Napa Virtual Career Academy
Through the generous support of our donors and partners, Napa Valley Education Foundation is able to offer these courses to students at no cost or a highly discounted cost per course.
NVEF covers 100% of the costs for students who attend high school or college in Napa County. Discounted rate of $600 per course available for all others.
Students may drop out at any time; however, we reserve the right to cancel courses with fewer than 10 students. Students who drop before the class begins will receive a full refund. Students who drop after the class has begun do not receive a refund.
This program is targeted at individuals who are at the high school level or beyond. Priority will be given to participants who live, attend school, or work in Napa County.
Participants will have access to highly skilled instructors who are subject matter experts and have teaching experience. The instructors will establish milestones, meet with the student cohort each week, gauge their progress, and help them through each course module.
We recommend that participants have a basic understanding of the computer operating systems (Chrome OS, Mac or Windows), access to a Chromebook or more powerful computer, a high-speed Internet connection, and the Google Chrome internet browser is required for all courses. Adobe courses require a Mac or PC (not a Chromebook). Tablets (including iPad and Android) and smartphones will not work for any of the VCA courses. The courses will vary, but they are generally structured at a beginner level. Participants should have experience using a variety of applications and have a passion for learning new ones! Some courses may have specific prerequisites. See course catalog for details.
The amount of time you invest will vary by course. Each instructor will publish a syllabus and calendar to help you plan. However, you should expect to spend a minimum of four hours per week and a maximum of 10 hours/week for the coursework.
Most of your time will be spent in the provided curriculum outside the weekly Zoom meetings. You will be assigned materials to be viewed during the week that you will review during the check-ins. Instructors are also available for office hours by appointment for help.
The time to complete is totally dependent on the course you select and may take up to 4 months to complete. See details on each course here.
Each instructor will establish a routine for meeting with your cohort on a weekly basis. All communications will take place online and your instructor will work with the members of the cohort to find a time that is best for all.
Instructors will track student progress, including completion of activities and tests. In addition, NVEF staff will provide administrative support and a success coach to monitor the progress of students and help resolve any other issues that might arise.
The Napa Virtual Career Academy is designed to be a 100% online program. There are no in-person meetings planned.
NVEF will host information sessions to help participants explore the courses. Instructors, course materials, and pacing are reviewed during these sessions.
Except for the noted prerequisites, all materials and supplies needed for the course will be included as part of student tuition/scholarships.
NVEF conducted an analysis of the jobs and skills in high demand in the Bay Area, as well as those with good starting salaries. Other courses may be added in the future that fit these criteria.
These courses are indeed challenging, but if you have determination, grit, and a high interest in the subject area you can do it! Since these courses are 100% online, there are high school level reading requirements, videos to review, and projects to complete depending on the course. But be assured, your instructor will always be there to guide you.
Yes! Some certifications take more than one course and we will offer those sequential courses. We are also evaluating other industry-recognized certifications beyond our current curriculum.
By participating in the Virtual Career Academy program, you will become part of a network of individuals who have completed these industry-recognized certification courses. Most of the curriculum business partners provide access to their job boards.
Preparation for the certification exam will vary by person based on their prior experience and facility with taking online exams. NVEF will help by funding test prep and the cost of the exam.
A certificate is awarded for completion of a course, including all assignments and assessments. Badges signify achieving a certain level of proficiency and they can be “stacked” to work toward a certificate. An industry recognized certification is awarded following an advanced level examination that follows rigorous coursework and is delivered through a third-party testing service.
No, it is not a requirement to take a certification exam. Usually, exams are taken in a center and proctored by a third party; however, during these times, examinations have been moved online. Passing an industry-recognized exam opens the door to many well-paying entry-level jobs.
Some testing sites allow the purchase of a voucher that allows for one repeat exam that is valid for one year. NVEF will fund these vouchers.
Most certifications have to be recertified over time due to the changing rate of technology. You should plan on updating your certifications over the course of your career.
Generally, there are no age requirements, but many exams recommend age 13 and above because of the difficulty of the tests.
Exams are very challenging and can take upwards of 90 minutes to complete. Each exam has a minimum pass grade that is different for each course.