Acceptance Page Banner

CNCC Launches New Cybersecurity Program

Crime Fighters Wanted – CNCC Launches New Cybersecurity Program

It seems every week we hear about another company being hacked or some new internet scam. Attacks on the nation’s critical computer infrastructure are increasing in both number and severity. Cybercrimes such as identity theft, phishing, and ransomware attacks have affected or will affect nearly all businesses and individuals on some level.

“Every day, more of our lives move online. Whether it’s our appliances, our vehicles, or our election systems, we increasingly blur our digital and physical realities. This can bring dramatic increases in productivity and efficiency, but it also introduces dramatic new risks,” states a new report on the top 10 in demand cyber skills released May 2021 by Burning Glass.

Now more than ever, individuals, companies, and government agencies need help to protect networks and sensitive information. Colorado Northwestern Community College is now ready to join the fight against cybercriminals starting fall 2021 with the launch of the new Cybersecurity Program. The Cybersecurity Program will arm students with the skills needed to combat the growing threat of cybercrime while opening doors to a high-paying career field.

Careers in Cybersecurity Ranked Some of the Best in Tech

Cyber Blog6

For individuals with cybersecurity skills the future looks very bright. According to The US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ outlook for Information Security Analysts, cybersecurity jobs are among the fastest-growing career areas nationally. The BLS predicts cybersecurity jobs will grow 31 percent through 2029, over seven times faster than the national average job growth of 4 percent.

Internationally, The New York Times recently estimated a need for 3.5 million cybersecurity professionals making it one of the fastest growing global career paths.

The profession offers a high-paid option to traditional employment opportunities. My Colorado Journey has mapped cyber career paths in Colorado that start with entry level jobs earning about $18 per hour, to advanced jobs for people with Masters degrees earning hundreds of thousands per year.

With the new Cybersecurity program at CNCC, students will now be able to take advantage of this growing career field and its financial benefits. However, building the Cybersecurity program at CNCC would not have happened as quickly as it has without support from local business and government agencies.

Building for the Future

Cyber Blog3

Development of CNCC’s new Cybersecurity Program began in early 2020 when Colorado’s Department of Law, under the direction of Attorney General Phil Weiser, recognized the increasing need for cybersecurity experts and awarded CNCC a $500,000 grant to support the creation of a new cybersecurity program.

Colorado Northwestern went straight to work setting up a Business Industry Leadership Team (BILT) comprised of people involved in cybersecurity at local, regional and state levels. The team was established to help advise the college on the skills, knowledge and abilities most desired in the profession. Additionally, the team helped to determine the equipment and software needed for learning labs.

“The need for cybersecurity professionals continues to grow, offering opportunities to work locally and also remotely. It’s our role to advise the college so that the program aligns with industry needs to ensure students that graduate from the program are ready to enter the workforce,” said Tim Osborn, chair of the Cybersecurity BILT Advisory Board and Operations Manager for the Craig Station.   

For the program to be successful, it needed a strong leader. In November 2020 CNCC found that leader in Dr. Rodney Alexander. He quickly established the college as a CISCO Networking Academy while setting-up dedicated computer labs, and settling into life in Craig, Colorado.

“Dr. Alexander joins us from Hutchinson Community College in Kansas where he was teaching networking and cybersecurity after a long career with the Department of Defense that began when he served in the military,” said Ron Granger, CNCC President.

Earlier this month the program cleared its last major hurdle when The Higher Learning Commission approved accreditation for CNCC’s Cybersecurity program. It will join the list of academic programs available to students who choose Colorado Northwestern Community College in fall 2021.

“We’re on-track with our plans to hold the first classes in Craig in the fall of 2021 and we’re grateful for the hard work of Dr. Alexander, our BILT advisory board, Attorney General Weiser, and the community for their outstanding support,” said Keith Peterson, CNCC Vice President of Instruction.  

Coal Miners to Coders

Cyber Blog5

Northwest Colorado is currently preparing to transition away from coal mining. It will not however, be the first region to turn to the high tech sector in a transition from coal. The Appalachian region saw a similar transition about a decade ago with the growth of companies like Bitsource in Pikeville Kentucky.

Cybersecurity provides workers a high-demand, high-paying alternative to working in coal mining that would allow them to maintain their current lifestyle without necessarily having to relocate.

“We’re a region filled with practical inventors, accidental entrepreneurs, makers and doers that use their skills to get their work done. When we reimagine that work in another context, it’s not so hard to believe that some coal miners will have what it takes to be the coders and cybersecurity professionals of the future,” said Kathy Powell-Case, Dean of Career Technical Education for the Craig campus.

Moffat County residents can also take advantage of CNCC’s In-District Tuition Assistance. Through the CNCC’s local advisory board, many people that currently are employed by the mines could apply and qualify for a tuition waiver would cover nearly all the tuition cost for the program. Additionally, classes will be taught during the day and in the evenings increasing availability for mineworkers.

Designed With the Modern Student in Mind

Cyber Blog4

CNCC’s program will begin in the fall with four core classes -- Networking Fundamentals, Principals of Information Assurance, Network Security Fundamentals and Fire Walls/Network Security.

“Our Cybersecurity program will offer students the opportunity to receive one or more college certificates; their Associate of Applied Science and several industry recognized credentials for one of the most in-demand and highest paying tech sectors in the nation,” said Granger. 

Thanks to the help of the BILT, the program is tightly aligned with industry requirements. Students can earn a two-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Computer and Information Security while simultaneously earning a Network and Security certificate, Cybersecurity certificate, and for most classes, an industry-recognized certificate such as CompTIA Industry Network+, Security+ or Linux+ at a big discount.

“Industry recognized credentials will be earned for about half the price of other options,” Alexander said. “That alone can save students hundreds of dollars.”

Cybercrimes are requiring an increasing number of professionals to add essential cybersecurity skills to their existing qualifications, therefore students are anticipated to include traditional learners entering from high school to career changers and existing professionals such as attorneys, bankers, and those responsible for securing hospital and government records.

Those looking to change careers and/or who have prior experience can reduce cost and shorten their educational timeline by earning credit for prior learning and certificates they may have.

In the spring, the college expects its cyber range – a purpose built environment to test and defend computer systems from simulated attacks – to be ready to offer existing IT professionals and students the opportunity to hone their cybersecurity skills.

Outside the classroom, Dr. Alexander plans to help raise awareness and education around cybercrimes. Beginning this summer CNCC will also offer a summer cyber warriors boot camp to middle and high school aged kids. The camp is designed increase interest and excitement in cybersecurity and provide participants core cybersecurity and networking skills. This year’s camp is scheduled for June 16, 2021, and thanks to a generous member of the college foundation board, the first 20 kids to enroll will have their registration fee waived.

Additional work based learning and opportunities to participate in cyber competitions will be introduced as the program grows.

To learn more about Colorado Northwestern’s Cybersecurity program or to register for classes visit

Published May 24, 2021

At CNCC, it's Everyone's Business

At CNCC, it’s everyone’s Business

From graduating seniors determining the next step in their educational paths to adult learners exploring ways to better support their families and businesses, the CNCC Business Program offers something for everyone.

A variety of options to meet different needs

Blog BUS3

Colorado Northwestern offers three distinct business pathways that revolve around the students end goals. Students looking to continue their education after completing an associate’s degree, CNCC offers the Associate of Arts (AA) in Business degree and the Associates of Arts (AA) in Economics. Both options are designed for students looking to pursue advanced degrees, and thanks to Colorado’s Bridge to Bachelors program, credits are guaranteed to transfer to public colleges and universities in Colorado. The required courses provide a great foundation for pursuing additional higher education degrees and can save students thousands of dollars in tuition cost compared to starting at a four-year institution.

For those looking to complete a degree quickly and enter the workforce, CNCC offers the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) – Business and the Associates of Applied Science – Accounting degrees. The Business degree gives you the business, management and marketing skills necessary for success in entry-level positions requiring foundations of greater responsibility, authority and leadership. The Accounting degree provide students with the training they need to work as bookkeepers, accounts receivable or payable clerks, and other entry-level positions in business.

Working professionals and students in other degree programs looking to stand out in the job market can benefit from the occupational business certificates at CNCC. With options in Business Management and Accounting, certificates provide the foundational skills needed to manage your own business and/or handle basic accounting needs. Either certificate can be completed in as little as nine months making them a quick way to improve business efficiency or set yourself apart from others in the job market.

Delivering Skills for Success

CNCC’s Business programs focus on the critical thinking, human relation, and IT skills required to succeed in today’s business environments. Students who complete the business degrees are viewed by potential employers as having the broad-based education necessary for today’s team-oriented and globally-competitive environment.

Accounting skills are a huge advantage in today’s business landscape. The accounting field is broad and employment possibilities range from retail sales to management, manufacturing, and even health professions.

Additionally, Colorado Northwestern’s business programs help prepare students for success in more nontraditional ways. For example, most of CNCC’s business courses are offered online with a group (cohort) of students in the same program. That provides students with the flexibility to join each class online live, and interact with the instructor, classmates and the material remotely. Becoming comfortable working online while in the college, can payoff big once in a professional environment.

“With quality instruction provided through a variety of class formats including online and remote classrooms, anyone can access a high-demand, versatile degree with high earning potential at CNCC,” says Kathy Powell-Case, Dean of Career and Technical Education on the Craig campus and Business Faculty.


