For new workers and career changers alike, healthcare is a field worth considering. Many entry-level healthcare jobs require less than a year of training. Here is a sampling of local community-college programs that prepare workers for these entry-level jobs.
With the unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent, health care is one of the brighter areas of the economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry added an average of 20,000 jobs per month through August of this year.
This means that for new workers and career changers alike, health care is a field worth considering. The good news is that many entry-level jobs require less than a year of training. And since most health care organizations offer educational benefits, employees can often continue their schooling once they're on the job.
Here are some examples of local community college programs that prepare workers for entry-level jobs in health care:
Central Services Technician Certificate. This 10-credit program is offered by Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) (minneapolis.edu). The certificate prepares students to work with medical and surgical equipment and to sterilize instruments.
Phlebotomy Certificate. This 16-credit program also offered by MCTC prepares students to work in a variety of health care settings. Phlebotomists are the members of the health care team who obtain patients' blood for medical testing and specimen processing.
Health unit coordinator. This 17-credit program is offered by Saint Paul College (saintpaul.edu). Health unit coordinators (HUCs) serve as the "communications hub" at the nursing station in health care facilities. They are responsible for relaying doctors' orders for patients to the appropriate department. They also perform clerical tasks such as answering the phone, managing records and updating patient charts. Hennepin Community College (hennepintech.reachlocal.com) offers a similar program on its Eden Prairie campus.
Medical office careers. At Saint Paul College, students can prepare for jobs as office professionals in clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities. Certificates include medical coding (30 credits), medical records clerk (17 credits), medical receptionist (20 credits) and medical transcription (30 credits). Also offered is a two-year degree for medical office professionals.
Biomedical Technician Certificate. This one-year program, offered by Anoka Ramsey Community College (anokaramsey.edu), prepares students for entry-level positions in the biomedical device and products industry. Graduates work in manufacturing, product development and testing.
Medical Assistant Diploma. This one-year program, offered by Dakota County Community College (dctc.edu), trains students to assist doctors with examinations and treatments, take medical histories, perform diagnostic tests, expose X-ray films, sterilize instruments and supplies, assist with minor surgery and administer medications. In addition, the college offers a two-year degree for medical assistants. Similar programs are also offered by Century College (century.edu) and Hennepin Community College.
Dialysis Patient Care Technician Certificate. This 16-credit program offered online by Lake Superior Community in Duluth (lsc.edu) trains students to care for dialysis patients under the supervision of a registered nurse. After completing the certificate, students may earn an additional five credits by arranging a clinical internship in their local area.
This is just a sampling of health care programs offered through Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. For more information, visit mnscu.edu/programs/FindAProgram.php or the website of your local community college.