-white-chef’s-pants vibe, but all of her students are guaranteed three things: They’ll taste something new, have an aha moment (did you know that pimientos were just roasted red peppers?), and leave feeling better than they did when they got there. After a behind-the-counter tour of the Market that demonstrates Seattle’s bounty of local purveyors, LaVonne serves up a “little of this, little of that” hands-on cooking demonstration. Come hungry. GETTING STARTED Call 206-624-6114 or visit


Keeping Chickens in the City
Seattle Free School

DURATION Two hours. WHO IT’S FOR Urban farmers; fans of free knowledge, no matter how quirky. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN That the chicken is a low-maintenance bird—if you can keep the coyotes at bay. This free course in fowl fundamentals is more “how to get started” and less “everything you ever needed to know.” It’s a laid-back educational environment that favors a mind-share approach, so experienced chicken wranglers offer advice on how to build a coop, where to get feed, and whether to start with chicks or adult chickens. GETTING STARTED Visit for dates and locations.


Glassblowing 1
Pratt Fine Arts Center

DURATION One day a week for eight weeks. CLASS FEE $621 for members, $690 for nonmembers. WHO IT’S FOR Lovers of functional art, those who like it hot. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN How to blow unpoppable bubbles. Surely you’ve heard of that local frizzy-haired, glass-wrangling dude named Dale. Then it’s safe to assume you know that learning to sculpt that most fragile of mediums is practically a right of passage in Seattle. But did you know that Pratt is the place to do it? Not only do you get four hours of practice time per session, but the nonjudgmental instructors focus on how to mold glass and not what to make. What fun is art if you’re designing someone else’s dream? GETTING STARTED Call 206-328-2200 or visit; the winter quarter begins December 6.


The Body Toxic
Bastyr University

DURATION Two hours (October 3). CLASS FEE $59. WHO IT’S FOR Consumer advocates, packaging purists. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN How your couch plans to kill you. Based on her book by the same name, Nena Baker’s seminar uncovers hormone-disrupting nasties like the bisphenol A in plastic bottles and flame retardants in furniture. Rather than fear-mongering, she wants to teach you how to avoid these beaker-born sources of bad mojo and how you can influence companies to stop using them. And she may be on to something: Bisphenol A wasn’t outlawed by any U.S. federal agency, but public outcry forced Nalgene to modify the plastic in its bottles last year. GETTING STARTED Visit to reserve a seat.

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Beginning Jewelry Fabrication
North Seattle Community College

DURATION One day a week for two months. TUITION $225. WHO IT’S FOR Beading enthusiasts, lovers of sparkly things, closet creatives who’ve never had an outlet. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN The powerful catharsis of smacking a hammer and anvil together. Actually, jewelry making isn’t quite so brutish, but you do get to swing some tools. The key is mastering the art of working small—and with both hands: You’ll cut, shape, and texture materials (which—slight bummer—you provide), and by the end of course, the tangible results of your ambidextrous tinkerings will be dangling from your ears and wrists. Never shop at Zales again! GETTING STARTED Visit; sessions start October 1 & 17.


Dark and Stormy Nights
Shoreline Community College

DURATION Three three-hour classes, including a trip to a purportedly haunted building in Port Gamble. CLASS FEE $79. WHO IT’S FOR Believers, skeptics, marginalized ghost whisperers. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN That there’s no such thing as a handheld ghost meter. Neil McNeill, a 15-year specter inspector, takes a scientific approach to paranormal police work: He’ll lay out the facts, teach you how to uncover evidence of apparitions, and then take you on a haunted hunt. GETTING STARTED Call 206-533-6700 or visit; classes start October 17.


