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(COLTON, Calif.) High school graduation or completion of a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) is usually a requirement to attend college, but for adults completing this education can be a challenge. Some adult schools have waiting lists of more than 3,000 students.

At Four-D College, students who have left high school without a diploma and now want to study for a career in health care can earn their GED at the same time they begin their college education.

“Four-D College provides a quality education in the health care field,” said CEO and President Linda Smith. “Mastering high school graduation requirements are the only way they will have adequate background to grasp the new concepts they learn here at Four-D College.”

Therefore, at no cost to students enrolled in a career program at Four-D College, students who lack a high school diploma are able to enroll in a special three-month preparation program until they earn their GED. They take this course at the same time as their introductory courses in their career program.

The GED course gave Tiffini Isaacson, 22, of Phelan, the opportunity she needed to train for a career as a medical assistant. After completing the GED course last year, she then completed Four- D College’s Medical Assistant program this summer.

Tiffini had left high school in Henderson, Nev. about five years ago.  Since then, she became a mother, and realized her need for more education.

“I left home because of family problems and just kind of did my own thing for a few years,” she said.  “Then my fiancé lost his job, so we moved to Phelan so we could stay with his grandmother. When we moved, I decided to go back to school.”

Tiffini initially started her medical assistant education at another college. Although she found her lack of a complete high school education didn’t get in the way of academic progress there, she had doubts that her first school would adequately prepare her for her chosen career as a medical assistant.

“Some of the girls I had gone to school with told me they were transferring to Four-D College, so I went there to find out more,” she said. “It was exactly what I needed. They are very strict about homework and testing, and their training in the clinics was much better.”

But, at Four-D College, the higher expectations made high school education an absolute necessity. That is exactly what its GED course offers.

“I provide an overview of high school, covering math, science, language arts, social studies and writing,” said Jonathan Williams, director of continuing education for Four-D College, and instructor of the preparation course taught at both the Colton and Victorville campuses.

Four-D College created the GED preparation program in 2009. Since then it has enrolled 154 students. After completing the preparation, 98 percent pass the GED exam.

“I teach the course at a 10th or 11th grade level,” Williams said. “Some students learn what is necessary in a week or two, others take longer. If they need more help, they can stay with me longer than three months”

Students meet for the course itself three days a week. Any student who feels they need it can also meet with Williams outside of class for tutoring

“Some students did not get very far in high school,” Williams continued. “I have had some students who only went through sixth grade. They realize now they need a lot more education to have success. This gives them a second chance to obtain the skills they need for a career in health care.”

One reason high school students do not graduate is because of learning disabilities, Williams said. Even these students can take college courses and have a career, if they’re given special accommodations, such as additional time to complete coursework or take tests.

Williams not only gives his students the time they need to finish the preparation program, he helps those with learning disabilities qualify for special accommodations when they take the GED exam.

“With them, it just takes a little longer,” he said. “We don’t turn away anyone from the GED program.”

Four-D College provides education in the growing health care field at locations in Colton and Victorville. Four-D College offers programs in vocational nursing, medical assistant, medical billing and coding, dental assistant, massage therapy and pharmacy technician.

New courses begin monthly at Four-D College and courses are available in the morning, afternoon and evening to meet the needs of working adults. For more information or a tour, call (800) 600-5422 or go to www.4DCollege.com .

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