Brittany Young, CNCC alum, completed her AA in Business then transferred to Colorado Mesa University to complete her bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management. “The relationships you build with your instructors because of the small class size really helped me to start my career,” Young explains. It was a relationship she built while a student at CNCC that led to her first post-college job. Young also touts how easy the process of transferring from CNCC to CMU was for her and how it saved her both money and time to earn her degree.

Blog BUS1

Nikki Robinson, a current CNCC Business student, is pursuing an AAS degree in accounting. A nontraditional student, she decided to pursue classes in support of her new business. “Owning your own business, you don’t get to do just what you love all of the time. Numbers, math, bookkeeping are a big part of it,” Robinson says. “I’m finding that it is more cost effective to learn to do my accounting myself.”

Blog BUS2

Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook projects growth of 5% for employment in business and financial occupations between 2019 and 2029. This is better growth than the average for all occupations. A degree in business opens up opportunities in a variety of sectors including business management, human resources, marketing, banking, finance, public administration, accounting and sales. If you are motivated by versatility and options, a career in business may be for you.

To learn more about how the business program at Colorado Northwestern Community College can equip you with the skills you need to launch your career in the field, visit our business program page.

Published March 16, 2021.

School for Mechanics: Gearing Up On the Latest Auto Repair Technology

School for Mechanics: Gearing Up On the Latest Auto Repair Technology

In the rapidly changing automotive world, one thing remains the same. You still need a good mechanic to fix your car it when it breaks down. That is where CNCC’s Dale Updike comes in. As lead teacher and program head of the automotive program at Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC), Updike is passionate about sharing his over 40 years of experience as an automotive technician with the next generation of student mechanics.

“Whether you are a natural-born mechanic or want to learn to be one, you’ll get under the hood and find the training you need in CNCC’s auto technology program.” says Updike “One of the first questions I ask is, how passionate are you about cars? They might be an import sports car fan, they might be all about the Chevy, Dodge or Ford — but the one thing they all have in common is their desire to get under the hood and learn everything about repairing and maintaining a vehicle. Before I ever hand them the ratchet, I ask what it is and if they’re interested in using this for the rest of their career.”

School for Mechanics — Automotive Programs

Blog Auto6

While building monster trucks, fine-tuning a Nascar engine, or racing in the NHRA may not be on your agenda just yet, CNCC’s program is designed to equip you with the skills to tackle just about every other auto technology job. The automotive program at CNCC’s school for mechanics is divided into three ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) certified training program options.

“We have a 27-credit Maintenance and Light Repair (MLR) program for our first-year students,” says Updike. “It's one fall and  spring semester of courses. This is a NATEF (National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation) accredited program that puts a student out there into the industry as an entry-level technician.”

According to Updike, while some students will take the opportunity to enter the workforce after one year in the program, most elect to benefit from entering into the second year Automotive Service Technician (AST) program.

“This builds on the first year, accruing a total of 52 credits,” says Updike. “At the end of the program, a student will be in the position to hold down just about any job in a shop.”

The next level of training is the Master Automotive Service Technician (MAST) certificate which is a 19-credit program. The MAST certificate is designed for students looking to enter the industry in a more senior position with customer-facing and team management responsibilities.

“On top of that we offer an Associate of Applied Science degree (AAS),” says Updike. “That option stacks all three of these certificates together and adds 15 credits of general education classes, including public speaking, English, computers, math, and business. The student can then graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology.”

Hands-on Experience

Auto BlogB

Throughout the auto repair technology programs, a student’s time is divided equally between the classroom and the shop. The emphasis is always on delivering practical, workplace-ready experience.

“In the first-year program, we have a lab experience class where each week the students actually do ‘live’ automotive customer repairs,” says Updike. “Students learn to check on the online resources as to what the repairs are, the allotted book time for the labor rate, and whether they can actually meet the time shown if they were working flat rate.”

As well as providing students with hands-on experience in diagnosing and repairing problems, the class also gives them a solid understanding of customer service skills.

“A professional technician has to be able to speak with the customer to get all the information they need about the problem and they must be mindful of how they treat a customer's vehicle,” says Updike. “You don't leave greasy handprints on the steering wheel or floor mats. We always teach our students that when they do a repair, the worn parts go back in the box and are placed by the shop walk-in door to show all customers what was replaced and why, so that the customer knows exactly what they received for the service.”


It's not just the quality of education and comprehensive training that makes CNCC stand out as an excellent place to study auto repair technology.

“We've got great industry support,” says Updike. “We have three automotive dealerships here in Craig, Colorado and more in the surrounding area plus independent shops. They all support us.”

In addition to the excellent training and support that come with CNCC’s educational options, Updike also highlights the spectacular outdoor and leisure opportunities available to students in the local area.

“We have all of the natural resources that students going to classes in metropolitan areas can only dream of,” says Updike. “Whether you're a fisherman, skier, mountain biker, hiker or dirt biker, we’ve got it all right on our doorstep.”

Career Opportunities

Blog Auto5

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for automotive service technicians and mechanics is currently $40,710 with good opportunities spread throughout the United States. In Colorado, the annual median wage is slightly higher, ranging from $45,780-$59,350. According to the BLS, job opportunities for qualified technicians will continue to be very good. CNCC’s Dale Updike concurs.

“Job prospects are great,” says Updike. “With an increasing number of vehicles on the road, the industry is facing a shortfall of trained mechanics. If you want to work in the industry and put yourself through trade school to become a mechanic, there will be a lot of opportunities for you at the end of your study.” In fact, CNCC currently has dealerships and employers calling and emailing the school looking to hire automotive students the moment they have completed their training and ASE certification.

Learn More

To learn more about CNCC’s Automotive Technology AAS and certificate programs or to apply, please visit the program page on our website.

Published February 12, 2021

CNCC Dental Hygiene

Beyond Cleaning Teeth: The Clinical Skills Dental Hygienists Learn In Training


Stainless steel scalers. Tiny mirrors. Floss. When you think of the tools of the trade, it’s clear dental hygiene is, literally, a hands-on career. While you may associate a dental hygienist most often with your regularly scheduled teeth cleaning appointment, when these professionals complete their clinical training programs, they leave equipped with an entire range of other technical and interpersonal skills.  

Communication Skills for Dental Hygienists

Dental Hygiene Image 1

Dental hygienists work closely with patients, so establishing trust and rapport is important. Good communication contributes to those positive relationships, and students can develop those interpersonal skills during training in a number of ways. 

Tiffany Douglas, dental hygiene program director at Colorado Northwestern Community College, says patient education, such as discussing home care techniques, is a vital component of the program’s training curriculum. 

“The interaction between hygienist and patient is first discussed in class, followed by classroom demonstrations. Students then practice interacting with one another in a clinical setting, she explains. “Soon, they are interacting with patients under the supervision of an instructor.”

She adds that, in order to foster a good patient relationship, clinic hours are designed to allow students adequate time to discuss their patients’ specific needs. 

Learning to work with patients of all ages and backgrounds in dental hygiene school prepares students for the diverse population and age demographics they’ll encounter in the real world of patient care. Douglas says the clinical experience at CNCC provides first-hand experience with patients of all kinds, while at the same time also providing a valuable service to the local community. 

“We have the privilege of school-aged children visiting our clinic twice a week for 10 weeks,” she says. “This provides the students with an excellent beginning to their clinical career.” And it provides these children with much-needed dental health care. 

During their second year, CNCC dental hygiene students provide dental care to minimum-security inmates during weekly clinics. “This offers a wide range of oral health and unique dental hygiene situations for the students to learn,” says Douglas. 

Communication is also pivotal in a collaborative environment like a dental practice. CNCC’s dental clinical training offers an outside-the-classroom experience to foster important teamwork skills. At CNCC, it’s an experience you wouldn’t normally associate with a dental hygiene program — a ropes challenge course. It’s yet another benefit of attending an outdoorsy college.

“We believe in fun outside of the classroom,” Douglas explains. “We also visit the national park for a team-building hike or to enjoy a day at the lake.” 

Clinical Skills for Dental Hygienists

Dental Hygiene Image 2

The role of a hygienist goes beyond the all-important teeth cleaning. While in dental hygienist school, students prepare to perform a variety of hands-on tasks such as taking vitals, performing oral cancer screenings, and taking x-rays. Advances in technology mean that the dental hygiene curriculum also needs to keep pace with a changing profession. For instance, CNCC’s program requires students to learn how to take both traditional film x-rays and digital x-rays, as well as  how to operate oral cameras. 

“As technology continues to advance, we feel it is important for our students to be educated with the most current products,” she says. “We have five digital intraoral cameras the students use regularly to show patients what they are not able to see in their own mouths.”

Students at CNCC also have access to a laser certification course, adding another clinical skill to their toolbox. Lasers are used in dentistry for a variety of tasks, including removing decay from teeth, bacteria from gums, or lesions in the mouth. Lasers are also used in teeth-whitening procedures. 

Douglas says CNCC’s dental hygiene program also covers advanced cleaning and care procedures, such as air polishing, ultrasonic cleaning, and local antibiotic placement (to help treat gum disease). 

Adding More Skills to the Dental Hygiene Focus

Recording patient data is crucial to the dental care process. Douglas says at CNCC, like at most clinics and practices today, records are digital. “We train students to use dental software for record-keeping, x-rays and dental charting,” she explains. 

Dental hygiene plays an important role in overall health. So, aside from offering homecare instructions or giving general information about proper dental care, hygienists are also trained to offer more specialized patient education, such as nutrition or smoking cessation counseling.   

