San Leandro, CA, a city of about 85,000, is located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, between Oakland to the northwest and Hayward to the southeast. The Carrington College California San Leandro campus covers 38,000 square feet with facilities designed to help students accomplish their education goals. From the moment students arrive, they soon realize that campus staff and faculty really are passionate about giving students the opportunities they deserve.
We sat down with Kristina Lopez, Executive Director of the San Leandro campus, to learn more about this campus, which is located in one of the region’s oldest and largest shopping malls.
“The campus has been in a couple of different locations at the mall, but we’ve been at the Bayfair Center since 1986. We’ve been in the current location over ten years; it was retrofitted for our use when we relocated to this bigger space to accommodate our population growth. We’re in a building connected to the mall, so students don’t get distracted walking by a Macy’s sale on their way to class!”
The campus has a population of around 400 students and 50 members of staff and faculty; the school offers six programs for students to choose from in San Leandro. Dental Assisting, Massage Therapy, Medical Assisting, Medical Billing & Coding, Pharmacy Technology and Veterinary Technology are all offered as Certificate or Associate of Science degree programs.
If you’re reading this and are considering coming to San Leandro, now is a great time to apply! We have classes starting March 25th and there is no wait list at the moment.
“All six are solid programs, but I would say that the Veterinary Technology program is the most popular by enrollment, closely followed by Dental Assisting and Medical Assisting.”
The campus has excellent facilities and labs where students can practice their skills on industry standard equipment that they will be using in the real world during their externships and after they graduate. There is even a mock pharmacy for Pharmacy Technology students to practice their dispensing skills.
“Our labs really give our students a practical, realistic perspective of what they’ll be doing once they graduate and find a job in their field – it really is an invaluable hands-on component of their education.”
These facilities mean that some of our students have the opportunity to work in ‘real world’ situations on campus with ‘live’ patients, particularly students studying to become Veterinary Technicians and Dental Assistants.
“We have a veterinarian on site in our Vet Tech lab, so we have regular opportunities for the public to bring in their pets for dental cleaning, spay & neuter services, and so on. Our Dental Assisting lab is also frequently open to the public so the community can come in for complimentary x-rays and teeth cleaning. It provides a great service to the community, and offers valuable experience for our students. Our Massage Therapy students also offer chair massages in our lobby every Wednesday and Thursday; that’s very popular!”
Located between the 580 and 880 freeways in a retail focused part of town, there are lots of restaurants and shops for students to explore or get chores done before or after school. And public transportation is widely available for students who don’t have a car, or don’t want to drive to school.
“Access to the campus is exceptional; BART is literally across the parking lot from us. Get off at the Bay Fair stop, cross the parking lot and you’re here! The majority of our students are fairly local, so the BART is a big draw for a lot of them. Being in the Bay Area, we have several other Carrington College California campuses relatively close by – Pleasant Hill, Emeryville, Antioch – because of that I would say that the majority of our students live within about a 20 mile radius of the campus.”
Like every other Carrington campus, San Leandro considers itself to be an integral part of the local community and spends a lot of time building relationships with local people and businesses, although this is something that Kristina wants to improve.
“To be honest, I’ve only been with Carrington for four months and one of my goals is to increase the amount of community outreach we do – I think it’s very important for us as a school and for our students. We do blood drives on campus, we have quarterly open houses where students can bring friends and family to show them the labs and what they’re doing. They really enjoy that. We just had a radio station out here for the last one, and Massage Therapy students gave chair massages to visitors.
On campus we have regular student appreciation days; not too long ago we had ‘Medical Assistants Week’ which was fun. Our Career Services department holds frequent career fairs. The next one will be in late spring or early summer; a date has yet to be finalized, but that will be an exceptional opportunity for our students and graduates to meet prospective employers.”
To ensure that the programs offered at San Leandro continue to meet the needs of local employers, the campus reaches out to those businesses and organizations that tend to hire Carrington graduates, as Kristina explains.
“We have advisory boards made up of employers in the local community that meet on our campus a couple times a year to provide feedback on our curriculum. It’s part of our ongoing effort to stay current and competitive in the marketplace for our students.”
As Kristina is relatively new to Carrington College California, having joined us late last year after ten years at another school, we asked her for her initial thoughts on the campus, the school and her plans for the future.
“As somebody that’s come in from the outside recently, it’s very evident that our faculty and staff are very passionate about our students, and about student success. In my opinion this is a great school, and ours is a great campus; I’ve not been here long but I want to continue to expand the Carrington model of community outreach and service here in San Leandro. I definitely want to see this campus get out there more. I also want to continue to foster the culture of inclusiveness and ‘student centeredness’ that you see throughout all Carrington campuses.
I really love the fact that the school seeks to foster the whole student, not just a skill set. Graduates leave here with the ability to not just perform the skills they learn on the program; they also get to work with career services, they gain a lot of real-world experience in labs and during an externship, it’s very much a holistic approach to success that I think is unique. We don’t just say we are a student centered institution, we live it and I think it’s a feeling you get when you walk on the campus – that this is a good place, a place I want to be, and I think that’s why we and our students are successful.”
For comprehensive consumer information on our programs, visit carrington.edu
Program availability varies by location.