White coat casting call
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 26, 2013 1:46 PM
Tonya Strong takes a prick of blood during her clinical laboratory procedure class at Wayne Community College. The college is starting a new program next spring that is centered around Medical Laboratory Technology.
LaToya Colburn draws blood from James McGowan in her clinical laboratory procedure class.
For those who like science, research and being part of discovering a diagnosis, a new two-year allied health program at Wayne Community College could lead to a career in that field.
Applications will be accepted in the fall for MLT -- Medical Laboratory Technology -- a program slated to be begin in January 2014.
Medical laboratory technician is ranked No. 39 on the list of "100 best Jobs of 2013" by U.S. News and World Report, and is one of the Top 10 scholarship programs offered at WCC, officials said.
A limited number of applications will be accepted into the six-semester program that results in an associate of applied science degree.
"They do have to apply to the general college first and then the specific program," noted Patty Pfeiffer, allied health and public services division chair.
Students applying to limited admission programs must complete a separate application and meet admission requirements. Limited enrollment restrictions also make spaces more competitive. A point system is used for selecting students.
Graduates of the program will be certified as a medical laboratory technician, said Jan Bradley, program director of medical laboratory technology and phlebotomy.
"This is someone who would be eligible to work in a laboratory setting -- hospital laboratory, but there are other options, like health labs, research labs, government labs, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)," she said.
The college has been working toward having the program for several years. It helped to have requests from area businesses to offer the training.
"Local employers had asked for this program, so we do feel like the need is there and we do not anticipate that changing," Ms. Bradley said.
"It's a specialty," Ms. Pfeiffer said. "Somebody has to be qualified to get the results to the physicians so they can make the decisions. It's that person that's in the background but one of the hearts of why we as nurses do what we do."
Candidates for the course of study might be those who aren't necessarily drawn to the typical aspects of nursing.
"(They'd be) very interested in health care, but maybe doesn't want the hands-on patient contact," Ms. Bradley said. "They're part of the team that's providing the services to the patient."
Officials say they have a three-year plan for the program, with about 15 students accepted for each class. They will also be eligible for national certification, required by other states and expected to be required by North Carolina in the future.
The job market potential is another selling point for the program, the women said.
"Any time we can bring in a new program that will serve the community, that's what Wayne Community College is all about -- meeting the needs of the community that we reside in and serving the community," said Ms. Pfeiffer.
"It's exciting. We did the same thing two years ago, when we started a pharmacy tech program. We're in our third year now and we're just about at full capacity."
A program director has been hired to work on curriculum and order supplies, and a new instructor was also hired. Ms. Bradley will also be teaching some of the classes, she said.
"We have not had to hire additional staff," said Ms. Pfeiffer. "As we grow we will probably have to. We will progress as the program progresses and we have more students."
For more information on the program, contact Ms. Bradley at 919-739-6781 or email@example.com or visit the college website, www.waynecc.edu.