Can Being a Notary Enhance Your Career?

Posted: January 31, 2017 by Bruce Smith in General
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Carrie Christensen teaches several Notary Public classes at SMC Community Education. She is director of Los Angeles-based Notary Public Seminars, Inc., which has been a leading public course provider for well over 15 years.

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What are the advantages of being a notary public? 

Being a notary is a relatively easy job and it’s great to have an additional stream of income.

If you’re working in a bank, or as an administrative assistant, for example, does being a notary usually increase your salary? 

 It should, but it’s not automatic. A Notary might have to negotiate with their boss when appropriate. A notary may be able to charge fees when they notarize for their company but the arrangement must be agreed upon first. It’s a great resume builder when job hunting.

Notaries who worked full time earned average annual salaries of $36,000 as of 2013, according to the job website indeed.com. Is that accurate? Is that salary a little low compared to other professions? 

That number does seem low, although it’s probably an average taken from notary earnings throughout the nation. In certain areas like southern California, notaries earn more on average than notaries in northern California.

It also depends on real estate trends. When there are a lot of houses on the market, notaries are making more money. Also, since notaries in California receive a pay raise this year from $10 a signature to $15 per signature, that number will increase. It may not seem like much, but notaries are also allowed to charge for travel. There is no set cap for travel fees.

Mortgage signing agents earned average annual salaries of $45,000 as of 2013, according to the jobsite indeed.com. Is that accurate? That’s more lucrative and so your new class would be a real benefit, right?  

We call them Loan Signing Agents and yes, this is the only way to make a serious living as a notary. We do offer a one-day class on how to notarize loan documents. It does take a bit of extra knowledge to be efficient.

Carrie Christensen

Tell us briefly about yourself. Why did you become a notary public? Why did you start Notary Public Seminars?

Directly out of college, I started working for National Notary Association. It was a perfect fit, as I love public speaking and the law. I decided to start my own company because I felt I could create a better seminar and make more money on my own. This has been a great niche for me.

Is there anything you would like to add? I’m very grateful to partner with Santa Monica College. I feel they truly care about their students and educational vendors.

Carrie Christensen will teach three classes this spring: Become a Notary in One Day, Renew as a Notary in One Day!, and Become a Loan Signing Agent: Build Your Own Notary Signing Business.

 

 

By Michelle King, Director of Career & Contract Education

Michelle King

Happy New Year to all our wonderful students, instructors and community members!

We’re starting our year in an exciting way by holding our Third Annual Open House this Saturday, Jan. 21 that will feature class discounts, mini presentations, demonstrations and more.

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The Open House, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will give you a chance to meet instructors and staff and learn about the rich variety of offerings in the Spring Semester. It will be held at the SMC Bundy Campus, Room 123, 3171 S. Bundy Dr., Los Angeles. Ample free parking is available.

More than 20 instructors will be on hand to talk about their classes, including art, Italian, French, writing, ballet, photography, health and fitness, stand-up comedy, sports, self-development and more. You’ll be able to enjoy instructor mini presentations and demonstrations and to receive 15 percent discounts if you register for classes at the Open House. Free SMC Community Ed totes will also be given out while supplies last, and refreshments will be served.

Jackline Daneshrad at table

Last year we were thrilled that we drew 120 visitors to our Open House, and many took advantage of the discounts to sign up for one or more classes each. You can drop by any time between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and we think you’ll be pleased by the wide variety of classes that will be offered in spring. In fact, we have slated more than 170 classes, workshops and tours, including several new offerings, for the Spring Semester, which begins Feb. 13.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have questions about the Open House or our classes. You can call us at (310) 434-3400 or email us at commed@smc.edu. Our website is http://commed.smc.edu and you can register for classes online.

Bryan Ricci in Living Color

Posted: December 20, 2016 by Bruce Smith in General

Bryan Ricci not only paints in vibrant colors, he thinks about what color means in contemporary Los Angeles.

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The painting instructor – who has taught at SMC Community Ed for three years and also teaches at Loyola Marymount University and gives private lessons to elementary school children – continuously explores themes of modern life in his art work.

