ELKTON — Enrollment at the Cecil County School of Technology will nearly double this month, as the school brings five new programs to its five-month old facility on Appleton Road.

When the tech school opened its doors to students for the first time in August, about 270 students were enrolled in 14 different programs. Once the second semester starts on Jan. 20, about 420 students will be participating in 19 programs.

Though the school will be nearly doubling in size, Principal David Dollenger isn’t fazed by the increase.

“We know it’s coming,” he said. “Compared to moving into the new building, this is nothing.”

While the rest of Cecil County Public Schools kicks off the new school year in August, the tech school year starts in January, with students attending classes at the school during the second semester of their junior year and the first semester of their senior year.

The five new programs starting in January are:

  • Academy of Health Professions – Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
  • Curriculum for Agricultural Science
  • Education (CASE)
  • Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness – Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement
  • Interactive Media Productions – Simulation & Gaming
  • Project Lead The Way: Biomedical Sciences

The medical assistant, homeland security and interactive media programs are all full and the biomedical sciences and CASE programs are close to being full, said Nicole Parr, instructional coordinator for career and technology education. The homeland security program has a wait list and the medical assistant program was close to having one, she added.

For many of these programs, the goal is to show students the wide variety of opportunities available in a particular field, rather than teaching them one specific job. The homeland security program, for example, will prepare students not just for a job as a law enforcement officer, but also teach them about potential careers in law and criminal investigation as well, Parr said.

In deciding what new programs to bring to the school, Parr works with economic development officials and with local companies to see what their needs are and what job openings they have.

The medical field is a consistently growing profession and the school’s certified nursing assistant program is always a popular option for students, Parr said. The new medical assistant program will offer students a chance to see if nursing is definitely what they want to do, she said.

The five new programs will all have designated space in the tech school and Angie Teoli, who will teach the new medical assistant program, has already started preparing her classroom.

Teoli is excited to start teaching the course and said she thinks it will give students a broader look at the health care profession in general.

“I just think this program is going to give the students more options who might not want to follow the nursing track,” she said.

The first half of the medical assistant program will focus on basic anatomy and physiology, body structure and function, 911 calls, some lab work and an overview of different medical professions. In the spring, the program will shift to focusing more specifically on the medical assistant profession, Teoli said.

Medical assistants perform a variety of both administrative and clinical duties such as managing the office, preparing patients for physical examinations, checking patient’s vitals and taking EKGs.

Students will take the certified clinical medical assistant exam while at the school and will receive full certification upon graduation. There’s a growing need for this profession and Teoli noted that students can work as a medical assistant while pursing a nursing or other degree.

“There’s a big demand for it,” she said. “Medical assistant is becoming its own career.”

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