EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


April 29, 2008

Colleges ramp up medical training programs to meet growing demand


Job opportunities

Farris, the paramedic in training, said experienced people in her field make up to $30 an hour, with jobs typically starting around $16.50 an hour. That's better than the typical pay for an EMT, around $10 to $12 an hour.

And the opportunities for employment seem limitless.

Josiah Peters, 24, a student from Methuen, said trained paramedics can work not only for ambulance companies and health-care facilities but also on oil rigs, mining sites and on forestry crews, to name a few.

"It's front-line medical work," he said.

But it's not just paramedics who are poised to get good jobs out of school.

Jonathan Goudreault, 22, of Haverhill, who is enrolled in the dental assistant program, is looking forward to making $12 to $26 an hour upon graduating.

The dental assistant program at NECC offers students hands-on training in dentistry, including practicing on lifelike and actual teeth, learning X-ray technology in a digital lab, creating temporary crowns and doing all the things dental assistants do in offices across the Merrimack Valley.

"Our students have no trouble getting jobs," Long-Goding said.

Another popular program is the two-year radiology technician program.

Merrimack Valley Hospital CEO Michael Collins said hospital staff have talked about the radiology tech program to Haverhill High School students who want to go into health care but don't want to go to a four-year college.

"Typically today, you go to a four-year program to become a nurse. That will generate income out of school of around $60,000," Collins said. "If you go to school for two years as a radiology tech, in a short time you'll be making $50,000 a year. Plus, you have total flexibility and can work at any hospital."

Merrimack programs

Interest in a medical career is also high among students of four-year colleges like Merrimack.

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