A doctor holds an endoscope before a gastroscopy. (Photo courtesy of HCC)
A doctor holds an endoscope before a gastroscopy. (Photo courtesy of HCC)

HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences to offer endoscopic technician certification

The 12-month program will begin this fall and applications are open through June 1

HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences to offer endoscopic technician certification

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Beginning this fall, Houston Community College Coleman College for Health Sciences will enroll its first class of students in an Endoscopic Technician certification program—the first in the state of Texas, according to program director Melissa Bruton.

“It’s kind of groundbreaking,” said Bruton, a licensed vocational nurse. “Nurses have licenses, surgical technologists have certificates, but until now, there wasn’t anything for endoscopy technicians. This validates their job and what they do and the importance of it.”

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Endoscopy technicians are a part of the medical team that utilizes an endoscope—an illuminated tubular instrument used to look inside the body—to diagnose or treat gastrointestinal issues. Endo techs work side-by-side with physicians and nurses. They interact with patients as well as handle the equipment and specimens. Endo techs often have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training. Typically, endoscopy technicians work in hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers or freestanding endoscopy suites. Like most careers in health, endoscopy technicians are included in a growing field with job opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, surgical technologists like those working in endoscopy typically make around $47,300 a year or up to $22.74 an hour.

The HCC program’s tuition and fees will cost in-district students about $4,000 and is open to existing technicians in the field who wish to earn the certification as well as individuals hoping to embark on a new career path. The program will run two semesters—12 months—and will include clinical training opportunities that may end in job offers.

“The clinical hospitals usually absorb our graduates, so they are looked at as potential employees the minute they walk in the door for their clinical rotation,” Bruton said. “Hospitals have already reached out to us for affiliation agreements—wanting more information about this—so I imagine if students put their best foot forward, they will be offered positions and I feel that it will be a high placement rate.”

In fact, it was hospitals in the first place who reached out to HCC Coleman College for Health Sciences to inquire about the creation of the program.

“The president and the deans have gotten together with the physicians and the public and our advisory committee and they have built this curriculum,” Bruton said. “We are all really excited about offering this program in the fall.”

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, everything is still on course for the program to begin later this year. Potential students have until June 1 to apply and will need to complete two prerequisites before matriculation: Medical Terminology and Introduction to Health Professions. Anatomy & Physiology I and II are recommended.

Bruton said that providing a certification for a career that until now only offered on-the-job training will make individuals more competitive in the employment market and prepare them for long-term success.

“These students will already have entry-level experience in endoscopy,” she said.  “One of the classes that we have is called teamwork. When I went over to the hospital and watched them, it was like a symphony. It was amazing to watch how everything worked. They knew what to do. They knew their roles. That’s what we want to make sure continues—that they use the appropriate techniques and exhibit safe and ethical behavior—and that it results in taking care of the patients.”

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