Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Is the San Mateo CAA just like the vocational/technical programs that I often see advertised?

A: Absolutely not. CAA combines academic courses with relevant industry practices that lead to college credit and industry certifications at little to no cost. You can avoid the high cost of vocational schools by enrolling in CAA. You have opportunities for internships, job shadowing, targeted field trips, industry mentors, professional certifications, all within a small learning community with a consistent cohort of teachers and peers.


Q: If I study in a CAA program, doesn’t that limit my opportunity to attend college?

A: It’s just the opposite. Students in Career Academies graduate from high school and enroll in college at a higher rate than other students. Most CAA certificate programs offer day and night classes, which allow you to earn college credit while working in their chosen field. The combination of academics and marketable skills provides a strong basis for additional post-secondary studies.


Q: How do I Apply?

A: Applying is easy. You can apply by downloading the Allied Health or Automotive application here and sending it to: Career Advancement Academy, Skyline College, 3300 College Dr., San Bruno CA 94066-1662, Attention: Soledad McCarthy, Program Services Coordinator.


Q: When do classes start?

A: We currently have a rolling admission process for all CAA certification programs. Classes typically begin at the start of the Fall and Spring semesters and have mandatory orientation dates required for completed admission. Make sure you know when these dates are and what is necessary to complete your enrollment.


Q: Do Career Advancement Academies emphasize finding certified students entry-level jobs?

A: One of the most powerful things about The San Mateo CAA is that students gain a solid academic foundation AND marketable skills. Students are enrolled in college, but there is also an immediate opportunity to enter the workforce with a marketable skill; we will assist you with finding employment. You have the choice to pursue additional certification programs or find a job. It is just that simple.


Q: Is CAA focused on students who are behind in their studies?

A: No. An important benefit of the CAA cohort/learning community experience is that you learn with a contextualized curriculum focused on a specific industry. Because academic courses are interwoven into the skills training, students of all learning styles and performance levels are able to achieve success. The CAA is the opposite of the "slow track". The accelerated courses allow you the opportunity to enter into the workforce soon after the completion of your first certificate.


Q: I have no previous automotive experience – can I still apply?

A: Absolutely! This program is designed for persons interested in the automotive field who have no previous knowledge or experience. You will find that through the program you will quickly gain the knowledge you need to start your career.


Q: I have automotive experience, but no certification – am I eligible?

A: Yes. Your experience will give you a leg up during the certification program. You may be eligible to test out of some of the program requirements and you gain to learn more by sharing your knowledge with your cohort/learning community.


Q: Why does the automotive program need a copy of my DMV record?

A: As part of the program, you will have access to vehicles and may on occasion need to test drive the cars that are being worked on. You need a valid driver’s license and copy of your DMV record for insurance purposes.


Q: Do I have to go to the DMV to get a copy of my driving record?

A: No. You can visit the DMV website to request a copy of your driving record. http://dmv.ca.gov/online/dr/welcome.htm. The site will prompt you to register first (this is free). Then you will fill out the form to request your record. The cost is $2.00 and you must be ready to print the form at the time you request it.


Q: How do I know whether I should take the Math/English courses?

A: We know Math and English can be scary. As a part of the application process, applicants are told to take an assessment (scheduled with the CAA counselor). The results will determine whether you should take the Math and/or English courses offered in the program. The benefit of the San Mateo CAA is the Math and English course are taught in a contextualized method making it easier to grasp. This approach takes a lot of the fear away from those intimidating subjects.


Q: What jobs am I qualified for after I finish the program?

A: Depending on your certification program, you may qualify for entry-level technical employment. The added benefit of San Mateo CAA is that you receive certification recognized by employers and at any given time, students can return to the program for further certification to support their career advancement goals.


Q: Does the Allied Health Certification Program require a background check?

A: Yes. Because healthcare is interacting with individuals who are most vulnerable, it is mandated by the state that you do not have a criminal record. All applicants must not have any prior convictions on their record. If you do have a conviction, you are not eligible for the program. However, we can direct you to free or low cost legal services that may enable you to clear your record in time for registration. Contact us at any time during your application process for assistance with background checks.


Share this page on: