LAMPASAS — Three years out of high school, Alana Rafael decided she needed a break from college. Working as a waitress in town for awhile, one semester off easily turned into two.
That’s when she decided to enroll in Allied Health Care courses at Lampasas County Higher Education Center.
“It’s convenient, it’s close to home and it’s something that helps in the long run ... little steps to where I want to go,” she said, explaining she still wants to be a nurse.
The center serves a variety of students — young and old.
“But we try to focus on getting people a better job,” said Amy McDaniel, chief operating officer.
The Allied Health Care program will eventually be expanded to offer 10 total courses, including dental assistant, veterinary assistant and home health aid, McDaniel said. The term “allied health care” is often used to refer to medical professionals other than doctors and nurses.
“There are employment opportunities even with the changes in insurance and in the medical field in general,” McDaniel said. “There are more and more opportunities for support positions. You see a lot of medical doctors getting more responsibilities, and that trickles down.”
The three-month dental assistant program begins in April, with four-hour classes meeting twice a week, with the addition of 40 required clinical hours. A home health aid course will begin in May, but a start date has not been set for the new veterinary assistant course.
“It’s a growing job field and the pay is fairly good — $44,300 is the national median pay for a nurse’s assistant,” McDaniel said.
Rafael hopes the training allows her to work a better job to help her get through nursing school.
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