Bike Maintenance
Gregg’s Cycles

DURATION One day a week for four weeks. CLASS FEE $125. WHO IT’S FOR Spandex-­sporting gearheads, occasional pedalers, mechanics who try to fix everything with oil and duct tape. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN Zen and the art of bicycle maintenance. Actually, you’ll get a copy of Zinn and the Art of Road Bike Maintenance, by Lennard Zinn, to go along with tune-up tutorials on fixing a flat, tightening your brakes, and adjusting your derailleur. (You’ll learn what a derailleur is, too.) Bring tools (you’ll get a list of 13 gadgets to pack, like Allen wrenches and cable cutters), your bike, and some Lava soap. This is 10-speed, hands-on education, and the only way to learn is to get greasy. GETTING STARTED Call 206-523-1822; classes begin in January.

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Image: Ryan Snook

Professional Growth

16 continuing education units, certificate program
Antioch University Seattle

DURATION Twelve to 18 months, including a six-month practicum. TUITION $9,400. WHO IT’S FOR Born leaders, change agents. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN The benefit of starting questions with “how” instead of “why.” Management is all about mentoring these days: “Empower your team to take action and set and achieve goals,” say the people at Antioch, who partner with Edmonds-based Invite Change to offer this coach-training program that teaches managers to put the responsibility for effecting personal change back on their employees. Spread over six classes that include intensive weekend-long seminars and weekly telecourses, the program’s interactive approach is all about inspiring improvement. GETTING STARTED Call 425-778-3505 or visit; the first course in the program, Living Your Vision, begins October 1.


Solar Electric Design and Applications
Shoreline Community College

DURATION One month. TUITION $400. WHO IT’S FOR Techno-­hippies, enviro-friendly electricians. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN How to harness the power of the sun for fun and profit. Maybe you’ve heard about this “renewable energy” movement that’s all the rage these days. Trendsetters that they are, the folks at SCC have, too, so they thought some enterprising electricians might want to grab a piece of the sun-powered pie and learn how to design and install solar systems. They got the director of the Northwest Solar Center to head up the program, and then—get this—not only did the electricians show up, but homeowners in search of a life without utility bills did, too. This thing might just have legs. GETTING STARTED call 206-546-5835 or visit; winter quarter starts October 23.

iPhone and Cocoa Development
University of Washington Professional and Continuing Education

DURATION About eight months. TUITION $2,115. WHO IT’S FOR Code monkeys, members of the Apple cult, anyone with an idea for building a better 3G mousetrap. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN How to “customize and extend the Xcode development environment to incorporate external libraries, multicomponent applications, localization, build automation, source code management, and custom GUI tools.” Okay…so it’s a tech-heavy program for the tech-heavy programmer, but if you know the difference between key-value coding and key-value observation, it’s your best bet for cashing in on the lucrative app market. Plus, you’ll learn from Chris Parrish, whose company, Rogue Sheep, won an Apple Design Award for its digital postcard app, Postage. GETTING STARTED Call 206-685-8936 or visit; the fall program started in September, but the school may offer one this winter.

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Marketing Your Business with Social Media
South Seattle Community College

DURATION Two and a half hours (October 14). CLASS FEE $39. WHO IT’S FOR Tentative tweeters, fearful Facebookers, sorry souls who still think MySpace is hip. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN That proper business etiquette frowns upon “poking” your clients. Social media sites are just for kids, so how useful could they be for business owners, what with their capability for free information dissemination to a targeted audience of web-savvy consumers with considerable buying power? Yeah, you don’t want to learn anything about that, or about which free service is the best for attracting new clients. You should skip this course and go to the one about fax-based marketing instead. GETTING STARTED Visit


Human Resources Management
Bellevue College

DURATION About nine months. TUITION $2,500. WHO IT’S FOR De facto HR reps without official training, frustrated cat herders. WHAT YOU’LL LEARN That people are strange, whether or not you’re a stranger. Placating personnel and solving ethical dilemmas is sticky stuff, and if you got stuck doing it despite never having gone to school to learn how, on-the-job training can be a dicey proposition. Lo, you can go to night school and snag some skills in conflict resolution. GETTING STARTED Call 425-564-3172 or visit; new classes begin almost every week.

This article appeared in the October 2009 issue of Seattle Met Magazine.

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