Muskegon Community College (MCC), has recently announced a collaboration with West Michigan Works as well as several Michigan community colleges and hospitals to launch its surgical tech program making it the first health care associate degree registered apprenticeship in the United States.
Their inaugural cohort with consist of 21 students and will be limited to apprentices from the participating hospitals who will begin their five-semester 62-credit hour program leading to an Associate of Applied Science in Surgical Technology. Program graduates will then be ready to take the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting national certification exam following the completion of their program.
“We are offering a stacked credential in this program. The first half of the program is a sterile processing certificate. The students will have that after the first two semesters. Sterile processing technicians ensure that all medical equipment and surgical instruments are thoroughly cleaned, sterilized, maintained, and inventoried.
Chris Patterson, Director of nursing and health programs at MCC
All curriculum and coursework will be taught by instructor Stephanie Allen and offered virtually through Michigan Colleges Online though students will be required to attend synchronous classes prepared to discuss course content. One of the program’s cost-saving features making it feasible to organizers is that student labs will be held onsite at the participating hospitals. In order to complete the program, apprentices will have to complete 4,000 practicum hours and work a set number of cases in orthopedics, cardiovascular, neurovascular, urology, and OB/GYN.
MCC worked closely with Grand Rapids Community College and Lake Michigan College in designing the curriculum and obtaining the funding. Funding for the program was provided through a Department of Labor grant worth up to $669,000. The Strengthening Community Colleges grant was the result of an effective collaboration of west Michigan colleges and hospitals, and the Michigan College Online program all of which will benefit from the funding.