Making an Impact on Patient Health and Well-Being

Dental Hygiene Image 3

Dental hygienists are important members of a health care team and they graduate from their training programs armed with a range of technical, communication, and clinical skills. In practice, these skills make a difference in patients’ lives, and this makes for a rewarding career. 

“As you reach out and touch the lives of your patients and bring them greater happiness and less pain and embarrassment of their teeth,  you grow as a person,” says Douglas. “There will continually be a demand for caring, hardworking individuals who have a desire to help others.”

To learn more about how the dental hygiene program at Colorado Northwestern Community College can equip you with the clinical skills you need to launch your career in the field, visit our dental hygiene program page.

Published January 19th, 2021

Grow into a Career in Agriculture or Equine Studies

Grow into a Career in Agriculture or Equine Studies

CNCC sits in the heart of rural agriculture and western culture. With the agriculture and equine program, we try to utilize aspects of this environment in the classroom. Here, you can choose to between two different agriculture related degrees, and three equine degrees. The agriculture degrees include; Associate of Science in Agriculture Business and an Associate of Science in Animal Science. Both of these degrees are fully transferable to Colorado State University, and have common transferability to land grant institutions where these degrees could transfer to the bachelor’s level. The equine degrees include; Associate of Science in Equine Science, Associate of Applied Science in Equine Training and Management, and the Associate of Applied Science in Equine Studies and Management. The agriculture program also offers a certificate in Agriculture Science that covers general introductory level agriculture courses.

Real World Meets Classroom

Ag Equine Blog 3

With these degrees, we strive to have real world meet the classroom. Often times, on the agriculture side, we take short local field trips to visit with producers, or agriculture businesses about their operation and what they do. Our instructors LOVE integrating projects into the classroom that fit with what students are learning. Some recent projects have included; performing a feed trial with chicks looking at the effectiveness of chicken feed with antibiotics, vs. without antibiotics creating the break-even analysis for various projects in; farm and ranch management; a digestibility study on different feeds; evaluating animal weight gain with different feeds; creating a business and marketing plan for an animal operation and more! We work to make the things the students are learning in the classroom relevant and encourage them to participate with their personal examples and/or problems they may be running into. Classes in this degree are broad, but cover economics, world food impact, general animal science courses like feeds and feeding, live animal and carcass evaluation, etc, and general business classes such as farm and ranch management, agriculture marketing, or agriculture finance.

“Opportunities to work in the arena, the animal pens or the field allows our students to apply what they are learning” stated Carrie Olsen, a CNCC Equine and Agriculture Instructor. “This hands-on experience prepares them for real life problem solving on the job.”

Ag Equine Blog 1

This similar philosophy on teaching carries over to the equine side as well. Both degrees in equine require riding/equitation classes that help students learn about riding and how to become a better rider, how to work with the horse to get them to listen and respond to the cues. The training degree focusses on students working with and training horses – and you can bring your OWN horse to college! Many students who have personal horses, or have the ability to get horses, are allowed to use their horse in the program if it meets the course requirements for horses. But don’t worry if you don’t have one – we will work with you to find one that fits your skill level, and/or the training aspects of the class. The lecture classes cover topics like management, evaluation, health, and production. The major riding discipline taught is western – however, in some classes we do integrate English riding and/or concepts if applicable. Additionally, depending on the group of students, we are not opposed to seeing how we can offer what you are truly interested in creating that personalized educational experience for you!

Exciting Highlights

  • We have a low instructor to student ratio – both programs often have 5-10 students in majority of the classes.
  • Our instructors are the BEST! They put in countless hours of their time to work with students on their coursework. This could be at the barn, or in the classroom. They truly want to see all students succeed, and a student’s success is really in their own hands. Our instructors will help turn their goals into reality.
  • You can bring your horse to college with you! Even if you do not use your personal horse in a class, you can still bring it and house it at the same facility where we offer our equine classes.

Student Background

Ag Equine Blog 4

We have seen a variety of students come through our programs – some were interested, but didn’t have personal experience in it, and others have been in the industry since they were young. Typically, the type of student that is successful includes:

1) Someone who is interested in the field (i.e. animal sciences, agriculture business, or equine) and can apply of what they are learning to their personal life

2) Students who love to be OUTDOORS! The CNCC campus is located next to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land – so students have Mother Nature as their playground. Equine students often do trail rides right from where their horses are stabled to public land, and our animal science will run into ranchers who hold BLM grazing permits when out and about. Hunting, biking, hiking, swimming (did I mention we have a lake?), etc. are all possible at CNCC;

Meghan Davis, Career and Technical Education Dean at CNCC put it this way, “Western Colorado has so much to offer, students just need to get out and explore. There is a ton to do here, you just have to get out of your dorm! ”

3) Students who love the small rural town feel. We are a small community, not only at CNCC, but also ‘down town’. Every student handles this differently, but majority love how quickly they become integrated into the community

4) Someone who wants to experience a reasonably customized learning experience. We work hard to ensure all our students are succeeding in their designated degree. We will check in as much as needed, help students whenever, and celebrate with them on their successes!  

Your Next Steps

Ag Equine Blog 6

The opportunities are endless on what you can learn, you just have to keep an open mind and engage in your material. Take charge of your education today by reviewing our program information here.

Feel free to reach out to our recruiters by contacting them to schedule a visit.

Talk to our faculty members – feel free to give This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. a call or drop an email. She will be happy to visit with you!

We hope to see you soon on campus!

Published 12/15/2020

More Than Sunny Skies and Open Air: The Skills You'll Learn In Flight School

More Than Sunny Skies and Open Air: The Skills You'll Learn In Flight School

CNCC’s David Boles is used to the sound of a roaring jet engine. His high-flying career in aviation has taken him around the world as a commercial airline pilot and flight instructor — but it was a very different kind of sound that brought this pilot back home to the United States.

“I’d been doing contract work in the Middle East for around 10 years when my wife became pregnant,” says Boles. “I came back from Saudi Arabia for the birth of my daughter and had all intentions of going back — but after I heard my daughter’s first cry, I decided that it was time for a change!”

Boles decided that he wanted to find a job where he could make a difference and raise his family a little closer to home.

“On my flight back to Saudi Arabia, I pulled out my computer and started looking for a job,” says Boles. “By the time I landed, I had an interview set up here at Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC). I took the job and have been here ever since.”

Pilot Training: From High School to Flight SchoolAVT Blog Image6

As the program director for the Aviation Technology Flight program at CNCC, Boles is still motivated by the sound of aircraft engines as he takes young aspiring flyers and molds them into professional pilots. He admits that this is usually quite a big transformation.

“When you look at a freshman class coming in, it's hard to imagine any of them flying for a major airline,” says Boles. “By the time they are done, you can point to a lot of them and say ‘Yeah, I can see them in a cockpit at United, British Airways, or Lufthansa.’ It's a big change in a short period of time for sure!”

According to Boles, CNCC’s Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Aviation Technology degree packs a lot of knowledge and practical training into the two-year program.

"During those two years, our students earn their degree and finish all their flight training —  including getting their private license, their instruments rating, their commercial license, and their flight instructor certificate," says Boles. “After those two years are done, we have an articulation agreement with Metropolitan State University (MSU) over in Denver, where they can enter the third year of a four-year Aviation and Aerospace Science Bachelor of Science Degree program  with a Professional Flight Officer concentration. By the end of those four years, many of them will have the 1,500 hours required for their Air Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate and be hired by a regional carrier.”

Boles highlights that it is not mandatory to transfer over to MSU after completing the A.A.S. program at CNCC.

“Airlines do hire people without four-year degrees," says Boles "So there is a percentage of students who just get the A.A.S. degree in aviation and are hired by an airline.”

Making Flight School More AffordableAVT Blog Image2

Learning how to fly a plane and become a commercial pilot is typically a very expensive endeavor. Therefore, reducing the cost of pilot training and creating opportunities for a more diverse group of aspiring pilots is a priority for the faculty in the aviation technology program at CNCC.

“The costs of most aviation school programs do not align with available financial aid,” says Boles, “so it really eliminates most middle and lower-income families from sending a child to an aviation program. That really hurts diversity and equality when most of the people you get in a program come from the same background.”

Boles believes that the high costs at many flight schools can be attributed to costly aircraft purchasing decisions.

“Most of the colleges out there have decided to go down the expensive route of buying brand new airplanes and brand new every-other-technology they can think of,” says Boles.

CNCC takes another route which allows them to offer the same high-quality pilot training — but on average, at 30% cheaper than other flight training schools.

“We don't buy the brand new aircraft at $500,000 apiece,” says Boles. “We'll buy a used aircraft and then we update it with current technology in avionics. A new Cessna 172 with glass cockpit technology would cost between $400,000 and $500,000. We could buy the same aircraft and technology on the used market for about $125,000. The learning experience is exactly the same and the safety aspect as far as the reliability of the aircraft is exactly the same because of the additional maintenance that’s done.”

Maintenance is another area where CNCC is able to save money by doing it in-house with their own experts. With a fleet of 14 aircraft, the savings are substantial.

“We have an Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) program here at the college which trains students to be aircraft mechanics,” says Boles. “We use the professional faculty of this program to help us maintain the aircraft. The overhaul of an engine in the open market would be somewhere between $35,000 and $45,000. We can use our highly-experienced faculty in-house and do it for about $3,000 — that's a huge saving.”

