Information Communication Technologies & Digital Media Sector Team

By Karen O’Connor, Faculty Chair Business and Information Technology, Past President California Business Education Association, Faculty Business Office Technology Cerro Coso Community College

If you teach Business Office Technology, you may know that most of California’s 114 college have a form of Business Office Technology programs, certificates, and courses, and until now, no two are alike! Teaching in this field, you know that just keeping up with the current day technology is a daunting task in terms of hours and continued learning, never mind all the curriculum updates and changes needed over the years. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all put our heads together to come up with a common plan?  The good news is, WE DID.

In California, thanks to a state initiative and the volunteer elbow grease of a group of community college faculty, adopting a common plan just got a bit easier for you. Over the past few years, a group of faculty members of the California Business Education Association crafted 22 Business Information Worker Course Descriptors and three model certificates.  These certificates include one 12-unit Business Information Worker Quick Start certificate, one 18-unit Business Information Worker One certificate, and one 30-unit Business Information Worker Two certificate.  Students who achieve the 30- unit certificate can also earn general education units and thus qualify for the Associate in Science degree.

Now that the curriculum has been vetted and all technical considerations have been met, the model curriculum is now on the books at the state since fall 2018.  Business Office Technology/Business Information Worker model curriculum is open for business!  You can submit your curriculum for review and matching with the C-ID (course identifiers) that have been developed.  So far, over 70 courses have been submitted and approved for colleges including Cerro Coso Community College, Folsom Lake College, Imperial Valley College, Irvine Valley College, Modesto Junior College, West Hills College Coalinga, and Woodland Community College.  Why not add your name to the list!

The goal is a system that allows students to start here and finish there and have increased recognition by employers for a program of study that begins to gain momentum with more similarities than differences throughout the state.  The 12-unit certificate is now being used in some high schools for juniors and seniors, so they may graduate high school with a college certificate that contributes immediately to their employability.

Will all programs look the same? No, there is definitely room for local flavor to meet local needs. Does everyone have to adopt the new curriculum? Absolutely not.  Courses approved for C-IDs as equivalent, do not need to be carbon copies of each other.   Many of the courses were developed in one-unit blocks, but schools can mix and match how they present their curriculum, allowing flexibility such as identifying more than one C-ID for a course.  This way, we can focus on the content, and not debate endlessly about whether keyboarding and Word should be taught together or not, or whether a college offers courses in one, two, or three-unit blocks.  The committee has tried to craft a design that will work for as many options as possible, while still addressing the same core outcomes that are desired by employers in the workplace.

The roll out is impacting the high schools too, where business office curriculum is now being presented in dual enrollment classes. At Cerro Coso Community College, we pass along our syllabi and online courses in a package, directly to the high school teachers!  Each of the past two springs we have had six students graduate from high school and the college’s 12-unit certificate at the same time!  What a great start for these students. The timing for this collaboration could not be better for us as faculty, and for the students who have barely seen a business course in our schools for a long time now.

If you’d like to submit your courses for approval, have your articulation office submit them to the C-ID website and we will see to it that your courses gain the C-ID designation. Contact Karen O’Connor for additional information at or visit the website:

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