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PHCC offers new programs, certificates

Thursday, August 22, 2013

New programs and certifications in technology and medical sciences are available to students registering for classes this fall at Patrick Henry Community College. Classes at the school begin today.

The Mechatronics Certification is available to students in the general engineering technologies curriculum. It’s a specialized certification that involves mechanical engineering, electrical or electronic engineering and computer science.

To test for the certification, students will have to take a track of courses to prepare for the Level 1 or Level 2 Mechatronics Certification.

Steve Branch, dean of PHCC’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Division, said many advanced manufacturers are looking for this certification.

“A person who earns this certification will be able to walk into any industry, and without a lot of preliminary training, be adept in setting up complex machines, maintaining them, servicing them, and troubleshooting them,” he said.

Electronics Instructors Rich Wilcox and Daniel Edwards attended an instructor training course this summer and now have their Siemens Mechatronics Certification for instruction. Branch said it was an intense, two-week class, and since then, Wilcox has completed specialized robotics training in mechatronics.

“I’ve already had to add two or three classes this semester because of enrollment,” Branch said, “so I think students understand the value of this curriculum. Once these students get these qualifications and certifications, they’re going to be really marketable.”

In addition to the new classes, a Mechatronics boot camp will also be offered this fall for students who have already graduated and for employees out in the field. It will be a condensed version of career credit classes that lasts six-to-seven weeks.

To find out more, call (276) 656-0354 to reach Workforce Development and Continuing Education.

Two new classes will be offered this year, one in the fall and one in the spring, to prepare students to take the CISCO certification exam. Six instructors at PHCC have their CISCO instructor certification for both courses.

“Networking is the cornerstone of any business, and this certification will ensure students great opportunities in the field with competitive salaries,” Branch said.

Students taking networking courses will have access to a state-of-the-art CISCO lab. PHCC staff worked throughout the summer to setup a 24-workstation classroom with access to professional-grade equipment students would see on the job. The lab is located on the first floor in Walker Building.

Also available this fall is a medical sciences specialization in general studies and a medical sciences certificate, which is a one-year program.

Dr. Noel Boaz, president of Integrative Centers for Science and Medicine (ICSM), initiated the program to serve as a pipeline for students to get prepared for medical school.

The specialization degree is geared toward someone graduating from high school to prepare that student for medical school or another professional school like veterinarian medicine or dental school. This track will also prepare them for entrance exams.

The certificate is designed for students who may have already received a four-year degree in an unrelated field, but they’ve decided they want to enter the medical profession.

Branch said the curriculum involves a lot of math, biology, chemistry and physics, so it can be a demanding program.

“We still have the specialization in science that students have historically taken to go this route, but this program provides them with a little more rigor to prepare them for those areas,” he said.

These new classes and programs are available now for students at PHCC. Registration is underway and classes start on Aug. 22.

To find out more, visit or call (276) 638-8777.



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