"Each quarter we are encouraged by the number of students making the decision to become a part of Chattahoochee Technical College," said CTC President Dr. Sanford Chandler. "We are appreciative of their trust in us and are dedicated to helping them reach those academic and professional goals."
Public Relations Specialist Rebecca Long echoed Chandler's statements.
"Typically the spring quarter is not a quarter where you'll see growth ... so for us to have about a thousand students more than we did last year, it's pretty tremendous for us," Long said.
New to the North Metro campus this quarter is an upgraded surgical technology lab -- which replicates two operating rooms -- to prepare students for a career as a qualified surgical technologist who assists on a surgical team in operating rooms and other surgical areas.
The lab includes everything essential to an operating room, from swinging doors and sinks to the tools used during an operation.
Lorraine Wilderman, surgical technology program director, said about 60 to 65 students regularly apply for the program. This quarter there are 19 students enrolled who met all requirements for entry, which include preparatory classes and testing.
"They have to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in their core classes and they have to take the TEAS (Test of Essential Academic Skills)," Wilderman said.
She said the program can be completed in about five semesters, previously six quarters, for full-time students needing no preparatory coursework in English, math or reading. Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination.
Her instructional staff consists of a full-time clinical coordinator and adjuncts at local healthcare facilities. After 10 weeks, students are required to complete a clinical rotation at a local hospital.
"We're one of the few programs in Georgia that really has an on-site instructor with our students at the hospital," Wilderman said.
Wilderman said it was important for students interested in the program to be aware of its demands, like being at a hospital at 6:15 a.m. three days a week.
She said students are graded not only on their completion of coursework, but also on their behavior in the lab.
"Our students have to pass academically, which means their written tests, they have to make 70 percent or higher," Wilderman said. "Lab is pass-fail -- it was the only way we could do it. You either know sterile technique or you don't. We can't let students go to the operating room who have never grasped sterile technique."
She said students who graduate from the program can expect to make a starting salary of about $30,500 to $34,500 a year.
"There is a need for surgical technologists in the workforce. ... Actually, about 80 percent of our students get jobs when they graduate," Wilderman said. "We don't do job placement, but they're able to find jobs."