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A Life-Changing Experience
American Institute offers students an innovative education and prepares them for meaningful careers that are in demand in today’s job market.

by Matt Cosentino

Robert Moore never intended to embark on a career in education. In fact, having watched both of his parents serve as longtime teachers, he wanted to do anything but follow in their footsteps, so he decided to study business in college and went to work in the mortgage industry. Eventually, however, he just couldn’t resist the pull any longer.

That was 20 years ago, and now Moore can’t imagine doing anything else. As campus director at the Cherry Hill location of American Institute – an organization that has been providing innovative learning experiences to students for nearly a century – he gets to witness firsthand how education has the power to be life altering.

“My heart always came back to having an impact on students, so I guess I was cut from my parents’ cloth,” Moore says. “Once I got into it, I fell in love with education. I started off in admissions and that was great, because you get to meet the students in the beginning, and at graduation you get to see how much they’ve grown, not only as professionals but also as human beings. That’s very important to us here: We don’t want to just help you train for your new career, but we hope that we have an impact of change on every aspect of your life.”

American Institute has a rich history of fulfilling that very mission. Founded in Connecticut as the Hartford Secretarial School in 1924 – the school marks its centennial anniversary this year! it has since grown to five locations, including four in the Garden State. Committed to meeting the demands of the job market, it offers targeted, hands-on programs in a range of fields and prepares its students for the daily responsibilities they will be tasked with in their careers.

Students come from all walks of life, from recent high school graduates to middle-aged people looking to switch careers. Some are single parents struggling to support their families, and American Institute strives to give all of them the opportunities they deserve.

“We’re changing lives,” Moore says. “I love to see our students come in, sometimes as single mothers or single fathers struggling to get by while working two or three jobs. Then they work hard for eight to 18 months acquiring new skills and training for a new career and they’re better able to provide for their families. They’re leveling up – that’s what I like to call it – and being examples for their children.”

The Cherry Hill campus offers five programs: dental assisting, diagnostic medical sonography (ultrasound), massage therapy, medical assisting and the newest one, electrical trades technology. All require a high school diploma, and the diagnostic medical sonography program also requires a bachelor’s degree.

The medical assisting, dental assisting and electrical trades technology programs are hybrid, combining online and in-person instruction, which provides the flexibility that many need due to work schedules and parenting responsibilities. The massage therapy program is provided fully on campus, with all programs having classes offered during the day and at night except for the diagnostic medical sonography which has one lab class on campus per week (open lab practice hours are available outside of scheduled class times as well to fit student schedules).

All of the programs are centered on hands-on learning experiences. For example, the dental assisting program has an office similar to one you would find in a dental practice, and the massage therapy program offers massages to members of the community so students can practice techniques and build relationships with future clients. Partnerships with local businesses can help set you up for success in your field by giving you real-world experience and the potential for a permanent position depending on the needs of the facility.

“There is definitely demand for the programs we are offering,” Moore says. “We have a career services team on staff that is dedicated to helping our students with job placement upon graduation as well.”

Those interested in the school are encouraged to meet with an admissions representative, tour the campus, learn more about the programs and find out about financial aid packages that may be available to them if they qualify. Students who decide to take the plunge will be able to take advantage of the school’s community outreach programs, as well as have a staff that is in their corner throughout their experience.

“We’re a big family here and we support our students,” Moore says. “Some of them don’t have that support at home, but we have a whole team that is going to work with them side by side, and help get them to the finish line if they want it. We will help them navigate struggles they may have during their journey, because life happens to all of us, and American Institute does our best to help students successfully complete their program of choice.”

American Institute
2201 Route 38, 8th Floor
Cherry Hill

(888) 387-5260

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 8.
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