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Phlebotomy instructor and student

New healthcare programs aim to meet workforce needs

Healthcare providers in the Yakima Valley and across the country will have lots of jobs to fill over the coming decade, and Yakima Valley College is looking to help fill the demand by adding two new programs in the fall.

The first program is a new, two-quarter Sterile Processing Technician certificate program while the second is an Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (I-BEST) phlebotomy program that will support adult learners who want to prepare for in-demand jobs.

Sterile Processing Technician

The main duties of sterile processing technicians are caring for and processing all types of medical devices, surgical equipment and instrumentation, and patient care items.

Libby McRae, surgical technology program coordinator, said YVC’s program will be the first and only program available in the Yakima Valley.

“Sterile processing is a career pathway that offers steady employment with strong job growth projected,” McRae said. “Students will be able to prepare for exciting careers as an integral member of the healthcare team in sterile processing or materials management departments of hospitals and surgery centers.”

The certificate is 19 credits and includes online instruction, hands-on practice in the college’s state-of-the-art, simulated sterile processing department and a 400-hour clinical externship. Graduates will be ready to sit for the National Certified Registered Central Service Technician Examination and those who pass will be ready to enter a career with an average annual wage of more than $41,000.

Up to 10 students will be accepted into the program each fall on YVC’s Yakima Campus. Applications will be accepted May 1 through August 1 and Opportunity Grant money is available.

Surgical technician with tray of surgical instruments
A YVC surgical technology student takes part in a surgery simulation.

I-BEST Phlebotomy

The new I-BEST phlebotomy program aims to make it easier for adult learners to earn a degree or certificate that will boost their employment potential. Students will be able to take classes in YVC’s phlebotomy certificate program while also taking Adult Basic Education courses.​

“We’re excited to offer another option to help students enter in-demand careers in our region,” said Marc Coomer, dean of college and career readiness. “Strengthening our communities is central to YVC’s mission. The I-BEST phlebotomy program enables students to get started in a well-paying career while also helping meet the need for skilled healthcare professionals in central Washington.”

I-BEST uses a team-teaching approach. Students work with two teachers in the classroom: one provides job training and the other teaches basic skills in reading, math or English language. Students get the help they need while studying in the career field of their choice.

The new phlebotomy program joins YVC’s existing I-BEST programs offered in agriculture, business technology, early childhood education, information technology and nursing assistant certifications.

“The I-BEST program allows students who are working on their high school credential to simultaneously earn college credit/certification in approved programs,” Pathway Coordinator Joe Trenkenschuh said. “This allows students to progress quicker and further along their career and/or educational pathway, as well as gain employment that meets living wage standards.”

To enroll in the I-BEST phlebotomy program, students first complete healthcare foundation courses including healthcare workplace skills, healthcare English and healthcare terminology. These pre-requisite classes are required for all healthcare I-BEST programs and count for credit towards a student’s High School+ or GED program.

Students interested YVC’s I-BEST programs should contact Trenkenschuh at 509.834.4527 or at least one quarter before they intend to enroll.