Rend Lake College OFTC getting students ready for the workplace
INA, Ill. – Ask kids what they want to be when they grow up. Doctor. Lawyer. Fire fighter. Police officer. Those are sure to be toward the top on the list of responses. What about medical records and health information technician? Probably not. But now that they’re all grown up, college students may want to take a good look at this rising career choice.
Sarah Bilderbeck teaches in the Office Systems Technology program at Rend Lake College. In her classes, students gain skills that fit a range of jobs, including that medical records position that didn’t make the kid-list of future occupational options. By the way, medical records and health information technicians earned an average $32,350 a couple of years ago and U.S. experts project demand for these workers is rising fast from now through 2020.
“I have witnessed the OFTC programs change student’s lives for the better over the last 10 years,” said Bilderbeck. “Students will enter my classroom the first week, intimidated and out of their comfort zone. But by the end of their program, they are confident and have transformed themselves into professionals, ready to face the workplace.”
Other fields graduates from Rend Lake’s OFTC program are going into include medical transcription, customer service, bank teller, medical insurance billing and coding, and administrative assistance for a range of work settings - from a hospital to a chiropractor’s office and everything in between.
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Bilderbeck said she had students go immediately into managing an office after graduating from the program. Federal data shows that administrative service managers (office managers) averaged $77,980 annually. The occupation is expected to see steady growth over the next decade, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics’ latest Occupational Outlook Handbook.
“The courses OFTC students complete prepare them for nearly anything their new career throws at them upon graduating from RLC,” she said. “Our goal is to teach students the tools they need – customer service skills, computer skills, interpersonal skills and others – to become invaluable employees in an office.”
Courses in the program include document formatting, keyboarding skills, business data entry, managing records, medical terminology and transcription, office procedures and more. In the last semester, students are required to complete “on-the-job” training where they can practice the skills learned in the program and earn their last few credits toward graduation.
RLC offers OFTC as a one-year occupational certificate and a two-year degree. Students who choose the path to an Associates in Applied Science degree in OFTC are required to complete some basic core classes. Some of these are available this summer in traditional and online formats. A handful of the OFTC courses are being offered this summer in traditional and online formats. Summer classes begin June 4 and run through July 27. Fall OFTC classes start Aug. 13.
“The sense of achievement students feel when they graduate from RLC with their certificate or degree is unexplainable,” Bilderbeck added. “To know that their hard work, dedication and determination got them to that point in their life is truly an awesome feeling.”
Those interested in enrolling or getting additional information should see a counselor or academic advisor at RLC. Call 618-437-5321, Ext. 1266.