Lately, he has been focusing on color and the application of paint in abstract forms.

“The work that I make now is about a process of application of paint, and I’m doing things with paint that maybe hasn’t been done before,” Ricci said in an interview in his West Los Angeles studio.

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But he’s also excited by a recent show of his in Brisbane, Australia called “Chromophilia,” a celebration of color that was informed by the book “Chromophobia.”

“Color is really important and it reflects my life,” he said. “It’s why I came to L.A. from New York.”

He explained that the vibrant colors of Los Angeles – reflected in its natural environment, architecture and diversity of people – captured his imagination when he first visited the city in the late 1990s. He moved to L.A. in 2000 to attend graduate school at Otis College of Design & Art, where he earned a Master’s of Fine Arts degree.

But to his chagrin, he has noticed that L.A. is becoming increasingly beige — reflected in recently constructed apartment buildings, McMansions and other elements of the city’s built environment. Hence, in reaction to that, he turned to a celebration of color.

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Ricci has explored many styles of painting in his career. He started out as a landscape painter and is interested in going back to that.

“My landscapes will be a tribute to the environment because we’re in dangerous times,” he said. “I’m hoping the paintings will help me or others remember what is important.”

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A native of upstate New York, Ricci received his BFA from Purchase College School of Art and Design SUNY in 2000. He has been exhibited widely across the United States in group and solo shows, including his 2005 solo show “A Closer Look,” held at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. In 2006 his art appeared as part of an exhibit of American painters at the Insa Art Center in Seoul, South Korea.

In the Winter Session he will teach two classes – Landscape Painting and Paint Anything! (both of which begin Jan. 7).

“I really love to teach,” he said. “I like to keep an art conversation going. And it helps my work too.”

Bryan Ricci will teach – Landscape Painting and Paint Anything! (both of which begin Jan. 7) in the Winter Session

One of the amazing things about SMC Community Ed’s Stand-Up Comedy Class is that the students “graduate” by performing at the famed Comedy Store.

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The most recent group of student “grads” performed at Comedy Club Nov. 12.

Another terrific aspect of the class is that it is taught by comedian Jonathan Leigh Solomon, who has appeared regularly on “Late Show with David Letterman” as well as being featured on HBO’s Stand-Up Spotlight and Comedy Central.

The most recent crop of students held their graduation show on November 12. The show, this time hosted by the Improvisation Comedy Club, featured graduates from a class which included students whose other titles included (professional) comedian, doctor, fashion model, actor, studio exec, professor and politician.

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Jonathan Leigh Solomon

Also included in the show were alumni from previous workshops, some of whom are now regulars at the Improv, Comedy Store, Ice House and Flappers!

After seeing the show, an Improv manager commented, “The comedians seemed so confident and poised considering they were first timers and what was really a surprise was the quality of the jokes. Exceptional considering these were (mostly) first time performers.”

The next “Stand Up Comedy Workshop with Comedy Store Graduation Show” starts Jan. 4 at SMC’s easy-to-park Bundy Campus, 3171 S. Bundy Drive, Los Angeles.

By Rev. Dr. Louise-Diana

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Fear of public speaking is a common phobia. It can range from slight nervousness to paralyzing fear and panic. Many people with a fear of public speaking avoid public speaking situations altogether, or they suffer through them with shaking hands and a quavering voice. But with preparation and persistence, you can overcome your fear. These steps may help:

Know your topic. The better you understand what you’re talking about — and the more you care about the topic — the less likely you’ll make a mistake or get off track. And if you do get lost, you’ll be able to recover quickly. Take some time to consider what questions the audience may ask and have your responses ready.

Get organized. Ahead of time, carefully plan out the information you want to present, including any props, audio or visual aids you’ll use. The more organized you are, the less nervous you’ll be. Use an outline on a small card to keep yourself on track. If possible, take time to visit the place where you’ll be speaking and review available equipment before your presentation.

Practice, and then practice some more. Practice your complete presentation several times. Do it for a few people you’re comfortable with. Ask them to give you feedback. Or, record it with a video camera and watch it so that you can see opportunities for improvement. • Visualize your success. Imagine that your presentation will go well. Positive thoughts can help decrease some of your negativity about your social performance and relieve some anxiety.

