Launching careers: Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee offers accounting program
“It has been quite rewarding to help make our sliver of government work a little better,” shares Shanna Entin, CPA, Senior Auditor II at State of Alaska Division of Legislative Audit. Entin is a Sierra College, Tahoe-Truckee alumna who also holds a bachelor’s degree from University of Alaska Fairbanks.
“Not only am I familiar with community college, I am a huge proponent,” shares Entin who is a mentor available to share her experiences and advice with budding accounting professionals. “I tout the benefits of community college to whoever will listen. Smaller class sizes make it easier to develop a relationship with instructors because, frankly, they have time to develop relationships with their students.”
Entin earned an associate degree in accounting from Sierra College where she received a solid foundation for future classes. “I never felt under-prepared,” she shares. She received a job offer from the State of Alaska in her final semester at University of Alaska and has been an auditor in the Legislative Audit division of the Alaska Legislature since graduation.
Entin took business classes with Sierra College professor Kurt Heisinger, CPA, MBA who teaches on campus and online. During the campus’ annual graduation ceremony, students often note that Heisinger is one of the best teachers they have ever had.
“Accounting students come from all walks of life, but a few key qualities are evident in those who succeed,” shares Heisinger. “They are determined, persistent, motivated, organized, and driven. They put in the required work knowing they are investing time now to expand their career opportunities in the future.”
The accounting certificate (seven classes) provides basic skills for entry level bookkeeping and accounting jobs. The certificate also offers students a chance to discover if the associate degree is a fit. “Many employers in the region recognize the skills developed by Sierra College students who have completed the accounting certificate and the additional knowledge gained from the two-year associate degree,” says Heisinger. He explains that not all accounting students are interested in becoming accountants. “Sierra College’s classes help students gain the knowledge they need to be successful in their respective roles. Many want to learn the accounting process and how to interpret accounting information.” Local students have included business owners and managers, nonprofit professionals, government agency board members and special district employees, among others.
In addition to classes, Entin took advantage of opportunities available through the Sierra College’s Tahoe-Truckee campus: she was active in the Business Club and had an internship.
“While I’m good at accounting and I enjoy it, those were not the main reasons I decided to major in accounting,” explains Entin. “That decision was based solely on ROI: I was betting all my assets on a degree and what was going to get me a job when I was done.”
Spring semester begins on Jan. 24, 2022. Heisinger will be teaching Financial Accounting I (BUS 201) on campus from 4:15 to 5:35 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays and Introduction to Business (BUS 260) from 2:45 to 4:05 p.m. on Mondays. Students also find Public Speaking, taught by Rebecca Cobain from 6 to 9:05 p.m. on Wednesdays, relevant to career success. The classes are three credits, and the cost is $46 per credit though many qualify for free or reduced tuition. Tuition is also waived for Academic Enrichment (high school) students. Financial Aid is available.
For details, including step-by-step enrollment guidance, call the Tahoe-Truckee campus at 530-550-2225. Sierra College is located at 11001 College Trail in Truckee.
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