CNCC is able to leverage additional program savings by operating its flight school from a county-owned airport where the college provides airport management services in exchange for use of the facilities and utilities. The geographic location of the airport at Rangely also has cost-saving implications.

“There are no restrictions to airspace around here,” says Boles. “When you are flying out of a major city, there's a lot of wait time on the ground before you get clearance to take off and then you are going to have to fly a certain distance away from the city before you can do your maneuvers for that lesson. Here, we are the only ones operating out of the airport so there is no wait; we just fly a couple of miles away and start our maneuvers. The time spent in the airplane is a lot more efficient here."

The college also buys its gas by the truckload and fuels its own aircraft, cutting out third-party fuel suppliers’ overheads and profit margins.

“Add all of this together and you see huge savings that we pass onto our students,” says Boles. “So if a student does their first two years with us here in Rangely, their tuition is significantly less and their flight training is significantly less than anywhere else — without impacting the excellent quality of their training.”

New Flight School in DenverAVT Blog Image4

CNCC has recently expanded its flight program into Denver, where it has opened a satellite operation at the Colorado Air and Space Port. This expansion was initially designed to help students who didn’t finish all of their flight training in the first two years at Rangely, but still want to go to MSU directly after the CNCC program.

“We opened up a small satellite operation so that those students in Denver can continue the remainder of their flight training while they are continuing their education at MSU,” says Boles. “Having done that, we are finding that there's a huge number of MSU students who show an interest in doing their flying lessons with us at the satellite base in Denver — because we can hold onto those same economic advantages and pass the savings on to them.”

Another area of interest for students in Denver is the opportunity CNCC is able to offer them to acquire their Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) license on the restricted path. 

“Because we are a college institution and we have applied to the federal government, we are able to provide a student with a restricted ATP path,” says Boles. “Normally, to get your ATP license you have to have 1,500 flight hours. If you go through an approved government school like CNCC, they will reduce that by 250 hours. That's another thing that the students in Denver are trying to tap into and it’s an area of great interest.”

Flying Lessons

According to Boles, CNCC flight training is tailored to each individual student’s needs.

“There are minimum flight hours for the various certificates and ratings, but every student is unique and will require differing levels of instruction and support across the various areas of flight training,” says Boles.

Students are required to earn 64 credit hours over the two years to achieve their A.A.S. degree and they fit their flying lessons in-between their college classes during the week and on weekends.

“Students typically do three flights a week,” says Boles. “A flight would consist of maybe an hour and a half with the instructor before the flight, an hour and a half of flying and maybe another hour after the flight. They are fairly busy during the week but they fit in those three flights however they can.”

Fortunately, the climate in Colorado ensures that students can maximize their time spent in the air throughout the year.

“Typically, we have really good flying weather here,” says Boles. “January and February are potentially hard times but most of the year is really good weather to fly.”

What Makes a Good Pilot?AVT Blog Image8

Boles highlights the role that technology has played in recent years in changing the perception about what makes a good pilot.

“The answer to that question would be different even five years ago than it is today,” says Boles. “In today’s world of technology, when you get to the level of an airline pilot, most of the flight is on autopilot. There is very little that is flown manually. These planes are designed to be easy to fly because safety needs to be the biggest factor.”

According to Boles, one of the most important factors when a pilot is hired is a proven ability to make good decisions.

“Pilots get paid the big salaries for what is called Aeronautical Decision-Making (ADM),” says Boles. “The decisions that the Wright brothers had to make all those years ago are still decisions that you have to make in today's technology. There is no artificial intelligence to replace that. So the real skill that is needed up there is the ability to make good decisions in the air. Obviously, that takes a lot of experience and background to be able to make these good decisions and that's what flight training is all about. In the training, there's obviously a focus on eye-hand coordination. In flying an airplane, it’s necessary to go through that stage but after that, you're really being evaluated for the ability to make good decisions.”

Flight training at CNCC covers the foundational skills required for students to get the certificates required to be a professional pilot. These foundational skills include the study of navigation, weather, flight systems, aeronautical physiology, and the legal side of flight in the context of federal and national aviation regulations.

“When students get to MSU, there are additional courses that polish their knowledge in these areas beyond the minimum regulations and it's very valuable training, but all the core information is covered right here in the first two years in Rangely,” says Boles.

Is There a “Typical” Student in the Aviation Technology Program?

The majority of students in the Aviation Technology Flight program at CNCC come directly from high school. There are currently no prerequisites to enter the program, other than being a high school graduate and passing a comprehensive medical examination.

“Being a community college and servicing a rural area of America, we are committed to giving students chances,” says Boles. “The community college has a lot of ability to reinforce the skills that maybe weren't there at the high school level — like math and science. So we try to give every interested student an opportunity to succeed.”

Opportunities for Commercial and Airline PilotsAVT Blog Image9

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the aviation industry in the United States will create 7,000 new jobs for qualified commercial and airline pilots in the decade up to 2028.

Salaries are excellent with a commercial pilot earning a median annual wage of $82,240 and an airline pilot commanding upwards of $140,000 per year. These figures increase dramatically in states where there is a high demand for pilots. There are currently approximately 3,250 airline pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers employed in the state of Colorado, earning a median annual salary of $196,670.

Learn More

If you’re ready to let your career goals take flight and want to learn more about CNCC’s Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Technology degree or to speak with a member of our faculty about applying for flight school, please visit the program page on our website.

Published 11/18/2020

Your Guide to EMT Certification: What You Need to Jump Into Action

Your Guide to EMT Certification: What You Need to Jump Into Action

Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) serve on the front lines of the health care profession. As first responders, it is their job to help save lives and reduce harm at the site of a medical emergency before transporting patients safely to a hospital. 

As the director of the Emergency Medical Services program at Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC), it’s Richard Nichols’ job to prepare students for this challenging but rewarding career. 

“EMTs have to make order out of chaos,” says Nichols. “The environment that we work in can change in an instant. One call will never be the same as another because patient complaints change, the environment changes, and even bystanders, who may or may not be helpful to the situation, change. We have to be able to function professionally with all of those types of distractions.”

What Makes a Good EMT?

EMS Blog8

According to Nichols, a good EMT should be able to multitask, think quickly and be able to function professionally in a high-stress environment. 

“Physical fitness and good mental health are high priorities,” says Nichols. “Otherwise, they are going to end up as patients themselves, which we don’t recommend! We do go over wellness and stress management during the classes. We tell them to eat properly, do their exercises, and don't make EMS a 24/7 thing. They must have hobbies outside of work because we see things that the normal individual is not supposed to see and we need to be able to cope with that.” 

While most students join CNCC’s EMT certification program straight out of high school and the program does not require any other prior education, Nichols recommends students prepare themselves with “good study habits” due to the intensity of the program.

Entry Level EMT Training

EMS Blog7

To qualify as an EMT, students must first pass a criminal background check before working towards their EMT certification.

CNCC offers students two certificate programs — the entry-level Emergency Medical Technical Occupational Certificate and the Advanced EMT Certificate (AEMT). Students also have the option to study for an Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services degree, as well as specific Professional Certification in areas such as Intravenous Therapy (IV) or Basic Electrocardiography (ECG).

“The Emergency Medical Technical Occupational Certificate is an entry level into the EMS industry," says Nichols. "It is where students learn to take care of medical trauma patients so that they have the best chance of survival. That includes providing care such as splinting, controlling bleeding, protecting the airway and identifying any critical conditions that need to be corrected prior to the patient getting to the hospital.” 

The EMT Occupational Certificate prepares students to take the National Registry Cognitive and Psychomotor exam which consists of a computer-based test followed by a hands-on exam. Once they pass this test, students can apply for state certification and can start working as an EMT with an ambulance service, fire department, hospital or other rescue services. The National Registry is recognized by 38 states, meaning that students can apply the skills they learn at CNCC to work across much of the United States.

There are also opportunities for EMTs outside of these traditional health care and emergency response settings. “EMTs are starting to be hired in other places,” says Nichols. “They can be found in factories, mines, and power plants, anywhere really where there are a lot of employees. It’s often seen as a more cost-effective way of getting health care into a company without having to go through nurses and doctors.”

Advanced EMT Training

EMS Blog6

“The Advanced EMT Certificate is the second tier,” says Nichols. “Students do have to be certified as an EMT to enroll in the AEMT and we prefer that they have at least a year or two of experience at the EMT level before joining the program. This is an advanced program and we want the basic treatments and procedures to already be second nature to them when they start the class.” 

The AEMT allows EMTs to start giving patients fluids, draw lab work, start IVs, and provide some additional medications that stabilize a patient.

“The Associate of Applied Science in Emergency Medical Services is a degree program that takes students through both the EMT and AEMT levels and gets them better prepared for paramedicine if they are looking to make this a full-time career,” says Nichols.

Rural Emergency Medical Services

CNCC’s EMT certification programs are particularly focused on the training needs of providing emergency medical services in rural areas.

“In a big city an EMT may see the patient for a total of five minutes because they've got hospitals everywhere,” says Nichols. “In rural emergency medicine, you have to spend time with your patients. We may have a patient that we have to go get up on the mountain and stay with for an hour and a half. We’ve got to be able to treat the patient, watch how they are reacting and be able to adjust those treatments. Sometimes those patients will get better, sometimes they get worse. We need to be able to function in that kind of environment.”

