As when winter turns to spring, a new school year provides a chance for new growth, new knowledge and at Tulsa Tech, a chance to learn new skills. This August will be no different, there are several new options for students sprouting across the district. One of the biggest changes is already underway in our Practical Nursing program.
The program started an accelerated course this summer. The change shortens the classroom time to around a year, but students need to be a little further along.
“Students in this expedited program will be required to have their Long Tern Care Nurse Aide Certification (CNA),” said Dana Chandler, Practical Nursing Coordinator. “Students will also see an increase in clinical hours each day.”
Tulsa Tech made the change to give students a quicker and more realistic experience, Chandler added. However, even with the changes, the requirements to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) will not change.
“Current LPN skills include everything from basic nursing up to more specialized skills like Medical Surgical Nursing and Pediatrics,” Chandler said. “Students will also be expected to complete nearly 600 hours of clinical.”
Successful students will also be able to take the National Nursing exam and state boards. Right now, Tulsa Tech students have a pass rate of about 95 percent. And recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the need for LPN’s could grow more than 10 percent over the next decade, more than double the average growth rate amongst similar careers.
However, nursing is not the only change. There will be an added Windows Server Administrator program on the Owasso campus. Up until now, students wanting to learn how to install and troubleshoot complex network systems matriculated at the Riverside campus.
Besides the program changes, the Light Diesel Truck Service Technician program will enter its first full school year. The program began in January after automotive industry partners expressed a need. The 10-month, adult-only program trains students to work on all types of vehicles.
“Students learn to work on a variety of trucks,” Michael Girton, Light Diesel Instructor said. “We are talking everything from Ford F250’s and other work trucks, up to Freightliners and Peterbilts box trucks.”
Trucks are a passion for Girton, and he says the same should be true for students willing to work hard to be successful. The off-schedule course means students will start the program in January. By the time it is over, they will have the skills to earn an entry-level position upon completion. Starting a new program is a challenge that Girton is looking forward to.
“The challenge of starting a program from the ground up is exciting,” Girton said with a smile. “I love working on trucks, and teaching others who share the same passion is exciting.”
Beyond general maintenance, the program engages students with industry best-practices in how to diagnose and repair every part of the vehicle. Students get to work on everything from the engine and transmission to the braking and electrical systems. Students achieving industry-accepted certifications offered within the program can expect to earn on average $40,000 a year, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As for what makes a skilled technician, Girton says it is all about a willingness to work hard to learn the skills needed.
“I think a healthy dose of curiosity sets the best technicians apart,” Girton said with a grin. “If you want to be a lifelong learner, that is great. With vehicles changing so much, you have to stay up on things and that curiosity helps.”
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