Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Stumpf, Arthur D.

Committee Member

Davis, James E.

Committee Member

Coats, Linda.

Committee Member

Wiseman, William M.

Committee Member

King, Stephanie B.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


Career technical education plays an important part in the mission of community colleges – providing educational opportunities needed by members of their communities. Career technical programs prepare students for entry into the workforce. Accountability standards for career technical programs, from local, state, and federal bodies, monitor placement of career technical graduates in jobs related to their field of study. To help these students become more competitive in the job market, curricula are being aligned with national certifications to help students graduate from career technical programs with stackable credentials. Stackable credentials refer to the idea of “stacking” degrees, certifications, and credentials along the way to an education in a particular field of study. Some of these credentials can be costly, though, requiring career technical program administrators to question whether implementing this stackable credential structure is truly beneficial for the students. The purpose of this study was to examine survey results of industry representatives who serve on advisory committees for career technical programs at a rural community college to ascertain whether earning stackable credentials in career technical programs at a rural community college does increase opportunities for employment. Data were obtained from an Industry Input Survey conducted at a rural community college. Descriptive statistics were used for data analysis. Results of this study indicate that while entry-level employment requirements focus more on a high-school diploma or high school equivalency exam and an earned Associate of Applied Science degree, the majority of participants did indicate that holding a national certification would give a potential employee hiring preferences. Results of the analysis are presented in narrative and table form. Conclusions and recommendations for future research follow discussion of analysis.



associate of applied science degree||employability||certificates||career technical education||certifications||Stackable credentials||nationally-recognized credential||accountability standards