Education - Page 1 - Careers that lead to immediate jobs

Education
- Page 1
Careers that lead to immediate jobs
Programs designed so that students get a leg up on job market

By Megan Weeden, Contributing Writer

For many, college is seen as a means to an end – getting a job. While higher education is designed to prepare citizens for the world, conduct research and assist adolescents into transforming into adults, for today’s students and their families, it’s more about gaining employment.

Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) offers a lab animal science certificate option in its biotechnology program for those who want to assist in scientific work. Those who choose the lab animal science certificate receive training in lab animal care and handling. This includes keeping logs, animal husbandry, administering medication, preparing samples, sterilizing equipment, and cleaning and disinfecting cages.

The program, the only one in Maryland, can be completed in under 12 months, with most of the classes completed online. The only class that must be taken on campus is Introduction to Lab Animal Science, which meets on Saturdays.

“Students who are working can usually fit this class in their schedules easily,” says Amrita Madabushi, Ph.D, associate professor and program coordinator. “Most of the students in the lab science programare also doing a combination with biotechnology. But for those who are only doing lab animal science, they will end up with pretty good jobs. If they’re looking for a job in the field when they’re finished, at least 60 to 70 percent will get hired.”

Students graduating from the lab animal science program will be ready for immediate employment as animal lab technicians or assistants under the supervision of a scientist or lab manager to service the workforce needs of the scientific laboratories or biotechnology companies in the greater Baltimore area.

Ashea Hatcher was working as a line cook in a restaurant but was really interested in doing something in science.

“I was ready for a change and was always interested in the health field,” says Hatcher.

Hatcher decided to go back to school at age 38. She started in the biotechnology track at BCCC, where she learned about the lab animal science certificate program.

“I was not used to working with animals, but I quickly learned and was properly trained in caring for them,” Hatcher says. “I was learning about research and was interested in the health field. They do a lot of studies for diseases, and I get to be a part of that.”

As part of the program, students need to complete a 250-hour internship in a lab animal facility or research lab, which is dedicated to working with animals.

“This provides hands-on experience they don’t otherwise get as part of the program,” says Madabushi. “Instead, students get experience on the job.”

For many it can even turn into a job.

Hatcher, now a veterinarian assistant, was offered full-time employment after she completed her internship and the program about two years ago.

“I have a state job with great benefits, ”Hatcher says. “It’s a great program and you can grow in the field. I plan on going back for more. I want to be the one working with animals and doing the research.”

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Technology, continued on page 6