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MAYHEW — East Mississippi Community College’s Business and Office Technology department has revamped its course offerings and added three new programs of study.
               In addition to Administrative Office Technology and Medical Billing and Coding Technology, which were already available, students can now also major in Accounting Technology, Business Management Technology or Computer Technology.
               “Our courses provide the essential skills needed for all businesses, such as payroll and accounting,” said Trina Dendy, who is one of three Business Office and Technology instructors who comprise the teaching staff for the department. The other two instructors are Zelma Fulgham and Jodi Pierce.
               Most of the programs are available as one-year career certificates, technical certificates or Associate of Applied Science degrees. Many of the courses overlap. No matter which discipline students major in they still have to take courses such as Introduction to Microsoft Office and Applied Business Math, for example.
               “By adding the new programs, our students have the opportunity to add to their skills,” Fulgham said. “A student taking Administrative Office Technology can take a few more classes and get a degree in Accounting Technology as well, which opens up more job opportunities.”
               Potential careers include office managers, accountants, executive secretaries and records clerks. The most popular discipline is Medical Billing and Coding Technology, which prepares students to work in the medical field processing insurance claims and medical records.
               “There is a high demand for qualified employees,” Fulgham said.
               West Point resident Nikki Stafford earned two degrees through the department, majoring in Medical Billing and Coding Technology and Office Systems Technology, the latter of which is now Administrative Office Technology.
               She worked for a while in the medical insurance field but feels she has found her true calling as a head teller with Cadence Bank.
               “The classes I took at EMCC really correlate to the work I do in my field,” Stafford said. “I learned a lot that helped me in my management position.”
               All classes in the Business Office Technology field are available online and the only time online students have to come to the school is when they take a test. Students who don’t reside near EMCC can have their tests proctored at another college. Students residing in Meridian, Florida, South Dakota and England have taken online courses through the program.
               Fulgham, who has worked with EMCC for 25 years, was among the first instructors at the college to teach online courses, which have grown in popularity over the years.
               “I would say 100 percent of our Business and Office Technology students are taking advantage of online classes, with more than half of them taking all of their courses online,” Fulgham said. “We have some students we don’t meet face-to-face until we see them at graduation.”
               Pierce said many of her students likely would not be able to attend college if it were not for the availability of the online courses.
               “Online classes allows them to study from home while maintaining a fulltime job and taking care of their children,” Pierce said.
               Stafford, a single mother with two children, Drake, 10, and Aiden, 6, took many of her classes at EMCC online.
               “For me, that was the easiest and most convenient thing to do,” Stafford said of the online classes. “Whenever I needed anything, I could shoot Trina or Jodi an email and they always got right back to me.”
               For more information about the Business and Office Technology program, email Trina Dendy at; Zelma Fulgham at; or Jodi Pierce at
East Mississippi Community College
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