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Do some deep breathing. This can be very calming. Take two or more deep, slow breaths before you get up to the podium and during your speech.

Focus on your material, not on your audience. People mainly pay attention to new information — not how it’s presented. They may not notice your nervousness. If audience members do notice that you’re nervous, they may root for you and want your presentation to be a success.

Don’t be afraid of a moment of silence. If you lose track of what you’re saying or you begin to feel nervous and your mind goes blank, it can seem like you’ve stopped talking for an eternity. But in reality, it’s probably only a few seconds. Even if it’s longer, it’s likely your audience won’t mind a pause to consider what you’ve been saying. This might be a good time to take a few slow, deep breaths.

Recognize your success. After your speech or presentation, give yourself a pat on the back. It may not have been perfect, but chances are you’re far more critical of yourself than your audience is. Everyone makes mistakes during speeches or presentations. Look at any mistakes you made as an opportunity to improve your skills.

Get support. Join a group that offers support for people who have difficulty with public speaking. One effective resource is Toastmasters, a nonprofit organization with local chapters that focuses on training people in speaking and leadership skills.

Most important, when speaking be your most authentic self.

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Rev. Dr. Louise-Diana teaches several classes at SMC Community Education, including “Fear of Public Speaking – How to Overcome It.”

By Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education

It’s not even Halloween yet, but I’m already planning for January 2017. And the plans are exciting.

You will be able to enroll online in our Winter 2017 session in just a few days (Oct. 28), and you will find you have a choice of 111 classes, including several new ones such as Plein Air Painting, Spanish for Criminal Justice, and Beginning Modern Dance.

We will be launching new Professional Development courses and certificate programs, including World Class Manufacturing and Cisco Networking Academy.

And our Annual Open House is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Room 123 at our Bundy campus. Like last year, we will offer a special 15 percent discount for anyone who enrolls in classes at the event.

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This past January’s Open House was such a success that we are looking to make the 2017 event bigger and better. The energy, enthusiasm and excitement of our 120 visitors and instructors were palpable. More than 20 instructors volunteered to be at tables to allow prospective students and others to ask questions and get a sense of the diverse mix of courses we offer. Ten of those instructors made excellent presentations on their classes and – in the case of our dance and fitness instructors – got our audience on their feet to learn some basic and fun movements.

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So, please mark your calendar for Oct. 28 and Jan. 21. More details on our Winter Session and Open House will be forthcoming in Sound Bites, e-blasts and our social media outlets!

Meanwhile, we welcome your questions, comments or suggestions. You can reach us at commed@smc.edu or (310) 434-3400.

Happy Halloween!

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LaWeen Salvo (center)

It’s the beginning of a new school year, an always exciting time for Community Ed as it brings in new students, new classes, new dynamics. We hear over and over from students how our program has uncovered new talents, stimulated minds and bodies, opened up new possibilities – even changed lives.

And so, because we are in a celebratory mood as the academic year begins, we decided to hold a Short Essay Contest on “Why I Love SMC Community Education.”

The results thrilled us, and we picked four winners, each with his or her unique perspective. The winners come from as far away as Palmdale and as near as Santa Monica. They come from all ethnic backgrounds and all walks of life.

Each of the contestants will receive a special Community Education gift basket – as well as a credit voucher of $20, good until June 30, 2017, to use for Community Education classes.

Please enjoy the following Short Essay Contest winning entries.

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Amy Sasaki

Amy Sasaki, Culver City

I am originally from Japan and one thing that I liked about living in the U.S. is that there are so many opportunities to learn at ANY age. I took classes from both Santa Monica College and its Community Education program. The classes are offered in many different areas, and I particularly enjoyed studying subjects such as Graphic Design, Computer Programming, Hawaiian Dancing, Sewing and Sushi Making (the instructor was a Caucasian woman who learned how to make sushi in Japan, and I was the only Japanese student in my class. Cool, right?). SMC consistently keeps adding new, exciting classes and it’s always fun to check what’s new. Thank you SMC!

