Looking for a career with outstanding chances of finding a job after completing training? Consider looking to one of the highest growth industries in the country: health care.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the health care industry is predicted to add nearly 3.5 million new jobs between 2002 and 2012, an increase of 30 percent. In that same time period, 10 of the 20 fastest growing occupations are concentrated in health services.
In Alaska, growth in the industry is attributed in part to Alaskans seeking care in-state rather than the Lower 48. In addition, population and provider network growth, coupled with the aging baby boomer generation are rapidly increasing demand for health care. According to the Alaska Department of Labor statewide employment forecast, there will be approximately 800 new health care jobs in 2006 and 600 in 2007.
Kenai Peninsula College has responded to the work force shortage. Last year a two-year paramedic degree was developed, UAA’s two-year registered nurse degree program is now available at the Kenai River and Kachemak Bay campuses and the certified nursing assistant and personal care attendant programs have been strengthened.
The first cohort of 11 students recently completed the paramedical technology program, graduating with associate of applied science degrees. As part of their program requirements, all the students had to complete clinical practicums in established emergency medical programs.
Because there aren’t enough of these positions in the state, some students traveled to Oregon, Washington and Texas for their practicums. Two students attending these out-of-state practicums were offered jobs before they finished the program.
“This is a testament to their level of competency and the quality of KPC’s program,” said Paul Perry, EMS coordinator.
The students tested for certification in late September over two days of exams, both practical and written.
Nine of the 11 graduating students have already secured positions as paramedics. Three were offered positions locally at Central Emergency Services, three will go to work on the North Slope, one will work for the Doyon Corporation, and two accepted work out of state.
A new cohort of 15 students started the paramedic program this semester. In addition to 10 students from the local area, there are students from Anchorage, Homer and Ketchikan in the program.
According to Paul Perry, program coordinator, the students have already started their clinical rotations. The students work under the supervision of EMS preceptors in various departments of hospitals, including emergency rooms, operating rooms and labor and delivery. Clinical rotation sites include Central Peninsula General Hospital, Alaska Regional Hospital, Alaska Native Medical Center, Providence Hospital, and Life Guard Alaska.
Anyone interested in applying for the paramedical technology associate of applied science degree needs to be a current EMT and should have successfully completed anatomy and physiology I and II.
EMT I, EMT II and EMT III classes will be offered in the spring semester. Online registration for the spring semester begins Nov.1 for students currently enrolled in a degree program and on Dec. 1 for the general public.
Nursing students set to graduate in December
The first class of KPC nursing students to complete UAA’s associate of applied science degree in nursing are wrapping up their final semester. The 10 students will then take the Alaska registered nurse examinations in January or February at a testing site in Anchorage.
“Most of the students plan on seeking employment locally,” said Lynn Senette, KPC’s nursing coordinator.
“Our students have benefited from the extensive clinical cooperation we have enjoyed with Central Peninsula General Hospital, Heritage Place, Public Health, First Choice Home Health Care, the local schools and numerous other local health care providers.
The nurses in our community, as well as the nursing instructors at UAA, who have shared their expertise and modeled a high standard of professionalism to these students are to be commended.”
The next cohort of 12 nursing students has been selected by the UAA nursing department. The highly competitive program uses a ranking system that awards points to students based on a large number of variables, including grade point average.
“All applicants, statewide, are ranked and KPC students are consistently near the top; KPC students have set the standard. This is testament to the high quality of education our students receive at this college,” Senette said.
More information on the nursing program is available at the KPC Web site.
This column is provided by Suzie Kendrick, community relations coordinator at Kenai Peninsula College.
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