Tennis tech program offers certificate, career pathway

Under the United States Tennis Association’s Professional Tennis Management program, students enrolled at TJC can obtain a certificate to teach tennis, all while earning their associate's degree.

For many in TJC Director of Tennis Kimm Ketelsen’s on-court classes, earning the tennis-teaching certificate from TJC is a first step into what often leads to a full-time career in tennis.

Chris Singer, a TJC graduate and current director of tennis at The Cascades in Tyler, has an appreciation for the program as both a former student and as someone now responsible for hiring quality tennis personnel.

“As a student, TJC’s Tennis Tech program stood out because of the opportunities it provides the student body during school,” Singer said. “From local middle and high school teams to private clubs, the program actively pursues employment and educational opportunities for every student.

“Now as an employer, I continually turn to the program to fill all aspects of my local programming, from teaching to tournament administration. I have full confidence in the training they receive at TJC; and when a résumé comes across my desk, I’m looking for this credential that TJC tennis tech provides.”

Ketelsen is the fourth director of tennis in the program, which began in 1973 as a pilot program that would later evolve into what is now the USTA Professional Tennis Management program.

“In the early 1970s, tennis was beginning to boom, and Tyler has always been a very tennis-oriented town,” said Ketelsen, who has been with the program since 2001. “The whole idea for the program is to give students who are interested a chance to get an associate’s degree and teach tennis. We are putting people in the tennis industry who have credentials to teach tennis.”

Currently, more than a half-dozen nationwide universities offer the PTM four-year degree as a major of study. A four-year degree is not for every student, but the former NCAA Division I women’s assistant coach Ketelsen encourages all of his students to continue on in school after they earn their associate’s degree. TJC even has a certificate program for students who already have their four-year degree and just want the added knowledge and exposure the certificate gives them.

“There is a definite need for students to learn how to teach tennis,” said Ketelsen, who averages between 18 and 20 students a semester. “If they want to work, I can get them a job.”

TJC offers more than 120 degree and certificate programs, plus extensive training and technical programs, and offers opportunities for students to transfer to a four-year institution or gain the skills they need to go directly into the workforce. For more information, go to www.tjc.edu.

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