Players aren’t the only people taking a gamble inside of casinos, and Northampton Community College’s casino training classes are a perfect illustration of that fact. Since the program began five years ago, nearly 1,500 people have completed the innovative 10-week program that’s designed to teach prospective dealers the ins-and-outs of working at a casino. While it may seem questionable, the results are beyond argument. The NCC program boasts a job placement rate upward of 85 percent, including positions at the nearby Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and other casinos throughout the region. In the future, these figures will likely remain strong, as local casinos have been consistently hiring dealers on a permanent basis for more than half a decade.
When Pennsylvania originally legalized table games, the Sands had two options for finding dealers: develop an in-house training program or find an external source. Luckily, NCC was standing by with a unique plan to meet the demand. To date, the Sands has hired more than 750 graduates of the program, with positions earning a minimum of $38,000 to $40,000 a year, including wages and tips. In total, the Sands employs nearly 800 dealers.
For prospective students, however, the courses are a seemingly risky investment. After all, there is no promise of employment following completion of the program. Despite this drawback, NCC’s high success rate has more people looking toward the casino industry as a source of income. One former student, Tyler Baltz, enrolled in the blackjack and roulette class in 2010 as a way to find a more permanent career. Within four years, Baltz has climbed to the position of dual-rate pit supervisor with the help of the knowledge gained from the program and the support of his superiors at the Sands.
NCC’s table games dealer training program includes a six-week blackjack class and a four-week baccarat course, with classes being held five hours a day, four hours a week. When students graduate, they have certificates for each of the two games and are ready to apply for a license from the state’s gaming board. As the only program officially recognized by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, NCC has become the leading destination for people in search of a career in the casino industry.
After securing a job with the Sands, new dealers have an opportunity to return to NCC to hone their skills in more advanced classes for games such as poker, roulette, craps, Pai Gow poker and Pai Gow tiles. The Sands often pays for these courses in order to help employees move up the ranks. While it may seem like a simple job, casino officials are quick to point out the complexities associated with being a dealer. In addition to dealing cards, they’re responsible for making sure customers are having fun, properly placing bets and following the rules.
If you’ve been on the hunt for a new career path, a program such as the one offered at NCC could be a great opportunity to expand your skillset and gain entry into a massive industry. Remember, if you want to win big in the casino, you’ll first need to take a little gamble.