New health care programs to be launched for students

Kianna Columna

After almost a year of planning, Saddleback College will now begin offering new health care programs to students interested in the medical field. The program, which is run through the Saddleback Community Education Department, is designed to train, prepare and advance students wanting a career in health care occupation. Saddleback’s three new areas of education involve pharmacy, orthopedic, and optometric technician positions.

After completing training on any of these three courses a certificate will be given pronouncing completion of the course. As the courses are announced a partnership with Boston Reed College, Saddleback says it understands the need to improve the community though students and their aspirations.

‘These life-changing health care programs through Saddleback College Community Education demonstrates our commitment to providing superior career building resources to our community and students,’ said Tod Burnett, President of Saddleback College. The health care industry has created 597,000 new jobs since the recession making it the largest sector of employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As demand for these jobs increases, interest has risen in many of Saddleback’s Community Education Department’s new programs.

‘If your community needs it and thrives off of it, then you should offer it,’ said Saddleback’s Director of Community Education, Estella Castillo-Garrison. ‘Saddleback College Community Education is constantly striving to develop and offer the finest and most current educational programs. Our goal is not to only offer programs as a general service to our community, but to make sure valuable programs like career training, are available when residents in our community need them the most.’

In regards to picking a partnership with Boston Reed College, Castillo-Garrison had done deep research on Boston Reed’s programs and comparing them to other school’s and their programs. Boston Reed is not new in the game. They have been involved with Saddleback’s sister school, Irvine Valley College, and has been seen at the ACC Conference. Senior Vice President of Boston Reed College, Alice Wertz Chegia said ‘Boston Reed comes in and brings all the gear’hellip;[we] provide the classroom and Saddleback markets the program.’

The program, with assistance from Boston Reed, offers the materials, training, externships, and instructors a student needs in order to be successful in pursuing an occupation in health care. Castillo-Garrison said that Boston Reed is ‘the perfect fit for us.’ One may be intimidated by pursuing a career in health care. In this economy, time and money are serious elements when picking out classes and making a schedule, however, these classes are designed for any busy adult at affordable prices.

The classes are set up on a 27-week period, where class only meets once a week for a full day. After completing the courses, the student is given a certificate of completion and an internship. Though the internships are unpaid, they are great opportunities for the employer and student. The student will truly get a feel for their new position and know whether or not this career is the right one for them.

The internships are ‘a foot in the door to use the skills and training,’ Chegia said. The materials are provided in the classroom. Students will work with hands on lab components and in teams. The instructors for these programs are extremely qualified. Instructors are normally current professors who have worked in their profession at least five years, two of which must be recent. ‘Health care doesn’t stop after 5 o’clock,’ Chegia said.

Health care will be in great demand, and pharmacies offer great and flexible schedules. If the student wishes to do so, after completion of these courses, receiving a certificate, and finishing an externship, a student will meet all the requirements needed to apply for the State Board of Pharmacy. No exam will be taken; only registration and background checks are done.

‘This is an opportunity to shine and use what you’ve learned,’ Castillo-Garrison said.

For students interested in pharmacy, orthopedic, or optometric programs, registration has now begun for classes starting in February. For those who are interested and desire to learn more about health care, a no-cost ‘Discover a Career in Healthcare’ workshop is available at Saddleback College.