High school students with Vernon’s school district are getting a jumpstart on a number of careers that are in high demand.
SD22 is teaming up with Thompson River University to offer medical terminology and introduction to electrocardiography courses, giving students dual credit toward their high school diplomas and medical lab assistant certification.
“It’s not a full certification, but these are two courses that are required and will give students a head start into medical lab assistant certification,” explains Corinne McWhinney, principal of career programs.
Because the courses will be offered online, students won’t have to worry about travelling to Kamloops to study and they’ll shorten their timeline to join the workforce.
“That is one of those identified areas that we are very short of in B.C., and the tuition is sponsored for those programs, so it’s at no cost to the student,” McWhinney adds.
Also on the list of SD22 offerings is a prerequisite to practical nursing being offered on the Vernon campus of Okanagan College. The course will combine the required learning with biology 12 and allow graduating students a direct path into the practical nursing program.
“They can do it in their Grade 12 year and then go straight into practical nursing, whereas otherwise they would have to wait a whole semester,” says McWhinney.
It’s all part of a multimillion-dollar provincial investment to expand dual credit programming.
A healthcare sampler is also in the works for local students with Okanagan College and Interior Health. The curriculum is still being developed, but the course will offer students a taste of what a career in healthcare could look like while gaining high school credits.
McWhinney likens the course to the trades sampler already being offered by SD22 and the OC's Vernon campus.
If all goes well, McWhinney says they could roll out the gateway to health course for 15 students at the start of second semester. Going forward 'gateway' plans to accommodate 30 students a year.
Priority seating arrangements are already in place for a pharmacy tech students to attend college in Kelowna and two medical office assistant hopefuls, with more in the works.
McWhinney is excited for students who will be able enjoy learning opportunities close to home and hopefully fill much-needed positions in the community.