by Paula Luebbert, assistant vice president, corporate/government training and economic development, Lincoln Land Community College
Have you ever felt like you needed a fresh start, or didn’t know what you “wanted to be when you grew up”? Lincoln Land Community College’s Capital City Training Center exemplifies the mission of the college by providing district residents with quality educational programs and services that are accessible, affordable and responsive to individual and community needs. Since opening in 1998, LLCC’s Capital City Training Center, located at 130 West Mason in Springfield, has provided training for residents of our community, leading to new career paths or valuable skills to advance in one’s current field.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare support occupations will experience growth of 23 percent over the next several years. These include jobs as a dental assistant, pharmacy technician, phlebotomist and veterinary assistant, among others. In order to meet the expected increase, the Capital City Training Center offers short-term training programs in these fields, as well as for personal trainers and massage therapists. Each program has classroom/lab hours as well as required externship hours.
The dental assistant program provides students with a complete overview of the occupation. Students learn the legal and ethical responsibilities of the dental healthcare worker, and are introduced to general dental settings and office procedures as well as principles of microbiology, disease prevention and infection control procedures. By the completion of this program, students have knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the mouth as it relates to dental function and understand the use of dental instruments and equipment.
Pharmacy technicians are entry-level personnel who work in many different pharmacy settings within the healthcare industry. They assist pharmacists as their right-hand person in many different pharmacy practice settings. Some of the main duties of a pharmacy technician are to enter patient data and information into a computer system to process prescriptions. They are also responsible for dispensing commercially available medications, compounding specialty orders, and/or preparing intravenous medications. They refer any questions regarding prescriptions, drug information or health matters to a pharmacist, and are responsible for creating a safe and professional environment for their patients.
Phlebotomy technicians, or phlebotomists, are skilled healthcare professionals who collect, transport, handle and process blood and other specimens. Collection techniques include venipuncture or micro-collection. They are responsible for identifying and selecting equipment, supplies and other additives used in blood collection. Employment in this field can be at hospitals, clinics, laboratories, outpatient labs, physician offices and mobile hospitals, among many others.
Owners of pets and other animals today expect state-of-the-art veterinary care. Veterinary assistants are entry-level healthcare professionals that work in many different veterinary settings, with veterinarians and veterinary technicians, to provide medical care for sick or injured animals. Other duties may involve providing water and food to animals and cleaning/disinfecting their cages and work areas. Veterinary assistants are responsible for sterilizing lab and surgical equipment and providing pre- and post-operative care. Under the supervision of a veterinarian, veterinary assistants may be asked to administer medications orally and/or topically.
Massage therapy is also a promising industry for students in our district. Over the past two years, 87 percent of our graduates in this program passed the certification exam on the first attempt, compared to the national pass rate of 69.5 percent, as reported by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. Massage therapists find work in a multitude of professional environments. While many become small business owners or work in a spa setting, graduates have also found work in a sports medical fields and other rehabilitative therapy services, as well as long-term care facilities.
If you’re still not sure what you want to be when you grow up, or want to take a different career path, explore these short-term programs and others that lead to a new career by visiting www.llcc.edu/cctc or calling 217.524.6749.