Last updated: September 03. 2014 8:56AM - 56 Views
Margaret Brackett Contributing Columnist



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Our guest this week is Dr. Jerry Alewine, Dean of Health Science. He will discuss the training of the students to meet the demands of higher education, industrial standards, classes offered to students, and their impact on area economy. Quality of life is opportunity in action.


Courses offered to students:


Patient Care Technician


The Patient Care Technician is a multifaceted healthcare professional. This is a relatively new profession to healthcare. Their duties include basic patient care, performing EKGs, and phlebotomy. Students must complete the Certified Nursing Assistant program (CNA) as well as pass national boards exams EKG, Patient Care and phlebotomy.


In many institutions the PCT may be in a specialized area, for example the ER, oncology or cardiology. These PCT’s receive additional training through the institution to orient themselves to those units. The PCT can also function as a ward secretary. The idea is to develop a multi-skilled employee.


Many of the duties of the PCT are similar to those of the LPN but it is not meant as a replacement nor are the duties and skills the same. The PCT does incorporate the certified nursing assistant but with the added training and scope of care, the PCT is a more marketable employee to various institutions.


The salary for this profession averages about $35,000. The typical work environment is the acute care hospital, the skilled nursing facility and homecare.


This program can only accept 20 students each fall semester due to availability of clinical sites. Currently students must complete program ready classes prior to admission into the actual Patient Care Technology program.


To become eligible for the PCT program students must complete medical terminology, English and a math course. We also prefer for a student to have had a biology course.


Occupational Therapy Assistant


This program will begin in the spring semester of 2015. The college has been approved to offer the Occupational Therapy Assistant program by the South Carolina Commission of Education, the South Carolina State Technical System, and the American Occupational Therapy Association.


The college has had approval from CHE and the state system office since early spring 2014, we were delighted to be notified this week that ACOTE (Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education), the accrediting agency for occupational therapy education has also accepted our application.


Dr. Isabell Beveridge is the Academic Program Director for the OTA program.


Occupational therapy assistants provide rehabilitative services to people with mental, emotional, physical or developmental impairments. They work under the supervision of occupational therapists. Assistants help patients work through rehabilitative exercises and activities outlined in a treatment plan developed by an occupational therapist. Assistants help patients learn how to feed and dress themselves, compensate for lost motor skills, or achieve a more independent lifestyle.


Piedmont Technical College has a tremendous reputation of being proactive to the needs of the students, the workforce, and the communities we serve. As we were researching various programs for the Newberry Campus, we saw a void in the educational opportunities for those wanting to become Occupational Therapy Assistants. We have had a transfer agreement with Greenville Technical College for several years, but the there was a severely limited admission for Piedmont students.


After a need assessment of the counties that Piedmont serves and several surrounding counties we found that there was a void in the availability of OTA’s. This is of particular concern for our citizens as it is the OTA who is trained to return people to their optimal level of normal life. The OTA seeks to return the activities of daily living for those who have either chronic or acute disabilities.


We are delighted with the interest in the program. Having had the transfer agreement with Greenville, we already had a cohort of students who wanted the OTA program. This program will be the third program in the technical college system; Greenville in Greer and Trident in Charleston have the other two programs. There are also several proprietary colleges with an OTA program.


The OTA program can accept 24 students each spring. To be considered for admission into the OTA program students must have completed medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, college algebra or statistics, general psychology, and human growth and development.


Students seeking admission must apply not only to the college but also to the program specifically.


Mechatronics Program


Thanks to Newberry County Council, who provided the funding of over $500,000, we have been able to add a state-of-the art mechatronics program. Classes began Aug. 29. Mechatronics students cross-train in control systems, electronic systems, computers and mechanical systems that integrate product design and automated manufacturing processes. Course work combines various skills to teach students a comprehensive approach to developing solutions for work-specific applications.


Developed under a collaboration of the five Upstate technical colleges called TechReadySC, every aspect of the program has been put together in response to needs expressed by employers. The program meets industry standards as defined by BMW, Bosch, Fujifilm and Tyco, the students are trained on state-of-the art mechatronics equipment from suppliers including Kuka Robot Group, Festa and Siemens.


Veterinary Technical Program


Vet Tech is a 77 hour, or two year and one semester degree program which prepares the students to work in a variety of areas (vet offices, laboratory animal medicine, emergency medicine, pharmaceutical sales, food inspection, and Gov. Agencies). This is one of the fastest growing areas in the healthcare field and we have 1 of only 3 programs in the state. PTC has a credentialed program that enables the student to sit for the Vet Tech National exam so they can become licensed.


Dual Enrollment at the Newberry Campus


The dual enrollment program, which is offered to high school juniors and seniors, offers students the opportunity to take college classes while still in high school. Students interested in taking classes with this program, contact Amanda Richardson at 276-9000.

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