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DCTC launches new healthcare program

Healthcare is a rapidly expanding industry and the need for qualified professionals has increased. It’s also a big field and it can be difficult for people interested in health care to find their place.

With those challenges in mind, Debra MacDonald, the associate dean of allied health at Dakota County Technical College, created a new associate degree program that creates work-ready health care workers. However, the degree also opens up a variety of educational opportunities for the students who earn it. DCTC will launch the Health Care Technicians program this spring.

“The degree will take (students) towards more advanced degrees but also give them work ready skills,” said MacDonald.

The new program gives students a fast, viable pathway to jobs. MacDonald said the program offers general education courses as well as professional and technical courses that will provide the skills required to enter the workforce.

Elective certifications are built into the program. The certificates will provide the qualifications students need to enter the workforce. MacDonald said students will graduate with up to three certificates.

Certificates offered will include nursing assistant, electrocardiography technician, phlebotomy, trained medication aide and emergency medical technician. Additionally, the course work prepares students to take the Certified Patient Care Technician exam.

MacDonald said hospitals and clinics are requiring their employees to have more skills. She said those skills translate into flexibility. That flexibility also helps the students as they decided whether to seek further education.

“It’s really a versatile thing,” said MacDonald.

Many going into health care want to further their education. MacDonald said the program was created so students could easily go on to get a bachelor of science degree in a number of fields including nursing and healthcare management.

The reaction to the program has been good. MacDonald said 50 students have already enrolled. She’s excited to see how the program blossoms and hopes they’ve found a good way to meet the work force needs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that health care and social assistance will generate 28 percent of all new jobs nationwide from 2010 to 2020. MacDonald said the demand for certified nursing assistants alone is supposed to increase by 40 percent.

For more information about the Health Care Technician program visit

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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