Early College Experience

Career and Technical Programs

Students in participating high schools can enjoy a unique and meaningful secondary experience. Through a partnership between Northwest Technical Institute (NTI) and NorthWest Arkansas Community College, Early College Experience provides access to high quality Career and Technical programs. Students can earn high school and college credit in Criminal Justice, Dental Assisting, Certified Nursing Assistant, and Patient Care Assisting.

Technical training through NWACC Early College Experience is paid for by participating school districts, and funded by the State of Arkansas Department of Career Education

Eligible students must have a 2.0 high school GPA and one of the following minimum Reading scores.  Currently, there is no Reading requirement for HVAC, but strong reading and comprehension skills are recommended:

Test Score

Criminal Justice

A fast growing profession that offers employment opportunities in law enforcement, corrections, and private security. Students gain an overview of law and employment options. Students who successfully complete this one-year program earn 18 NWACC credit hours and a Certificate of Proficiency in Criminal Justice.

Dental Assistants

An integral part of the dental care team and increase the efficiency of the dentist in the delivery of oral health care. In addition to computer and clerical skills, dental assistants are proficient in patient care, dietary counseling, monitoring vital signs, administering and monitoring nitrous oxygen, taking impressions, and providing post-operative care and instructions. Classroom, laboratory, and clinical instruction provide students with a broad background in all aspects of dentistry. Internships will be provided in area offices under the guidance of dentists and assistants in the community Students must be able to provide their own transportation to and from the various clinics.  Students who successfully complete this one-semester program earn 9 NWACC credit hours.

The Medical Professions

Offers expanding career opportunities in response to the growing needs of a rapidly aging population. The curriculum for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) follows the Arkansas Office of Long Term Care Training Program for Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Students are recommended to have taken Intro to Medical Professions, Medical Terminology, and Human Anatomy and Physiology, if available to them.

After successful completion of the class, students receive 3 hours of college credit from NWACC and are eligible to take the Nurse Assistant Certification Exam. 


The PCA+ course expands the student's knowledge of healthcare gained in the CNA course and introduces advanced patient care skills, professional development training, and hands on lab and clinical training at area hospitals. Addressing patient care needs/techniques unique to acute care hospitals is the focus. Successful students will receive Certificate of Completion.

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC)

The HVAC Program provides training to students interested in a career in HVAC, or those currently working in the trade seeking to improve their knowledge. This program provides knowledge and skills relevant to HVAC Technicians, and incorporates energy efficiency and green installation techniques. The coursework can help students prepare for the EPA Exam, and we offer participants the opportunity to take the exam during their time in the program. The HVAC courses combine classroom and hands-on lab experience taught by qualified experts in the trade (on the job hours not required). Students earn 12 college credit hours after successful completion of the HVAC Program. Although Reading scores are not required, strong reading and comprehension skills are recommended.


Locations and Schedules


Secondary Career Center at Farmington - 4 N Double Springs Road, Farmington, AR

8:15 am - 11:15 am    CNA and PCA+ - Fall or Spring semesters
8:15 am - 11:15 amDental Assisting - Fall or Spring semesters
8:15 am - 11:15 amCriminal Justice - Full academic year

Gravette and School of Innovation

Secondary Career Center at School of Innovation
1:40 pm - 3:10 pmCNA/PCA+ - Full academic year
Secondary Career Center at Gravette High School
8:05 am - 10:05 amHVAC - Full academic year

NWACC Center for Health Professions (CHP) - One College Drive, Bentonville, AR

7:30 am - 9:00 am     CNA and PCA+ - Full academic year
9:30 am - 11:00 amDental Assisting - Full academic year
1:30 pm - 3:00 pmCNA and PCA+ - Full academic year
12:30 pm - 3:30 pmCriminal Justice - Full academic year