Everything You Need to Know
NapaLearns Virtual Career Academy FAQs for Spring 2021
How do I sign up?
There are 3 steps to signing up for this unique opportunity:
Who is eligible to participate?
This program is targeted at individuals who are at the high school level or beyond. Priority will be given to participants who live, attend school, or work in Napa County.
Who are the instructors and facilitators of the courses?
Participants will have access to highly skilled instructors who are subject matter experts and have teaching experience. The instructors will establish milestones, meet with the student cohort each week, gauge their progress, and help them through each course module.
What are the prerequisites?
We recommend that participants have a basic understanding of the computer operating systems (Chrome OS, Mac or Windows), access to a Chromebook or more powerful computer, a high-speed Internet connection, and the Google Chrome internet browser is required for all courses. Adobe courses require a Mac or PC (not a Chromebook). Tablets (including iPad and Android) and smartphones will not work for any of the NLVCA courses. The courses will vary, but they are generally structured at a beginner level. Participants should have experience using a variety of applications and have a passion for learning new ones! Some courses may have specific prerequisites. See course catalog for details.
How much does this cost?
We are providing all courses free of charge for Napa County high school students. Scholarships are available for individuals needing financial assistance. College students are encouraged to apply for scholarships.
These courses cost NapaLearns approximately $600-$1,000 per student depending on the course length. In addition, NapaLearns arranges and pays for the certification test prep and exams for all participants who want to take the tests. NapaLearns is offering the courses to everyone at a highly discounted rate thanks to the generosity of our donors.
Students may drop out at any time; however, we reserve the right to cancel courses with fewer than 5 students. Students who drop before the class begins will receive a full refund. Students who drop within the first two weeks, will receive half of tuition paid. Students who drop after the two-week period do not receive a refund.
What should I plan on in terms of hours per week?
The amount of time you invest will vary by course. Each instructor will publish a syllabus and calendar to help you plan. However, you should expect to spend a minimum of four hours per week and a maximum of 10 hours/week for the coursework.
The time to complete is totally dependent on the course you select and may take 2 to 6 months to complete. See details on each course here.
How do we communicate with other members of our cohort?
Each instructor will establish a routine for meeting with your cohort on a weekly basis. All communications will take place online and your instructor will work with the members of the cohort to find a time that is best for all.
Who is monitoring the cohort for progress and safety?
Instructors will track student progress, including completion of activities and tests. In addition, NapaLearns staff will provide administrative support and a success coach to monitor the progress of students and help resolve any other issues that might arise.
Are there any face-to-face meetings or is it 100% online?
The Virtual Career Academy is designed to be a 100% online program. There are no in-person meetings planned.
Do I get college credit for completing a course?
Some courses may provide college credit, others do not. If you are interested in learning more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
How do I know which course is right for me?
NapaLearns hosted information sessions to explore the courses. Instructors, course materials, and pacing were reviewed during these sessions. Recordings of the Information Sessions are available (see above).
What kind of materials/takeaways are provided?
Except for the noted prerequisites, all materials and supplies needed for the course will be included as part of student tuition/scholarships.
Why did you select these courses?
NapaLearns conducted an analysis of the jobs in high demand in the Bay Area, as well as those with good starting salaries. Other courses may be added in the future that fit these criteria.
How difficult are these courses?
These courses are indeed challenging, but if you have determination, grit, and a high interest in the subject area you can do it! Since these courses are 100% online, there are high school level reading requirements, videos to review, and projects to complete depending on the course. But be assured, your instructor will always be there to guide you.
Will there be other or follow-on courses offered after I complete the first one? What’s next?
Yes! Some certifications take more than one course and we will offer those sequential courses. We are also evaluating other industry-recognized certifications beyond our current curriculum.
Will you help me find a job?
By participating in the Virtual Career Academy program, you will become part of a network of individuals who have completed these industry-recognized certification courses. Most of the curriculum business partners provide access to their job boards.
How long does it take to prepare for an exam? What do you do to help me prepare for an exam?
Preparation for the certification exam will vary by person based on their prior experience and facility with taking online exams. NapaLearns will help by funding test prep and the cost of the exam.
What are the differences between certificates of completion, badges, and certification?
A certificate is awarded for completion of a course, including all assignments, and assessments. Badges signify achieving a certain level of proficiency and they can be “stacked” to work toward a certificate. An industry recognized certification is awarded following an advanced level examination that follows rigorous coursework and is delivered through a third-party testing service.
Do I have to take the exam? Where do I take the exam?
No, it is not a requirement to take a certification exam. Usually, exams are taken in a center and proctored by a third party; however, during these times, examinations have been moved online. Passing an industry-recognized exam opens the door to many well-paying entry-level jobs.
What happens if I fail the exam? How many times do I get to pass the exam?
Some testing sites allow the purchase of a voucher that allows for one repeat exam that is valid for one year. NapaLearns will fund these vouchers.
If I’m certified, is that for life or do I need to keep taking exams? How long do certifications last?
Most certifications have to be re-certified over time due to the changing rate of technology. You should plan on doing updating your certifications over the course of your career.
Is there an age requirement to take an exam?
Generally, there are no age requirements, but many exams recommend age 13 and above because of the difficulty of the tests.
How long is the exam? How hard is the exam?
Exams are very challenging and can take upwards of 90 minutes to complete. Each exam has a minimum pass grade that is different for each course.