Ƶ Announces New Diploma and Certificates

March 21, 2024

Ƶ will begin offering one new diploma and four new certificates in three programs in the 2024 fall semester.

An addiction studies diploma and a behavior technician certificate will be offered by the human services program while the medical laboratory technician program has added a phlebotomy certificate. Additionally, the pharmacy technician program will provide certificates in retail pharmacy and sterile compounding.

The human services diploma has two specializations, generalist and drug and alcohol counseling. Paige Denman, human services instructor, said the diploma was geared toward generalist students. Previously, students who pursued the drug and alcohol counseling specialization had to take extra classes and pay for them on their own.

“That didn’t seem right to us, so we took out some of the generalist requirements and added the addiction studies’ requirements so that students could still get this award,” Denman said. “There is a huge need for drug and alcohol counselors in Nebraska, especially bilingual counselors.”

Denman said the behavior technician certificate is significant because while there are behavior analyst programs at the bachelor level in Nebraska, there are no associate-level programs. Once the 12-credit-hour course of study is complete, behavior technicians will be prepared to assist the analysts. Denman said the goal of the program is two-fold.

“We want to offer a well-rounded education about behavior change and qualify the students for the certification tests,” Denman said. “We also hope to help people have a better quality of life.”

The phlebotomy certificate comes at a critical time as there is a shortage of qualified workers. That’s according to Kerri Dey, association dean of health sciences, who also said the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted the need for phlebotomists would grow by 17 percent from 2019 to 2029.

“And we are finding that as we listen to our industry partners, they are having less time to train on the job, so they are looking for people to help train employees for this field,” Dey said. “This certificate would be the stepping stone into the medical laboratory technician program. Most med lab techs are going to be phlebotomists as well.”

The retail pharmacy certificate will provide the hands-on experience and basic skills required in a retail pharmacy setting. Dey said this certificate is well suited, for example, for students in the Grand Island Public Schools pathways program, which has a partnership with Ƶ, and for those who currently work in a retail setting.

The sterile compounding certificate focuses on the necessary training in preparing medications with the use of appropriate equipment, calculating medication dosages and learning the laws related to pharmacy practice.

“One of the reasons we started the sterile compounding certificate is because there might be people working in retail who would like to work in a hospital pharmacy but do not know where to find the necessary training,” said Dey. “Another reason is that hospitals could hire retail pharmacy technicians and have them earn certification through Ƶ’s program.”