Learn More

EMS Blog4

Whether you choose to work in a big city environment or in a more rural area, the job prospects are good wherever you choose to launch your EMT career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a positive outlook for employment of EMTs and paramedics through 2028, projecting a 7% growth rate, faster than average for other occupations.

If you are in good physical shape, are adept at remaining calm under pressure and at dealing with the unexpected — and if being in a helping profession is at the top of your career agenda — becoming an EMT might be a perfect fit for you. To learn more about CNCC’s EMT certification programs, or to arrange a time to speak with a member of our faculty about attending EMT school, please visit the program page on our website.

Published October 23, 2020

Saving Money on a Marine Science Degree... In the Colorado High Desert

Saving Money on a Marine Science Degree... In the Colorado High Desert

A community college in the landlocked state of Colorado, sitting nearly 700 miles from the nearest coastline, might not seem the most obvious choice if you want to get a marine science degree. However, according to Dr. Mario Sullivan, Instructor of Oceanography at Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC), the ocean is much closer to the college’s campus than you might imagine. You just need to know where to look. 

“The lack of an obvious ocean on our doorstep is a fair point and it’s something that everyone questions,” says Sullivan. “When people bring this up, I like to point out that Northwestern Colorado, along with most of the Western United States, was actually underneath a sea during the Cretaceous Period, about 100 million years ago. As a result of the transgression and regression of that interior seaway, we can walk right outside of our classrooms and look at marine sediments. Of course, they are ancient and they are fossilized but we can literally see a beach or an old river delta. So a lot of those processes that we talk about in class, we can observe — at least from a historical standpoint — right outside of our door.”

Sullivan also shares a useful analogy to help demonstrate that a lot of ocean science, like many other branches of science, can be studied successfully a long way from the actual primary source.

“There are many scientists looking up at the stars in distant galaxies who will never go into outer space,” says Sullivan. “It’s exactly the same in ocean science. If you are a physicist working on oceanic and atmospheric interactions, you might be using satellite telemetry data versus actually going to the ocean, and you'd still be publishing papers and doing good science. In this field, you could be a chemist, a biologist, an engineer who builds the gadgetry that we use — or even work in any number of other scientific fields — and still be under that umbrella of ocean science regardless of your geographic proximity to an ocean.”

An Introduction to Ocean Science

Marine Bio

CNCC offers a two-year Associate of Science in Marine Science and Oceanography (AS) degree program which enables students

 to transfer into the third year of a four-year degree program at a coastal school. CNCC currently has transfer agreements with the University of Hawaii (Hilo and Manoa), the University of California Humboldt, and the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

“As long as they pick a school that we have a transfer agreement with, it is a clean transfer,” says Sullivan. “Students transferring from CNCC after the second year will have exactly the same advantages as any other student in the third year of their chosen program.”

According to Sullivan, CNCC’s Marine Science and Oceanography program is designed to equip students with skills at an introductory level, preparing them for their next steps in their education regardless of what specific path they take.

“I have a very practical philosophy,” says Sullivan. “There are certain things we have to teach mandated by the state and the Higher Learning Commission. Of those things that we have to teach, I always try to distill it down to the most practical level so students understand why they are learning this and how they might have to use it someday.”

Sullivan explains how he looks back to his own experiences to ensure his teaching is always relevant to his students.

“Whether you are a mechanical engineer or a climate scientist, you've got to take physics,” says Sullivan. “It’s all about heat transfer and the laws of thermodynamics and you've got to have a handle on those, regardless. Even as somebody with a terminal degree in the field, I am still constantly learning things and connecting big picture thoughts that I may not have had without exposure to various experiences in my career. So when I teach algebra-based physics, I try to find connections in things that I missed in my undergraduate education. When I find those connections, I think, ‘Wow — I really need to make sure our students connect this dot.’” Sullivan believes that if students leave CNCC with that connect-the-dots perspective, it will benefit them regardless of the actual field they choose to pursue later on.

A First-Class Education — And a Major Cost Savings

Marine Bio

According to Sullivan, students who complete their first two years in the Marine Science and Oceanography program at CNCC before

 transferring to a coastal school can benefit from significant cost savings on their education when compared to going straight into a four-year degree program.

“Even if a student chooses to stay in-state, the cost savings over the two-year period totals up to be about $25,000,” says Sullivan. “Tuition rates at even the smaller, in-state institutions offering four-year programs tend to be two or three times higher than CNCC’s tuition fees. If a student were to start out in a coastal four-year program, especially outside of our transfer system, it would cost even more.”

Sullivan adds that there are also several institutional scholarships as well as other financial aid options available to help students fund their education at CNCC.

While CNCC is a more cost-effective option, that doesn’t mean students are missing out on educational opportunities afforded to their peers in four-year institutions.

“There's incredible value here and they're not missing anything just because they are coming to a community college in a rural area at a ‘discount’ price,” says Sullivan. “It doesn't mean they are getting a discounted education. Credit hour by credit hour our students are as prepared after their two years here as they would be at a big four-year program.”

Big on Experience, Small on Class Size

Marine Bio

Sullivan believes the high quality of education offered at CNCC starts with the experience and expertise of the college’s faculty.  

“Obviously all of our faculty are vetted and highly competent to teach within their subject area,” says Sullivan. “But beyond that, most of our science faculty have Ph.D.s or have all but completed their Ph.D.s. Those with master’s degrees have served in the trenches. They've done their field or lab work and many of them continue to be academically active in the field as much, or even more so, than you would find in a four-year program.”

The value of CNCC’s Marine Science and Oceanography program is further enhanced by small class sizes (typically less than 30 students) which allow for a more personal teaching experience when compared to larger institutions.

“In my own experience of looking at programs, I would seek out small class sizes,” says Sullivan. “I would at least want to know what the average introductory class size would be. How much individual attention does the average undergraduate get? I remember taking general physics and general chemistry as an undergraduate in a lecture hall with 200 other very confused people. This doesn’t happen at CNCC.”

There IS Water Involved: Learning to Dive

Marine Bio

Despite being many miles from the ocean, there are many opportunities to get wet in the Marine Science and Oceanography

 program.  Sullivan is particularly proud of the scuba diving instruction available at CNCC which is all taught in-house, with students typically achieving their scuba diving certification in the first semester of the program.

“We don't farm out our scuba diving instruction to a dive shop,” says Sullivan. “We do all of our scuba certifications in-house. It’s actually our chemistry professor who is the scuba diving instructor. Our students get their open water certification at a place called Homestead Crater in Utah.” The crater is the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental U.S. “It’s a hot spring but there is an opening to the crater which qualifies it as open water. It’s about 60 ft. deep, so we can get our deep dive in there.” 

After students have their open water certification, they are qualified as scuba divers and can join a number of ancillary dives that take place in local and regional reservoirs. They also can go for their advanced certification. According to Sullivan, the highlight of the program for many students is a week-long trip to Florida, where they often get their first experience of ocean diving.

“We typically do two full days of scuba diving in Florida,” says Sullivan. “We hit various state parks, we get kayaks, we go out and sample seagrass beds, we do water quality, and we do a little bit with marine sediments. Of course, there is a day for fish ID and what we call hook and line sampling. We get out and actually get our hands on fish; we measure them and identify them, count them, make some inferences about their diets and write up our findings at the end. For the students we take down there, this is usually their first experience of scuba diving in the ocean — so that's a big deal.”  

No Such Thing as a Typical Ocean Science Student

Marine Bio

CNCC attracts a diverse range of students in the Marine Science and Oceanography degree program.

“There really isn't a typical student in the program and that’s what I think makes it really cool,” says Sullivan. “You might have somebody who wants to go save the planet, and you might have somebody who wants to go and work for a big fossil fuel company — and they all have to get along. We recognize throughout our coursework that a lot of these issues we deal with are complex but we're all human beings and we've got to try and figure this out the best we can.”

Sullivan believes if there is any commonality among his students, it’s that they have an innate curiosity about the world about them.

“Even if it’s not natural for them to trudge through the snow with me to look for this and that in the mud, they'll put up with it and they'll enjoy it because they understand that's a part of the process,” says Sullivan. “It’s one of the things you've got to do to get further down the road. They are curious and they want to know more.”

This can-do attitude helps students prepare for the rigors of working in what can be a demanding profession.

“When we’re on the coast in Florida, I tell my students if they are really going to do this as a career, it’s unlikely that they will be working on beautiful coral reefs,” says Sullivan. “You're more likely to be in the middle of the ocean on a research vessel, in rough seas, trying to find some weird deep-sea microscopic thing that nobody knows about yet. It’s not going to be glamorous but you’ll be at the cutting-edge of the field.”

Career Opportunities in Marine Biology and ScienceMarine Bio

Competition for jobs in marine science and oceanography is intense.  Sullivan believes that it is always better to transfer into a four-year program after completing the first two years at CNCC because that increases your potential career options.

Marine scientists are employed by a wide range of organizations including governmental departments, regulatory agencies, research and academic institutes, commercial enterprises in the shipping, fishing, and oil and gas industries, and even in military and defense organizations. 

The vast majority of these jobs require a bachelor's degree at entry-level or a master's degree for more senior roles. Wages in the sector will vary dramatically depending on the area of specialty the scientist works in and the specific employer, although typically someone working in the shipping, energy, food or pharmaceutical industries can expect to earn a much higher salary than those in public sector jobs.

However, there are opportunities available to students who don’t want to continue with their education following the completion of their AS degree.

