Healthcare Careers

Many students who have applied to the Blue Water Middle College (BWMC) have expressed interest in one or more of the healthcare fields. Specific professions mentioned include: Nursing, Physical Therapy, Medicine, Anesthesiology, Pharmacy, Orthodontics, Dentistry, Optometry, Radiology, and Medical Research.

Students in St. Clair County are offered several options for entering the healthcare field. One program for high school students is the Health Careers Program at St. Clair County TEC. Other post-secondary options include degree and certificate programs at St. Clair County Community College (SC4).

In addition to TEC and SC4, BWMC students can begin earning college credits for a degree in a healthcare field starting as early as 11th grade. They can have 60 or more credits earned by the end of their 13th year at no cost to them. They can earn an associate's degree from SC4 and transfer their credits to a four-year university for further study in a healthcare field. They can become well-prepared for acceptance into SC4's competitive nursing program, in which they can earn an Associate Degree in Nursing and become an Registered Nurse (RN).

With a variety of options available, several students interested in enrolling in the BWMC have asked about the path they should take if they are interested in one of the healthcare fields.

The short answer is that there is not one best path to take. The path a student chooses should depend on many factors, such as:

  1. Is the career goal to become certified and begin working in the healthcare field as soon as possible, or is it to further their education with the goal of earning an associate's degree, a bachelor's degree, or higher?

    • If the goal is to gain certification to begin working right away, students attending TEC have the opportunity to complete the requirements and test for certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
    • Students in the 2nd year of TEC's Health Careers program gain valuable experience that may land them a job soon after high school graduation. Some TEC students are even paid for their Cooperative Education experience.
    • If a student knows they want more education and a higher professional certification, they may still attend TEC for one or two years, but they should also consider what they need to enter programs at post-secondary institutions, such as SC4. It may be that the second year of TEC may not be the best thing for a student who is ready and able to begin their college courses via the Blue Water Middle College.
  2. Is the student certain about the healthcare field they want to enter, or would they benefit from exposure to several career options in healthcare before deciding.

    • The TEC Health Careers Program is an excellent way of learning about many different options in the healthcare field. Many times, students are aware of only a few healthcare jobs. TEC offers students a chance to learn about many options and actually experience them in years 1 and 2. For a student who is unsure of which area of healthcare he or she wants to end up in, this can be more valuable than speeding up entry into college.
  3. Can the student benefit from the financial assistance that enrolling in the BWMC would provide?

    • If a student wants to take advantage of the financial support that the BWMC can provide, they may choose to forego some of the benefits that attending TEC might provide to be sure they can fulfill certain high school requirements back at their high school and move forward more quickly on their required college courses.
  4. Is the student ready to begin taking more challenging college courses sooner than normal to speed up the path to their healthcare goal?

  • If a student is not academically ready for the challenges of two or three college courses each semester in junior and senior year of high school, then it is better if they do not enroll in the BWMC. Attending TEC and their home high school may be the best option for them as they work to develop their academic skills and abilities and prepare for college courses.

Other questions

Can a student attend TEC as a BWMC student?

Yes. Students can attend TEC as a student enrolled in the BWMC. However, because middle college students take fewer high school classes junior and senior years, there is not time at the regular high schools to fulfill all of a student's graduation requirements there. BWMC students who attend TEC will likely have to have some of their high school course graduation requirements met with college courses taken at SC4.

How can the BWMC help a student interested in SC4's Associate Degree in Nursing (RN) Program?

It is important to note that students cannot formally begin the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program until they have graduated from high school, which a middle college student will not do until the end of year 13. So, the ADN program cannot be entirely paid for by the middle college. There are many advantages, financial and otherwise, for a student interested in the ADN program to enroll in the BWMC.

Attending the BWMC can help prepare students for acceptance into the Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program at SC4. The ADN program is very competitive with only about one out of every three applicants being accepted each year. The BWMC can give students several advantages to getting into the program and successfully completing it.

  1. Students with more college courses on their transcripts have a better chance of being accepted into the ADN program.
  2. Students who have taken more college courses will likely score higher on the HESI assessment, which has the greatest impact on who is or is not accepted into the program each year.
  3. Students who have completed the college classes that are required for the ADN program, but which you can take prior to being accepted into the program, will greatly reduce the cost of the nursing program and will make it easier to concentrate on the specific nursing classes and clinical experiences, because they will not have to take as many classes each semester.
  4. BWMC students will also be able to take addition classes that may be used in a bachelor's degree nursing program if they choose to enter a Bachelor's Degree in Nursing program after earning their associate's degree.

If you have questions about any of the information above, please contact Matt Ruiz, BWMC director at [email protected] or an advisor at TEC or SC4.