Wor-Wic Community College offers Allied Health Educational Opportunities
August 16, 2004

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

According to a new report from 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 paramedics and medical transcriptionists.

Wor-Wic Community College, in keeping with its mission of training local people for local jobs, continues to offer and expand its credit and/or continuing education courses and programs in these areas. In recent years, Wor-Wic has increased the size of its credit programs in nursing and radiologic technology, as well as adding emergency medical services programs. The college's continuing education office has also expanded its health and safety offerings, with the recent move of its allied health division from the college campus to the Holly Center.

For this fall, the college has added a new 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. Graduates can take the Certificate Associate and Certificate Coding Specialist examinations, or the Certificate Coding Specialist ­ Physician Based examination, offered by the American Health Information Management Association.

There's also a new 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.

The nursing department offers a certificate of proficiency for those interested in becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN). The associate degree 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 and go on to earn 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.

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 and an emergency medical technician-basic (EMT-B) to emergency medical technician-intermediate
(EMT-I) transition. These courses provide professionals with the opportunity to transition more easily from one health care career to another. A geriatric nursing assistant (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, dental assisting and radiology, medicine aide, phlebotomy, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first aid are also offered.

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. Or, visit the college online at www.worwic.edu.

CLINICAL EXPERIENCES. Wor-Wic Community College radiologic technology students obtain clinical experiences at Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury, as well as at Atlantic General Hospital (AGH) in Berlin and the E.W. McCready Memorial Hospital in Crisfield. Dana Dashiell of Salisbury, radiologic technology clinical supervisor at Peninsula Regional, works with a Wor-Wic student in the hospital's X-ray department. Dashiell graduated from Wor-Wic's radiologic technology program in 1999.