Wor-Wic Community College Offers Health Care Educational Opportunities
August 18, 2006

With the shortage of health care workers in the nation, state and locally, health care employment opportunities are prevalent on the Lower Shore, and so are the educational and training options needed to enter these careers.

According to the Maryland Higher Education Commission and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the top health care occupations in demand include registered nurses, nursing aides, medical assistants, licensed practical nurses, pharmacy technicians, radiologic technologists, home health aides, dental assistants, emergency medical technicians and medical transcriptionists.

Wor-Wic Community College continues to expand its credit programs and continuing education courses in these areas. In recent years, Wor-Wic has increased the size of its nursing and radiologic technology programs, as well as adding emergency medical services. The college’s continuing education office has also expanded its health and safety offerings in nursing and dental assisting, assisted living, personal training and professional development topics.

To help meet the staffing needs of area hospitals, Wor-Wic will expand its nursing program by adding another 32 slots over the next two years. In the spring of 2007, the college will admit 16 additional students into the certificate practical nursing program, which prepares graduates for jobs as licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The expansion raises the number of slots in the certificate program from 64 to 80.

The new LPN students will complete the certificate program in December and will be eligible for admission into Wor-Wic’s associate of science degree program that will begin in January of 2008. This will increase the number of slots in the degree program from 64 to 80, for a total of 160 students.

The growth of the program is similar to the expansion that the college implemented in the fall of 2002 and fall of 2003. That expansion was made possible with financial assistance from area health care facilities and other donations received through the college’s recent Three-Way Challenge Campaign. Wor-Wic is indebted to the Peninsula Regional Medical Center for their financial support for the 2007 expansion.

The nursing department offers a certificate of proficiency for those interested in a career as a licensed practical nurse (LPN). An associate degree program in nursing builds on the certificate program for those who want to go on to become a registered nurse (RN). Those who earn an associate degree can transfer their credits to a four-year college or university to obtain a bachelor’s degree.

Wor-Wic’s radiologic technology department offers an associate degree program that can lead to a career in computed tomography, angiography, ultrasonography, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy, magnetic resonance imaging, mammography, cardiac catheterization, management or education. Hospital-trained registered radiologic technologists can obtain an associate degree with only 35 credit hours of course work.

The emergency medical services program, with associate degree and certificate options, addresses the demand for trained pre-hospital care providers. The associate degree is designed to prepare graduates to obtain their state and national certification, work as paramedics, assume leadership positions in the field or transfer to a four-year institution to complete a bachelor’s degree.

The college also offers a credit program leading to a certificate of proficiency in health information technology. This program is designed to prepare students for medical records coding careers and other employment opportunities as health information technicians.

There's also a credit program in medical records coding, leading to a letter of recognition, which focuses on translating diagnoses and procedures described by doctors or other medical professionals into codes that are recognized and accepted by Medicare and other insurance programs.

Students who enroll in the certificate program in medical transcription learn to transcribe information for doctor’s offices, health care facilities or clinics, or they can open their own transcription business to support the medical profession.

Continuing education allied health courses have expanded in recent years to provide additional professional development or certification opportunities for area health care professionals. Courses that help bridge the gap between different allied health careers are being offered, including an EMT to certified nursing assistant (CNA) transition, an emergency medical technician-basic (EMT-B) to emergency medical technician-intermediate (EMT-I) transition and a CNA to geriatric nursing assistant (GNA). These courses provide professionals with the opportunity to transition more easily from one health care career to another. A GNA out-of-state registry examination course helps GNAs from outside the area become certified in order to work locally.

Other continuing education allied health courses cover pharmacy technician training, electrocardiogram (EKG) technician training, medical billing, coding and terminology, and working with automatic external defibrillators (AEDs). New professional development topics and online continuing education courses are also offered throughout the year. Physical therapy aide, personal training, dental assisting and radiology, medicine aide, phlebotomy, automated external defibrillator (AED), community emergency response team training (CERT), cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid are also offered.

Anyone interested in learning more about allied health continuing education courses offered by Wor-Wic is welcome to attend a Health Occupations Night, which is being held on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m., in Room 109 of Cottage 100 at the Holly Center in Salisbury. The information session will focus on current non-credit allied health course offerings at Wor-Wic, available allied health careers and skills needed for those jobs. Instructors will be available to answer questions.

Credit and continuing education classes are offered during the day and in the evening, and can accommodate full-time and part-time students. Scholarship and financial aid opportunities are available for credit students.

For more information about Wor-Wic’s credit programs, call the college at (410) 334-2895. For more information about continuing education courses, call (410) 334-2815.

NURSING SKILLS TRAINING. Wor-Wic Community College nursing students receive skills training at the college campus in Salisbury as well as clinical experiences at Peninsula Regional Medical Center and Deer’s Head Hospital Center in Salisbury, Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) in Berlin and other health care facilities on the Lower Shore. Lynn Derickson, instructor of nursing, second from left, teaches nursing students Lisa Mitchell of Berlin, far left, Lucy Gaetano of Salisbury, second from right, and Jaclyn Sander of Salisbury, far right, how to properly insert a feeding tube.