Amy, a former project manager currently studying to become a CPA, has taken classes at SMC Community Ed since 1999. She says, “I believe education is the most powerful tool. Taking one class won’t change your life instantly but ‘lifelong learning’ does.”

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Mark Watson

Mark Watson, Palmdale

I love the SMC Community Education program because the classes have instant impact. Back in July, I went to Tourist for A Day: Cellphone Photography, taught by Brian Leng. He gave us tricks and techniques for maximizing our cellphone camera capabilities when taking photographs, like using the self-timer and burst mode to get a better picture. Two weeks later I went on my summer vacation to the New England area. Immediately I could apply my newfound knowledge, and snapped some awesome memories. I can’t wait to take my next class from SMC Community Education.

Mark, a manager at an IT company, says he is a budding photographer approaching his retirement years. He’s looking forward to traveling more, so he is learning how to capture those trip moments with his camera and phone.

LaWeen Salvo, Santa Monica

Shortly after retiring, I was fortunate to discover SMC Community Education with all its possibilities – indulge in the arts, become a notary, dabble in writing, for starters. I signed up for Carmelo Fiannaca’s Mosaic Class, and from day one I was hooked. An artist himself, Carmelo knows his stuff – design, material, technique – and he shares generously of that knowledge. He encourages each of us to tap into our own creative well, and he creates a supportive atmosphere for doing so, for getting lost in the process. I’ll branch out one day and take other SMC Community Ed classes, once I manage to unhook myself from mosaic art!

LaWeen, a retired elementary school teacher, took her first class at SMC Community Ed in January 2014. She enjoys gardening, camping in the Sierras, walking/sitting at the beach, reading, learning languages (at the moment, Italian), and doing mosaic work.

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Tyrone Dyse

Tyrone Dyse, Venice

I love SMC Community Education because it has the highest ethical, conscious, intelligent worldview of education in the world. The reason it has these qualities is because SMC Community Education hires great teachers, and our whole community surrounding the college is of a very high level philosophically. Our college and community take a real-world view of our community, which is filled with people from all walks of life from all over the world and cultures. As a result, the college and community together have created a very intellectual environment that is without bias or prejudging.

Our beach community and SMC education community are dedicated to intelligence, the sharing of ideas, cultures and disciplines, and we strive to keep an open-minded approach to education. Education in its best form is here with some of the best teachers you can find in the world.

Tyrone works as a manager in standards compliance in industry and commerce. He attended SMC and received a B.A. cum laude in Philosophy from Lincoln University of Missouri and did graduate work at the University of Kansas. He also teaches Chen style tai chi, Lan su Kung Fu and Yoga.

3D Printing – Ushering in a Brave New World

Posted: September 6, 2016 by Bruce Smith in General

By Gregory van Zuyen
(SMC Community Ed will host a special one-time workshop, “The World of 3D Printing,” devoted to exploring the financial and creative potential of 3D printing for home and business. The workshop, taught by Photoshop instructor Gregory van Zuyen, will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 in Room 127 at the SMC Bundy Campus, 3171 S. Bundy Dr., Los Angeles. Join us for this exciting day of discovery as we explore the methods, machines, and materials that visionaries are claiming will become our third industrial revolution. He will also teach “Introduction to 3D Printing” Oct. 27 – Dec. 8. For more information, call (310) 434-3400 or email commed@smc.edu.)

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Gary Diulio of 3D Rapid Prototyping displays his business card, a two-inch clear plastic machine, complete with moving gears.

Imagine a day when you can repair your car by going on the Internet to download the computer file you need for the new part and printing it out on your home 3D printer. That day is here.

The world as we know it is quickly changing, thanks to the innovations of 3D printing. Everything from food to medical surgery to architecture is being affected by the developments made with printers that can produce objects through the precise application of materials in x, y, and z coordinates. What may be most surprising to people is how much these machines will change business and manufacturing as we know it.

