By David Kene
On January 24, Medgar Evers College hosted a two-hour Open House, to inaugurate its continuing educational program last month.
Of the hundreds of people that poured in as window shoppers and left as registered students; a group of no less than 20-replaced by fresh inquisitors consistently huddled around the business development section table, just one of the 12 section tables.
Petuna Selby, professor of the medical billing course and the table’s host, seemed overwhelmed. “At first, they came all together at once, I felt like I was hosting a workshop-but I’m a teacher so I don’t mind much, I just get a bit thirsty,” says instructor Selby, reaching for her bottled water.
Such was the scene as students bartered questions for answers with professors before going to the negotiation table-paying up front and in full. Amongst the most common concerns “Can these classes actually land me a good paying job?” to which Instructor Selby replied “You have to get your foot in the door. I first went through a temp agency, that’s how I started.”
For Peter Williams, vice president of the Medgar Evers Continuing Educational Program (MEECP), “it’s all about allowing individuals to develop new skills and pursue their interests in various areas: computer science, graphic design, paralegal studies , medical billing and a host of other disciplines. So this is for someone who has finished school or one interested in a career change. It’s for opportunity or just for personal interest-like our home repair classes. Course costs are reasonable. They’re not accredited classes, but you do receive a certificate.”
True to that statement, Dr. Carlysle George, instructor of the QuickBooks accounting and bookkeeping course says, “This class is for students and professionals familiar with bookkeeping and accounting practices. My class will teach the general basics of QuickBooks computer application that will soon replace the manual process of accounting.
You will need to take the prerequisites or have equivalent experience for this class.”
Not all classes are as elite.
Courses range from thirty dollars like the three- hour IKEA Survival Course: How to Choose and Use Hand and Power Tools to The Medical Billing Certificate Program course, which in total costs $1,635 for the twenty four hours of class.
When asked what program he was interested in Washington Alewis, a class shopper, pointed out the day care table saying, “I have a lot of friends who have children, I’ve always been a business- minded person and I want to help the community. I want to exceed the hours of 7a.m. – 8 p.m. and still teach kids. I think Medger Evers, continuing Educational Program could help me.”
Those interested like Alewis in the day care program will more than likely be taught by Norma Green, its instructor, who says, “There are no baby sitters here in all my 30 years in the field I’ve never seen anyone sit on a baby-we’re not sitters we’re teachers. I’m very blunt with people. In my class, they’ll learn the paperwork and know how to feed a child according to the nutritional requirements of the USDA. I want them to understand the importance of their work will have on society and patience. They should know that if you hear adult’s voices more than the children in a day care there’s a problem. I want students who really care for the sake of the child.”
This may not be you. Instead, you may not have a degree and are looking to have something accredited to justify a better wage.
If that’s the case then the medical billing or pharmaceutical technician courses may be more to your liking.
According to instructor Selby the medical billing field is “not only booming, it’s overbooming. You have different types of medicine that need billing. For instance, there is the growing field of holistic medicine, we need billing for that. The medical billing courses are nine-month classes introducing you into the field- where you come out and make $50,000-60,000 a year with a certificate-that’s more than an RN, paralegal or teacher with a bachelor’s degree.
Ava Frank, instructor of the pharmacy technician classes says, “There are many good jobs in this field because there is such a shortage [of technicians] in hospitals and community stores.
“Just buy the New York Times and you can take your pick [of jobs],” says Frank.
Frank states the reason for this is because “the pharmacists role has changed from just dispensing drugs to consulting on which drugs to take.As a result, the requirement for a pharmacist to be proficient is no longer just a B.A. but a doctorate. So this has left a great need for dispensing: a void that you can fill at MEECP.
“I’m glad that Medgar Evers offers this at the community level,” says Frank. “It used to be an exclusive field”.
I know of only four colleges of pharmacy in New York and after taking my class you’ll be able to know and identify the top 200 drugs. For February start dates, call MEECP at 718-270-6400.