“I recently had one student who really didn’t want to transfer through to a four-year program and came to me looking for advice,” says Sullivan. “We looked together at the various options on and and found a number of positions for aquarists and zoologists. One job that stuck out was at the Golden Nuggets casino in Las Vegas. They were hiring somebody to take care of their giant aquarium. They were willing to pay a person a pretty good wage to scuba dive in their aquarium, do water quality tests and make sure the animals were fed and healthy. With a little bit of experience and an associate of science degree, that would be a pretty sweet gig!”

Learn More

To learn more about the Associate of Science in Marine Science and Oceanography degree at CNCC or to speak with a member of our faculty about enrolling in the program, please visit the program page on our website.

Published September 17, 2020

Style & Substance: A Look Into Cosmetology at CNCC

Style & Substance: A Look Into Cosmetology at CNCC

A new do. A close shave. A roots touch-up. A fresh coat on the toes for sandal weather. Hairstylists and barbers provide a range of personal care and grooming services — even a bit of relaxation or a total transformation — for people of all ages. You could also say they are providers of confidence and refreshed spirits: Who doesn’t feel new after leaving the chair? 

Cosmetology Jobs Overview: What You’ll Do


Training in professional cosmetology prepares students to perform many kinds of hair care services including:

  • Inspecting hair and scalp.
  • Wash/conditioning treatments.
  • Cutting, texturing, shaping and trimming.
  • Coloring or lightening.
  • Styling/blow-drying. 
  • Recommending products/care instructions.

While the above skills may seem basic, the creativity and talent — the art of cosmetology — really comes into play in the styling aspect: working with the client to consider options for new or updated looks, specializing in a particular technique or process, or otherwise making your own unique mark in the field. 

How is a barber different from a stylist? Barbers perform a narrower, more specific set of services, most often for male clients. Using their tools of the trade — combs, clippers, scissors and straight razors — barbers typically offer cuts and trims, facial shaving, hair styling and sometimes, fitting hairpieces. 

Programs like the one offered at CNCC also introduce students to aspects of a cosmetology career beyond working with a head of hair — including giving facials, performing nail care services, providing skincare consultation and more. This additional training can lead to even more cosmetology job opportunities.

Cosmetology Careers: Manicures and PedicuresCosmo7

Professional cosmetology programs often include training in manicures and pedicures and, in general, care of clients’ fingernails and toenails. Along with the mani and pedi process, this includes tasks such as cleaning, trimming, and shaping; buffing and polishing nails; applying and maintaining artificial nails; reducing calluses and rough skin, and hand and foot massage, 

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports personal care/cosmetology jobs focusing on these areas will grow by 10% through 2028, which is much faster than the average occupation. 

Cosmetology Careers: Skin Care

In cosmetology school, students learn some of the basic skin care techniques, such as hair removal through waxing or lasers, including eyebrows, upper lip and other parts of the body. CNCC’s program covers aspects of skin care, but after students graduate and as they grow in their careers, they often choose to continue their education with additional esthetician training and certifications. 

Students interested in skin care often pursue continuing education training opportunities in facials, peels, scrubs, masks, full-body skin treatments, head and neck massages, skin care regimens and make-up application and lessons. 

The BLS reports the need for skin care specialists will grow by 11% through 2028, which is much faster than the average occupation — and is the most in-demand subspecialty within personal care/cosmetology jobs that we’ve highlighted here. 

Earning Your Certificate or Degree in Professional Cosmetology 


If you want to pursue a cosmetology career, you’ll need to keep in mind that each state has its own education and licensing requirements. If you’re drawn to a cosmetology career after you finish high school, a community college like CNCC is the best place to find the type of training and the degree and certificate programs that you’ll need for professional certification in you state. 

The CNCC certificate in cosmetology occupations requires 60 credits, which are earned through taking a variety of beginner and advanced classes in cutting, coloring, styling, texturing, nail application, and makeup. Beyond these technical skills, the program also covers sanitation, safety, and laws and regulations. 

CNCC also offers a two-year associate of applied science degree (AAS) in cosmetology occupations. The main difference between the AAS and the cosmetology certificate is that the degree program includes general education classes and provides a more well-rounded education. 

Hands-On Cosmetology Experience 

One major benefit of the CNCC program is the college’s Salon & Spa; it gives students real-world, professional cosmetology experience in a salon setting. Open to the general public during school hours, the student-run business offers discount services from cuts and color to manis and pedis. 

Once students enter their clinical experience, they’re given business cards to pass out to family and friends. This gives these future cosmetologists experience in promoting themselves and their salon in order to gain clientele. At the Salon & Spa, students also work the front desk, answering calls and scheduling appointments, giving them experience in all aspects of running a salon. Thanks to the work ethic, skills and customer service training evident in CNCC’s cosmetology students, some customers stick around long after their initial experience with a student cosmetologist — they become repeat customers.

Cosmetology Jobs in Colorado and Beyond: After Barber or Beauty SchoolCosmo5

According to the BLS, the need for barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists will grow 8% through 2028, which is faster than the average occupation. 

When CNCC students graduate with their certificates, they most often find cosmetology jobs at locally-owned salons. Students who commute or relocate to more urban areas may also find work as a stylist with national chains like Great Clips. Some open their own salons. 

Beyond rural Northern Colorado’s reach, cosmetology careers take graduates to hotels, spas, resorts, cruise ships, department stores, health care facilities, retirement communities, military bases and more. 

Cosmetology is a career that offers a unique skill set, mobility, and a variety of professional opportunities. If you’d like to learn more about how CNCC can prepare you for a cosmetology career or find out more about the Salon & Spa at CNCC,  please visit our program page

Published August 14, 2020

High-Flying Careers: Aviation Maintenance Technology

High-Flying Careers: Aviation Maintenance Technology

If you are looking for a career where even the sky isn’t the limit, studying to become an aircraft maintenance technician at Colorado Northwestern Community College (CNCC) could put you on the runway

When it comes to aviation maintenance technology, Ty Harrison, program director of CNCC’s Aviation Maintenance Technology Occupational Certificate (CERT) and Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS) program has an insider’s perspective on this high-flying career. For him, it has been a lifelong passion. to success.

Before joining the faculty at CNCC, Harrison's long and distinguished career in aircraft maintenance took him from sweeping floors as a teenager hanging around aircraft hangars, to military service in the United States Marine Corps working on C-130 aircraft, to an international career in commercial aviation with Delta Air Lines.

“As a 16-year-old, just like many other teenagers, I was still exploring what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” recalls Harrison. “I tried a couple of other things outside of aviation — but aviation is my love, it’s where all my satisfaction is. I even went so far as to learn to fly. While that was a lot of fun and I still enjoy doing that, I received a lot more satisfaction from working on and maintaining the aircraft than I did actually flying them. I just enjoyed doing things with my hands and fixing things.”

Harrison describes his career in aircraft maintenance as “a ton of fun.” It was his love of the job that led him to inspire others to follow in his footsteps. When he reached retirement age, he knew he wasn’t ready to put his tools down and leave the hangar environment. Instead, he accepted a new challenge and committed to teaching the next generation of aircraft maintenance technicians.

“I retired from Delta about eight years ago,” says Harrison. “I've been here with CNCC ever since, passing on my experience and paying forward what I've learned in aviation as an aircraft maintenance technician.”

Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT): What It’s All About


So what does an aircraft maintenance technician actually do?

“If you ask any aircraft maintenance technician out there they are just going to say ‘maintain aircraft,’” says Harrison. “That really cuts us short but that’s just the way we are!”

The truth is, a career in aviation technology goes a lot deeper than that brief description implies. Aircraft are complex machines and it requires a complex skill set to maintain them in safe and excellent working condition.

“There is so much that goes into maintaining an aircraft and the skills that are required for that,” says Harrison. “Aircraft go through maintenance every day of their working life. That can be anything from a pre-flight inspection all the way up to the complete overhaul of the airframe and the engines. Aircraft mechanics are looking at hydraulics, flight control systems, and repairs on the airplane — whether they are made of sheet metal or today's new composites. It could be simple everyday jobs like checking fluids, or perhaps more complex tasks like troubleshooting problems with navigation, communication, and satellite systems. We’re even responsible for maintaining and fixing passenger entertainment systems.”

According to Harrison, in addition to the hands-on technical skills necessary for the profession, aircraft maintenance technicians also need to develop strong communication skills.

“We are responsible for advising the flight crews about things that are going on with the airplane and how to deal with those,” says Harrison. “We consult with aircraft owners about what kind of maintenance program they need and what they need to look for down the road as far as major things that need to be fixed. We help them understand if they can put a repair off until the next major service or if it requires more urgent attention. There’s a lot of advising and consulting on our part. We even get involved in teaching. Every once in a while something new comes up on the airplane and you might have to instruct a pilot or a flight attendant on how it works.”

Aviation Tech School

At CNCC, students are taught the general principles of flight before being exposed to a broad range of inspection and maintenance tasks and the various processes required to keep an aircraft airworthy.

“We start them out in a general section which covers the history of aviation and then the basic theory of flight,” says Harrison. “We then go into the physics covering what generates the lift on the airplane and Bernoulli's principle. Then we get into pressures and gases and all that stuff you were supposed to have learned in high school — but we go a little more in-depth with it.”

Learning about the various materials used in aircraft construction is an important part of the program — airplanes have come a very long way since the days of the Wright brothers.

