Areas of Study

Areas of Study

IBEST – Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training

IBEST is a program that supports students who qualify for Adult Basic Education (ABE) classes and are working toward the Office Clerk/Customer Service Specialist Certificate. Students attend college-level classes in Computer/Information Skills that are supported with an extra instructor and attend an ABE class to build academic skills and support the college courses. The certificate takes three quarters to complete.

  • Students go to college classes that have two instructors: a content professor, and a support professor. They also go to an ABE class that helps them keep working on their reading, writing or math skills.

Office Clerk/Customer Service Specialist Certificate

The Office Clerk/Customer Service Specialist Certificate program is designed for eligible Adult Basic Education students who want office skills training and a chance to build their academic skills. Students earn college credits in Computer/Information Skills courses while also attending special ABE courses that support and prepare them for their college courses.

This certificate shows that the individual has mastered technology skills and are prepared for Customer Service and Office Clerk positions.At the end of the three-quarter program, students are prepared to enter the workforce or continue their education toward an ATA degree.

Upon successful completion

  1. Earn an Office Clerk or Customer Service Specialist Certificate (36 credits) and enter the workforce (starting salary in Thurston County ranges between $12.47 and $13.73 per hour)
  2. Eligible for entrance into the Office Assistant Certificate program (62 credits) or an Associate of Technical Arts Degree program for Administrative Assistant, Legal Administrative Assistant, Medical Administrative Assistant or Web Administrative Assistant.

Career Opportunities

Students will be prepared for various positions in industries where support skills are in demand or are part of the expected job requirements. The certificate is designed to prepare students for the expected job skill required for General Office Clerks or Customer Service Specialists positions as defined by the Washington State Department of Personnel.

Eligibility requirements

Eligible for ABE or ESL level classes. CASAS ABE levels 5 and 6 in Reading, or ESL levels 5 and 6. Interest in office skills training

For more information contact Barbara Loney, Director, Basic Skills/Work First, by email: or phone: (360) 596-5504.

Financial Aid

The Financial Aid Office can work with you to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Assistance (FAFSA) form. Federal funding is available to students based on economic need. South Puget Sound Community College also has the Opportunity Grant for eligible IBEST students that can offer funding a little more quickly than federal funds and get you started sooner.

Procedure for entrance into the program

Attend an information session about the program and complete an application form. Information sessions are conducted every quarter.


Course Requirements Credits
1st Quarter

CIS 101, 102 Keyboarding 1 and 2 4
CIS 105 Filing 2
CIS 108 Introduction to Office 2007 3
CIS 109 Human Dimensions in the Work Place 3
ABE Reading, Writing or Math 5*

2nd Quarter

CIS 103 Keyboarding 3 2
CIS 106 Business English 5
CIS 115 Outlook 2
CIS 136 Word Processing 4
ABE Reading, Writing or Math 5*

3rd Quarter

CIS 104 Keyboarding 3 2
CIS 110 Internet 2
CIS 171 Office Procedures 3
CIS 150 Formatting 4
ABE Reading, Writing or Math 5*

  Total College Credits = 36
*not college credit courses


Resident (per quarter average for 12 credits) $832.14
Non-Resident (per quarter average for 12 credits) $963.24

Other Costs

Adult Basic Education fee (per quarter) $25.00
Books & Supplies (per quarter average) $225.00



Angela Holley
Adult Learner Transition Specialist
Phone: (360) 754-7711 ext. 3366