For starters, it is already altering the way companies develop new products. The introduction of 3D printing to the field of engineering is already creating light-year leaps in how products are designed, according to Rich Bernard, director of marketing for Fusion Formatics, a company specializing in the newly developed field of rapid prototyping. In addition to rapid prototyping, Fusion Formatics is also the official representative for MarkForged 3D printers.

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A 3D model of a real person.

Bernard, a Lockheed Martin engineer specializing in material composition, explains how the 3D printing process accelerates the development time of new products, in everything from bicycle parts to running shoes to aeronautical components.

“In the past,” said Bernard, “engineering firms would have to portion a good deal of their development money into hiring specialized engineers whose function was to analyze the loads and stresses based on the blueprints of the proposed new product. Now, with these devices, the products can be made, the stress points can be immediately tested and changes to the product design can be made instantly.

“This is because companies no longer have to send their designs out for theoretical testing or have to budget for expensive manufacturing of prototypes that may not be fully ready to go into production,” Bernard said. “What used to cost thousands of dollars in product development is now in the hundreds. And getting cheaper. And on top of that, the time frame for development is now in terms of days and hours, not weeks and months.”

The reason for these ongoing leaps in advancement is due in part to the continual perfecting of the 3D printers but also to the innovations in the materials these devices are using. Everything from pancake batter to concrete is being poured in unique shapes through the use of precise engineering, creating an array of products. Objects can be now made seamlessly enclosed with moving parts inside. They can be printed in clear plastic, or in a host of colors.

Credit for pioneering the 3D printer industry belongs to Chuck Hull, who patented the process in 1986. Hull formed the company 3D Systems, represented in southern California by Gary Diulio of 3D Rapid Prototyping in Garden Grove.

“The capabilities of the machines are incredible,” Diulio said. “There are artists who have purchased the machines to turn out these fantastic creations. Shapes and things that weren’t possible before.

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Examples of 3D printing

Diulio displayed his business card, a two-inch clear plastic machine itself, complete with moving gears. He turned its crank as it spun and pumped pistons on a cam.

“Because these objects can be laid layer-by-layer, the printers can allow for gaps in the layers that make these moving parts possible in a single printing,” he noted. “That’s how intricate these printers are. It’s only a matter now of what can be done with them.”

Among the leading industries in using 3D printing is medicine. Because of these devices, doctors have made bold moves to apply them in a host of ways.

Boston Children’s Hospital used one to make an exact-size 3D printout of a child’s brain to help guide the doctors through the difficult surgery. In Italy, scientists for the company Ira3D are working with new compounds that will allow 3D printed parts to replace bones.

Gregory van Zuyen teaches a variety of design classes, including Photo Shop, Adobe Illustrator, and Design & Publish Your Own Websites. He is an award winning graphic designer and worked as the Creative Director for Language Magazine.

The best way to tell the story of Community Ed mosaic art instructor Carmelo Fiannaca is to visit him in his stunning Tuscan-style villa with its sweeping view of the Malibu coastline.

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It’s there you will see the beautiful mosaic work that this award-winning and internationally exhibited artist has done throughout the house, both indoors and outdoors and in his workshop.

It’s there you will see his outdoor pizza oven, a clue to his love for cooking for others.

View images of Carmelo Fiannaca’s work

What the house will not fully reveal is his range of artistic talents, or the impressive commissions he has received (including John Wayne’s former estate), or the journey that led him from Sicily to California via Switzerland, or how Santa Monica College changed his life, or how much he loves teaching students who all have interesting stories of their own.

Fiannaca’s deep passion for art began as a young child in Agrigento Sicily, Italy. His family moved to Switzerland when he was young, and it was during this time that he discovered drawing and painting.

By 10 years old, he gained attention through his comics and stories, whose illustrations showed advanced abilities in art. During a summer trip to Sicily, Carmelo discovered the Cathedral of Monreale in Palermo where he became inspired to explore the color, texture and surfaces of mosaic art.

He received his degree from Plattenleger Verband in Lucerne, Switzerland in design, restoration, fabrication and installation. Carmelo continued his studies through a scholarship from the National Art Association and later ended up at SMC, where he received his degree from the School of Design, Art and Architecture.