“Back in the day, we started out with wood and fabric structures on our aircraft,” says Harrison. “We still have a lot of those airplanes around so we talk about that before we move into the different types of metals and other materials that we have on airplanes today. We learn how the metal is extruded, how it’s formed, all those material processes to get the shape of the airplane. Then we talk about the fasteners — the rivets, nuts, and bolts that hold the airplane together —  and how we check and secure those to maintain the airworthiness standard of the airplane and guarantee flight safety.”

Safety First

AMT student

Safety is obviously the number one priority in the aviation industry but it's not just the safety of the aircraft, flight crew, and passengers that students must learn to guarantee. There are many processes aircraft maintenance mechanics must follow to ensure their own safety when working on an airplane.

“We talk a lot about electricity and hydraulics, and the sequence of doing things safely,” says Harrison. “Obviously, you don't want to break open a hydraulic line on a large airplane when it’s pressurized to 3200 psi because if it doesn't kill you, it’s definitely going to hurt you or hurt the airplane. There is a process of doing things in the right order and if you don't, the consequences can be devastating.”

While these processes are initially taught from the safety of the classroom environment, it isn’t long before students are able to put them into practice.

Hands-on Training

Alongside the classroom training, students get the opportunity to perform hands-on work across CNCC’s fleet of aircraft and 

collection of engines.

“We have a range of aircraft that students work on,” says Harrison. “We start them out on a general aviation aircraft like our single-engine Cessna 152 or Piper Tomahawk. We also have a twin-engine Cessna 337, and a Rockwell Sabreliner corporate jet so they are getting a nicely rounded learning experience working on different types of aircraft.”

Students enjoy working on the airframes, repairing aircraft skins, maintaining navigation and communication systems, servicing flight controls, and removing, testing and re-installing engines. All work is carried out under expert supervision and must be performed to exacting requirements.

“It’s not just a case of teaching them how to rivet,” says Harrison. “We also teach them what that rivet is supposed to look like because there are standards they must reach in terms of compliance and quality of the finished product.

Lifelong Learning


By Harrison’s own admission, the aviation maintenance technology programs represent a lot of learning to fit into a 21-month program. This highlights the need for students to prepare themselves for extensive lifelong learning after they leave AMT school.

“It's a pretty broad learning experience but once they get out into the working environment, graduates are paired with experienced technicians to get the exposure they need to become an expert on a specific airplane,” says Harrison. “Technicians will then often pick a skill that they enjoy the most and specialize in it. We give our students the basics, then when they graduate and go to work, they continue to train. In aircraft maintenance, the training does not stop.”

The Difference Between the CERT and AAS Programs

CNCC offers both an Occupational Certificate (CERT) and an Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS) program in Aviation Maintenance Technology. Both programs prepare students to become FAA-certified aircraft maintenance technicians.

“The occupational certificate is actually built into the Associates of Applied Science program,” says Harrison. “The occupational certificate is strictly the aviation maintenance training, so that’s anything to do with the airplane. It's going to take you 89 credits to earn that occupational certificate.”

The associate degree program includes additional classes covering topics like English, technical writing, public speaking, and behavioral sciences, and it can provide a jumpstart to achieving additional educational goals and opening up future career opportunities.

“The associate degree is more for somebody who is interested in pursuing a bachelor of science degree further down the line," says Harrison. "This is an especially attractive option for students interested in going into the management side of aircraft maintenance.”

Aviation Careers

According to Harrison, the career opportunities for certified aircraft maintenance technicians are “amazing.”

“Aviation is wide open at the moment,” says Harrison. “A report that Boeing put out states that between 2019 and 2038 there will be a demand for 198,000 new aviation maintenance technicians in the United States alone. A lot of what is driving that is guys like me who have retired.  There aren't very many people coming up behind us to fill those gaps. Once a student has that FAA license in their hand they can go just about anywhere they want to. They can go into general aviation and work on small aircraft, they can go into corporate aviation, they can go into the airline industry, they can even go into the space industry. That's just the beginning.”

Once they launch their careers in the aviation industry, graduates can specialize even further.

“If they like working with composites they can go to a composite shop where they build up or re-design composite components to put on the aircraft,” says Harrison. “Or perhaps they can go into non-destructive inspection which is looking for anomalies in metals and other materials that we cannot see with our naked eye. So they are doing ultrasonic inspection, Eddy-current inspection, X-ray inspection; it's another area that they could specialize in.”

According to Harrison, it’s not just the aviation industry that recruits skilled aircraft maintenance technicians. Their skills are portable and in demand.

“If they decide that they don't want to stay in aviation, other industries are also looking for their knowledge and skills,” says Harrison. “The power generation industry — for instance, power plants, wind turbine operators and solar farms — they want their skills. The automotive industry is looking for them. Even the big automotive sports folks like NASCAR want our technicians because they can work with those precision tolerances that are going into cars and they know how to safety check those components so they don't have a nut that backs off and gets loose on a track somewhere.”

Who Attends Aviation Tech School?


There is no typical aviation technology student.

“We're seeing students from all walks of life,” says Harrison. “As well as young people seeking to launch their career in the aviation industry, I've had students who have retired and decided that they need something to do. They say, ‘I’ve got my own airplane so I'm going to come over here and learn how to maintain it.’”

In what is still a largely male-dominated profession, Harrison is particularly pleased to see a number of women graduating from the program and building successful careers in aviation maintenance technology.

“There are a lot of opportunities for women when they come through the program,” says Harrison. “In fact, a young woman who recently graduated from CNCC was nationally recognized as the number one student across all the AMT schools here in the US and she's now working with an airline based in Denver.”

Why Choose CNCC?

Harrison believes there are many things that set CNCC apart from other AMT schools.

“We've got an excellent student/instructor ratio,” says Harrison. “Our classes are fairly small, so the student is going to learn a lot more. Speaking personally, thanks to the small class size, I’m able to go above and beyond just teaching the basics, ensuring my students get the full benefit of my experience.  Then there is the question of value. Compared to other programs here in the state, our tuition is certainly a little more attractive than most.”

CNCC’s Rangely Campus is also a major selling point for the aviation tech school. After all, even for aviation technology aficionados, there’s more to life than an aircraft hangar.

“There are a lot of opportunities for having outdoor experiences here in northwestern Colorado,” says Harrison. “If you are interested in river rafting and canoeing, hiking, rock climbing, camping or fishing — there’s plenty of that around here.”

The location also has a huge benefit for any students who want to learn to fly while attending CNCC.

“They've got lots of airspace up there," says Harrison. "You can go up and practice maneuvers and not have to worry about being in a congested area.” In fact, for students interested in flight, CNCC also offers a comprehensive, national-caliber Aviation Technology - Flight program. There’s even an introductory course on unmanned aircraft systems to learn all about drones and drone technology.

Learn More

To get started on a (literally) high-flying career in aviation maintenance technology, learn more about the Occupational Certificate and Associate of Applied Science Degree programs by visiting the program page on the CNCC website.


Published July 14, 2020

CNCC Charts New Path During the Pandemic

Colorado Northwestern Community College Charts New Path During the Pandemic

Sparkler Image

At first softly, then with growing strength, my mother and I began singing:

“you just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine. Just own the night, like the Fourth of July, 'cause baby you're a firework. Come on show 'em what you’re worth…”

By the chorus -- “Boom! Boom! Boom!” -- our off-key rendition of Katy Perry’s song Firework had the full attention of the other patients and nurses in the long-term wing of the psychiatric hospital where my mother – Pamela Nelson has lived since 2008.  

As fireworks exploded across America’s night sky’s this past weekend they, like the song, remind me of the sparks of light and hope to be found in the darkest places during a challenging time.

My darkest moment arrived on March 13 when we had to halt all community programming at Colorado Northwestern Community College. A sense of grief and loss rose up in me that Friday afternoon in March.We’re all facing challenges like balancing personal liberty with the need to protect the vulnerable all the while or work and personal lives must mutate at the pace of a virus.

After a summer and fall 2019 full of hard choices to stabilize community programs, we’d just started to turn a corner. Classes were filling. We’d announced the creation of the Workforce Training and Community Programming Department. This initiative is intended to position the college to re-align our non-credit, community programs to support skill training for current and future jobs while keeping the very best of our enrichment and lifelong learning classes.

Then COVID-19 hit.

Under the stay at home order, struggling to see a path forward, I found myself clicking the playlist I’d created for my mother. Firework was followed by Korean singer PSY’s Gangnam Style. I recalled my mother’s laughter when she watched the pony dance in his music video.

These memories renewed my sense of perspective, joy, and hope. In those moments I knew, I would join educators across the globe galloping in new directions.

Workforce Training and Community Programming, in eight short weeks, metamorphosed into a fully online program.

We sourced, negotiated, and executed a contract with a nationally recognized creator of high-quality learning, worked to rewrite significant parts of our website, created two new sites:

 We crafted a modestly funded marketing plan to support this new endeavor.

And in early May we launched our non-credit online, skills-based, COVID-proof personal and professional development courses and advanced career training certificates.

There are hundreds of classes to choose from including:

Speed Spanish, American Sign Language, WeldingPharmacy Tech., Introduction to Guitar, Drawing for Beginners, and many, many more.

We introduced the program with 10 free classes.

In seven short weeks, 135 people enrolled more than 330 times, across 15 of the most popular class.


We’re back to providing learning opportunities for our communities.

