December 15, 2016

After working in the housing industry for several years, Century College alum Kristina Smith knew that she wanted  to take her career in a new direction. “I worked primarily in sales/customer service with rental properties, home mortgage, and real estate.  However, I wanted to continue to use my customer service skills, and sell a product that I believe in,” she remembers.

“My research showed that Century College offered a classroom program for solar energy, and, having been out of school for 20 years, I knew the classroom was where I wanted to learn.” Kristina notes. “My research also showed Century was a not-for-profit and an accredited school, which was very important to me, and it was the most affordable per credit of the MN colleges.”

Everything about Century fit with what Kristina was looking for in a college at point in her life and career.  ”I wanted a great education at an affordable price, and the option of having classes available at all times of day, so that I could schedule and take them around family and employment commitments.  Additionally, I had assistance from not just other students and instructors, but staff who helped with registration, financial aid, and offering guidance in buying books.” 

When Kristina started, she knew nothing about online courses, solar, electricity, building, and computer design–and, she was the only female in her solar classes. Undeterred, she embraced learning about her newly chosen field, asking a lot of questions, and working hard.  Her ambition was to work for a specific company, and she knew she could do the work. 

“At Century, I learned that All Energy Solar was the largest residential installer in Minnesota, and with my background working with homeowners, my goal was to get a job with that company. I’ve been there for over a year now. I was hired while still in school, and stayed at Century to complete the Advanced Photovoltaic Systems Certificate, graduating spring 2016.” Kristina adds. ”It was such a good fit, my husband also went back to Century, first with marketing and computer programming, but now he’s a solar student and recently started working at All Energy Solar as an installer.”

Learn more about Century College’s Solar and Renewable Energy program.