Business Office Program Offers Career Options

Maliyah Buckner (seated) and Sarah Kinnamon are studying accounting principles, which are built into the curriculum within Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Business Office Technology program at the Cowan Campus in Yukon. Both high school students and adults can enroll in the self-paced program.

October 5, 2016

YUKON – Crunching numbers is a snap for Sarah Kinnamon. She grew up with a love of math and admits that drove her to being a careful planner, always calculating the course ahead.

This internal hardwiring has steered the Mustang High School senior toward a seemingly fitting lifelong career pursuit.

Kinnamon, 17, plans to become an insurance actuary. The field of study is a distant cousin to accounting. In short, actuaries calculate and manage risk and uncertainty.

Funny thing is actuaries are pseudo scientists. In fact, the career discipline is called actuarial science. A genuine interest and general knowledge of both math and science is beneficial.

Kinnamon turned to Canadian Valley Technology Center to help prep her for college. The school’s Business Office Technology program includes accounting components within the customizable curriculum.

Information supplied by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a much faster than average job outlook (18 percent growth rate) for actuaries through 2024. Annual pay is attractive as well with the median salary just shy of six figures for those with a bachelor’s degree.

“I have been weighing the best options for awhile,” she said. “I’ve always been a math-oriented person. I’ve taken and am currently taking harder courses at my high school in order to best prepare for college.”

Coursework has included physics, advanced placement (or AP) Calculus BC and AP Statistics.

She balances the steady diet of college-prep courses at Mustang with a variety of self-paced computer courses in Business Office Technology.

Business Office Technology features a hybrid curriculum that appeals to students who intend to pursue two-year and four-year degrees in college and those who will seek immediate employment upon course completion.

Class instructor Connie Garner said roughly half the students in her classes plan to go to college. Some are considering accounting majors in college.

“Accounting in particular is new to most students, so seeing the light bulbs go off in their heads as they are learning something completely new is incredibly fun,” Garner said. “It is also really fun to teach Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access and to challenge students to use the more advanced features of those software applications.”

Kinnamon waited to enroll at Canadian Valley until this, her senior year. Most high school students attend both their junior and senior years. Business Office Technology is self-paced, which means that very driven students can finish two years of curriculum in one year.

“I push myself and try to work really hard,” she said. “It’s important to look ahead.

“If I get to college, and the plan changes a little, that’s OK. And if I end up being an accountant, that’s OK too.”

She said Mustang counselor Ericka VanCleave encouraged her to enroll at Canadian Valley. Kinnamon’s future includes plans to attend either the University of Tulsa or Oklahoma State University, where Kinnamon has already been accepted into the honors program.

Kinnamon’s classmate, Maliyah Buckner, enrolled at Canadian Valley also saw the benefits of the business curriculum.

A junior at Mustang, Buckner, 16, said she wants to launch a Real Estate business after college.

“I saw the program listed on the school’s website, and I felt like it could help me before I work on a business degree,” she said.

An uncle, who is currently working on his Ph.D., encouraged her to learn as many computer programs as possible to help her succeed in college.

Business Office curriculum covers basic and advanced skills in Microsoft Word, Excel and Publisher.

“It’s a lot to remember, but this class is definitely what I hoped it would be,” she said.

At Canadian Valley’s Chickasha Campus, Tuttle adult Amber Turner has opted for an administrative assistant track within Business Office Technology. Chickasha’s curriculum is slightly different. Additional options there will be in place for next year’s curriculum that will also include human resources management and marketing.

“I heard about CV Tech when I was in high school,” she said. “Whenever it was time to start deciding on a career path, I knew this program would be right for me. It has all the subjects I need to get a head start in the business world.”