The response to COVID-19 has made staying connected also a challenge. Working from home, rather than traveling to in-person meetings has impacted communication and relationships. Time saved has left moments for reflection. We used this time to create a statement of purpose and strategic plan for the new department.

Workforce Training and Community Programming will support the overall mission, vision, and values of the college specifically by focusing on non-credit programs creating opportunities for life-long learning, incubating innovative programming, and foster community involvement, and economic development.

CNCC Workforce Training and Community Programming Strategic Plan

The pillars of this framework are four objectives – focus on the learner, communication, partnerships, and sustainability -- supported by six projects with clear benchmarks and 20 clearly defined goals for us to tackle in the next 12 months.

Among its many initiatives, this plan proposes to:

·         Convene a Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT) to ensure our efforts are highly aligned with existing and future jobs.

·         Develop a learn-while-you-earn apprenticeship program.

·         Create greater access to our most popular noncredit classes across all our communities.

·         Increase financial assistance to individuals and businesses.

·         To make data-driven decisions in identifying and testing new trades and other training programs.    

We’re planning for the fall semester. 

In addition to the new non-credit online courses, we expect to offer in-person instruction, remotely delivered live classes, and distance learning options. To become an instructor complete the form at:

We’re putting safety first and planning contingencies to help us adapt to mandates. Updates on CNCC’s response to the threat of COVID-19 are found at:

We expect to launch two new sections of our website – Community Programming and Workforce Training -- and a print-on-demand catalog. These resources are in production now and due out in August. 

I’m also, currently scheduling video conferences, calls, and, when COVID-19 precautions allow, visits with stakeholder groups to share and receive feedback on the departmental strategic plan.

It’s a lot to communicate at once. And there’s so much noise. I’m again reminded of the lessons I learn from my mother. Sparkler Image 2

Her health often hampers her ability to verbalize. Her joy, as we sang pop-rock, in the otherwise clinical setting of a psychiatric ward, reminded me to lead by doing. To show, not just tell. To create a department that empowers everyone to find their spark and ignite it.

Boom! Boom! Boom! 

Published July 13, 2020


Choosing an Outdoorsy College: It's an Education and a Lifestyle

Do you think of nature as life’s most interesting classroom? Or have you yet to discover the benefits an outdoor lifestyle has to offer?

Whatever your current relationship is with the great outdoors, choosing to study at an outdoorsy college can help you succeed in your chosen career field, whatever that might be, and it can enrich your life over the long haul. And when it comes to combining education with an outdoor lifestyle, there’s no better place to do that than in Colorado.

CNCC: A Community College with Small Class Size and Big Outdoor Adventure

Ice Mountain

Jennifer Rea, Campus Life Coordinator at CNCC’s Rangely campus, says the CNCC student body is a mix of lifelong nature enthusiasts and people who came to CNCC for its acclaimed programs — and discovered they love nature once they got there. The natural high students experience in the majestic landscapes surrounding the CNCC campuses stays with students through their lives and gets paid forward to their families.CNCC draws students nationally and internationally with its small class sizes, affordable tuition, hands-on learning, and renowned career programs. The fact that the campuses are located in one of the most inspiring, still-wild areas of the world doesn’t hurt either.

“I’ve taken students camping, rafting, ice climbing or rock climbing, and probably six out of ten students have never done any of that before,” says Rea. “I’ve had students tell me, ‘Hey this really changed my life,’ and I’ve even had students call me after graduation when they’ve moved on and tell me, ‘Hey, I took my dad camping for the first time ever!’ It’s something our students take away from the college that isn’t just a degree.”

Students as Stewards

Rea also points out that the outdoor lifestyle at CNCC fosters stewardship habits that the environment is much in need of right now. CNCC outdoor adventures always emphasize respect and responsibility for the land and its plant and animal inhabitants. “The planet has not been taken care of very well, so we do a lot of leave-no-trace techniques,” says Rea, adding that the effect is evident on campus. “We have campus cleanup volunteers and students really start to understand what it is to take care of their environment.”

Personal Benefits of an Outdoorsy College

It’s clear the earth stands to gain when young people learn to care for it, and families benefit when students bring the outdoor lifestyle home, but developing a holistic lifestyle that includes plenty of outdoor time can lead to greater academic achievement too. Getting away from the noise and distraction of a typical urban environment allows for greater calm and focus. It’s fair to say nature can be the ultimate study partner.

The natural high described by outdoorsy people is no myth and time spent outdoors is time spent wisely. Studies have shown that simply spending time in nature enhances emotional wellbeing and boosts self-confidence. It also enhances mental agility, creativity and problem-solving, qualities that can give an edge to students in any field. Another big plus the outdoor lifestyle has for students is offsetting the physical toll a busy college schedule can take on the body: outdoor exercise has been shown to boost fitness and energy more than exercising indoors, and it improves sleep quality and immunity.

What to Expect at This Outdoorsy College


Among the outdoor adventures to be had on or around campus are:At CNCC, students who are already pros at the outdoor lifestyle have many opportunities for leadership as facilitators of activities offered by the Outdoor Recreation Program, and students who are newly learning to love nature will have opportunities to get their feet wet — literally, if they want — from day one. “On Orientation Day we do an entire day out at the reservoir and I bring out rafts, paddleboards, and all kinds of fun stuff so that they can get a feel for it early on,” says Rea.

  • Floating the White River in Rangely or on one of three other nearby rivers.
  • Boating or water skiing at the Kenney Reservoir.
  • Cross country and downhill skiing at nearby world-class resorts.
  • Hiking and backpacking.
  • Mountain biking.
  • Caving/spelunking.
  • Peering into human history at 50+ petroglyph sites, or delving into geologic history at Dinosaur National Monument.
  • Observing and photographing the region’s rich and varied wildlife, including wild horses and the deer that “live” on campus.
  • Climbing the ice tower at the Rangely campus.
  • Putting balance, agility, and strength to the test on Rangely’s rope course.
  • Camping, fishing or just simply stargazing underneath our beautiful Colorado night skies.


No Matter Your Major, Nature Is a Major Draw

a8b8964f a2ba 4108 83a3 7ba405efa58c

Some of CNCC’s programs, such as Paleontology, Equine Studies, Marine Biology and the college’s renowned law enforcement National Park Ranger Academy, necessarily place students out in nature. But with its nearby natural wonders and on-campus facilities, CNCC is uniquely situated to integrate the benefits of an outdoor culture for students in programs that are not typically associated with the outdoor college experience – programs such as nursing, dental hygiene, or automobile technology. Various programs use the Outdoor Recreation Program as a resource for memorable and effective team-building activities for students and staff. Many other courses leave the classroom and use the outdoors to teach about biology, geology, ecosystems, and environmental science.

Rea says the program also works with CNCC’s competitive athletic teams, getting them out of the gym for outdoor challenges that provide cross-training, team camaraderie, and a sense of adventure.

Visit the Outdoor Recreation Program to learn more about the adventure and natural high that awaits you as a student at CNCC. You can also explore our various degree and certificate programs on our website.

Published June 12, 2020

CNCC's Non Credit Online Program

Join us in celebrating the launch of our new Non Credit Online program

In many ways, it feels like life has been put on pause. We at CNCC want to continue to engage our community by providing options for non-credit courses to help you build your skillset from the comfort of your own home!

There are over 600 available courses, many of which are under $200!


We cover a wide range of categories, including enrichment programs, like learning how to meditate or introduction to guitar. You can also find courses that are more focused on the various soft and hard skills needed for many employment opportunities, such as writing and computer science. We also offer courses to help you advance in your career or transition to something new! 

All classes are 100% online and therefore complainant under state and federal directives in response to COVID-19.

As a bonus, we are able to offer 10 FREE classes for our community to try the program.

We would like to invite you, your friends, and your family to sign up for one or more of these free self-paced courses! Perhaps you’ve been wanting to learn how to create web pages or market your business online. Well now you can, and at no cost to you!

Click here to learn more and register for the following FREE courses!
You must register by June 30th to enroll with 3 months access to complete classes.

Visit us at and check out the new Non-Credit Online pages under Workforce & Community to explore more.

Available Free Courses:

Professional Development:learning

    • Fundamentals of Supervision and Management (FREE Self-Paced Tutorial) 
    • Individual Excellence (FREE Self-Paced Tutorial) 
    • Keys to Effective Communication (FREE Self-Paced Tutorial) 
    • Managing Customer Service (FREE Self-Paced Tutorial) 

Business/Personal Development:

    • Creating Web Pages (FREE Self-Paced Tutorial) 
    • Creating WordPress Websites (FREE Self-Paced Tutorial) 
    • Marketing Your Business on the Internet (FREE Self-Paced Tutorial) 
    • Personal Finance (FREE Self-Paced Tutorial) 
    • Small Business Marketing on a Shoestring (FREE Self-Paced Tutorial)
    • Twelve Steps to a Successful Job Search (FREE Self-Paced Tutorial)

Click here to register today!

Published May 21, 2020

About CNCC

Colorado Northwestern is one college in two Colorado communities. Depending on what you want to study, CNCC has the perfect surroundings and facilities to meet your needs. Founded in 1962 as “Rangely College,” CNCC now serves nearly 1,800 students on two campuses, two service centers and online. Our two campuses are located in Craig and Rangely and are 90 miles apart in the mountains and canyons of Northwestern Colorado.

©2021 Colorado Northwestern Community College • 1-800-562-1105 •
500 Kennedy Drive • Rangely, CO 81648 / 2801 West 9th Street • Craig, CO 81625