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Kathy Hoersch, campus director for Pima Medical Institute’s Chula Vista campus, says the medical industry needs you.

What can you tell me about the medical industry today?

The health care industry is growing. According a report released in January by the Labor Department, health care and social assistance jobs will account for more than one quarter of the 20.2 million new jobs the economy is expected to generate by 2020. And employers are not only looking for people with the skills to work directly with patients, they’re also looking for management and support staff.

Give me a brief rundown of your school.

Pima Medical Institute is a family-owned and -operated private career college. We were founded in Tucson, Arizona, in 1972. For 40 years, we’ve been helping students prepare for careers in the allied health care field.

We opened our campus here in Chula Vista in 1998, and we currently offer five certificate programs and three associate degree programs. Since we opened our doors, more than 6,100 students have graduated from our campus.

Tell me more about these certificates.

Students can train to become dental assistants, medical assistants, pharmacy technicians, or veterinary assistants in less than a year. Our associate degree programs include radiography, respiratory therapy, and veterinary technician training. These programs take two or fewer years to complete.

Can you break down the enrollment process for me?

Our staff and faculty are dedicated to each student’s success, so we really take the time to make sure our students have the support they need throughout the enrollment process — and beyond. Students make an appointment to meet with a medical career specialist and take a tour of the campus. Once they determine Pima Medical Institute is a good fit for them, they take basic entrance exams. After they pass their tests, they fill out enrollment paperwork and meet with our financial aid department if they need help financing their education. Just before starting classes, they participate in a new student orientation. They then receive their scrubs, ID, books, and other materials and become official students at Pima Medical Institute.

What are you looking for in the applicants?

We are looking for people who are ready to change their lives and help change the lives of others. Our students want to go to school and gain the skills, knowledge and experience they’ll need to help them secure a job in their chosen career field. Our programs are short, but they are comprehensive. Students graduate feeling ready for their new careers, and they hit the ground running once they’re employed.

What’s the average time commitment for these programs?

We offer flexible scheduling for most of our programs so that most students can work and maintain their personal responsibilities. Since we have programs that start year-round, students don’t necessarily have to wait until traditional start dates — like fall and spring — to get started.

What’s the average cost? Is there financial aid available?

The cost for programs varies, but we offer financial aid to those who qualify. The price for our programs can be found at our website: www.pmi.edu.

Can you share any success stories of your graduates finding work?

We have so many inspiring stories of how we help our graduates change their lives, but one that comes to mind is about Teresa, a recent graduate from our pharmacy technician program. She was a single mother raising two sons and going to school to better her family’s future. While she was attending school, Teresa fell on some hard times, nearly becoming homeless before a friend offered her and her children a place to stay. Teresa shared with one of her instructors that she was afraid that her friend was getting tired of her and her kids staying in the home without being able to contribute financially. During her senior year, Teresa came to us and said she was going to have to quit school to find a job. We provided her with some money from our pharmacy fund, a collection of money raised to help our pharmacy students pay for expenditures, to put toward her friend’s grocery or utility bills. We encouraged her to stay in school, reminding her of how far she had come. She ended up staying in school, completing her externship and graduating. Teresa now works for a local pharmacy and lives in her own place with her sons.

What’s the average age range of your students? Are they mostly straight out of high school or mid-career?

Our students come from diverse backgrounds — some are recent graduates, others are looking for a second career, many are military personnel, and there are others who are heading back to the workforce after staying home to raise children.

How would you advise a person who thinks he’d work well in the medical industry but hasn’t settled on any one particular path?

If you have a passion for helping others, but aren’t sure which profession you would love, come meet with one of our medical career specialists. They’ll be able to share information on each of the programs we offer, introduce you to students and faculty and help you determine what career path may be the best fit for you. There may be a profession that you hadn’t thought of or heard of before, so be open to the possibilities.

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