New programs at Edison may have some seeing career options more clearly

Edison State College hopes to “recession proof” graduates, with the addition of three new certificate programs, according to Charlotte Rhine, coordinator for continuing education.

Rather than a tedious 4-year course of study, or even a 2-year course of college level education, these three certificate programs will allow students to expeditiously train within career paths of ophthalmology assistant, clinical medical assistant or pharmacy technician. All three programs range in length from 14 to 18 weeks of study — from start to finish, adding up to a certificate and hopefully, a new career option for students who complete their studies.

“We are trying to train people directly to prepare them for the workforce,” explained Rhine from her office at Edison College’s Collier County campus. “We’re trying to keep people here, to get going and to get started. So if their market dried up, they can take classes to change their career. I want employers to call us for people, after the students complete these certificate programs.”

The specialized eye care education required for the ophthalmology assistant program adds a component of hands-on learning in an optometry office, following traditional classroom learning, in partnership with Dr. E. Trevor Elmquist of Elmquist Eye Group in Fort Myers. Meanwhile, classroom learning will be conducted by Richard McCoy and Debbie Lansford at the Collier campus.

“I see so many bright young people here, and the ophthalmology tech program is a great place to start. I love the field. They do the data gathering in the office, and they are required to have serious skills,” said Elmquist, who offered up his office and state-of-the art equipment for students to practice various eye care procedures throughout their course of study.

Although job opportunities are sluggish with this economy, the aging population will demand services from more healthcare professionals in fields of medicine in Florida as people age, and require more healthcare services, according to experts.

“The first class will start in January and will end in May in the opthalmology assistant program, and the program is limited to no more than 12 students. In all of these certificate programs, the class-size is smaller, because there is a hands-on skills section,” said Rhine.

But if a prospective student has their vision set on a field other than ophthalmology, there are two more certificate programs offering training and internships within fields of medical assisting and pharmacy studies.

Those who choose to take a certificate course in pharmacy technician at Edison will be able to assist a pharmacist with packaging prescriptions, mixing prescriptions, maintaining client records, assisting with essentials of inventory, collecting payments from clients, and coordinating invoices, just to name a few facets of the certification program. This program is affiliated with the University of Florida, and Ashlee Grenham teaches this 14-week course, which includes a hands-on externship.

There is also a comprehensive program in clinical medical assisting offered on the Collier campus, beginning in January 2012. This program will prepare people to work with patients in a healthcare setting, and will teach students to perform everything from non-intravenous injections, to assisting with patient examinations and treatments, collecting routine lab specimens, and performing basic lab procedures, along with understanding administrative medical tasks, leading up to an examination, and a certification as a clinical medical assistant.

Interested in learning more about continuing education courses at Edison State College? Call Rhine at (239) 732-3707, email her at cecollier@edison.edu, or visit www.edison.edu for more information.

If You Go:

What: Question-and-answer session about new ophthalmology assistant program

Where: Room J-120 at Edison State College, 7007 Lely Cultural Parkway, Naples

When: 10 a.m. Jan. 7

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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