The path that led Fiannaca to SMC’s art school was actually a musical one. A guitarist, he came to Los Angeles in 1993 to study at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood. Afterwards, he started playing in clubs and bars in Hollywood with a band called Big Muckamuck, whose lead signer was Tequila, a well-known vocalist.

“That’s what kept me here,” he said. “I remember thinking, ‘This is fun.’ But on the side, I was making mosaic tables.”

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Eventually, he moved back to Europe, sold his house in Sicily and returned to L.A. to study sculpture and art at SMC.

“I loved the Art Department,” he said. “So many wonderful professors took me under their wing because they knew how dedicated I was. The school was like my studio, and I would often arrive before classes started and leave after the last professor left.”

Fiannaca cites two professors– sculpture professor Don Hartmann and Ronn Davis, currently Art Department chair – as particularly influential in his artistic pursuits and career. In fact, Davis, who is still a close friend, was the one who suggested Fiannaca to teach at SMC Community Ed, which he started doing five years ago.

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Fiannaca not only took classes through the Art Department, but he was also admitted to SMC’s School of Design, Art and Architecture, a widely praised program for a small group of talented students who were taught by leading artists such as George Herms.

Right after graduating from SMC, Fiannaca got a significant commission to do a mural in a wealthy couple’s home in Montana. It took him a year to complete the mural in his studio before shipping it to his client.

That launched his career as an artist who designs, fabricates and installs one-of-a-kind mosaics and sculptures for gallery, architectural, community and home settings. He says his mosaics are produced using the finest materials gathered from sources around the world: smalti, gold, marble, vitreous glass, ceramic and more.

He recently completed a three-year-long installation at Duke’s Point – the former home of John Wayne – in Newport Beach. His award-winning art is exhibited both nationally and internationally and is represented in private, public and corporate collections.

An accomplished artist, he travels the world and is constantly exploring both classical and cutting-edge mosaics, sculptures and installations. He continues to draw his inspiration from the world around him, and his work reflects many of the masters: Picasso, Gaudi, Warhol, Klimt, Hundertwasse, Nikki de Saint Phalle, Simon Rodia (creator of the Watts Towers), as well as his own Italian mosaic art heritage.

Carmelo Fiannaca will teach Introduction to Mosaic Art beginning Sept. 10, Mosaic Art II beginning Sept. 10, and Mosaic Art IIbeginning Oct. 15.

By Michelle King, Director of Career & Contract Education

In our continuing effort to build industry partnerships and to help train the local community in gaining high-demand professional skills, I’m pleased to announce that Community Ed’s SMC Extension is planning to launch courses to help individuals obtain the highly regarded Avid User Certification.

Avid Certification Program, photo by Pete Brown

Photo by Pete Brown

As the leading digital editing software, the Avid User Certification is a highly regarded credential that should serve well to help students and professionals enhance and expand their career opportunities.

The test prep course for Avid’s Media Composer – the film/video editing application used in most movie and television productions – will provide instructions that are specific to passing the Avid Certification examination.  The certification-training course will be offered via a condensed schedule, with the goal of appealing to those who want a quick and focused learning opportunity. The course will conclude with proctored examination sitting.

ProTools Training photo by H. Michael Miley

Photo by H. Michael Miley

Later, we will be adding a prep course for those seeking to successfully complete the Avid Pro Tools User Certificate examination. The Avid Pro Tools user certification is highly regarded by those in the entertainment industry involved in the digital music audio composing, recording, editing and mixing.

The Avid certificate is the latest addition to our industry recognized certification offerings. Some of the other programs that lead to certification include the OMCP (Online Marketing Certified Professional) designation that offers a wide range of study including:

·         SEO & Social Media Marketing with Online Marketing Fundamentals

·         Social Media Marketing & SEO with Online Marketing Fundamentals

·         Social Media Marketing & Web Analytics with Online Marketing Fundamentals

·         Social Media Marketing with Online Marketing Fundamentals

As always, we are excited to build on our program offering to cultivate opportunities in exciting careers with great job growth potential.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want more information at commed@smc.edu or (310) 434-3400.