Walters State’s College Express for Pre-Allied Health Majors is now enrolling new students. The program is a fast-track way to earn needed prerequisites for the college’s popular nursing, respiratory care, and physical therapist assistant programs. The program also meets many of the prerequisites needed for a degree in pharmacy technician.
Students complete all of the needed courses in a year, a task that would normally take two years or more if attending traditional part-time, evening classes.
“Classes meet one or two nights a week with courses offered in block formats. That means students are focused on one or two classes at a time,” said Cathy Woods, executive director of distance education at Walters State.
While completing the program doesn’t guarantee acceptance into the competitive programs, results are encouraging from the first six cohorts completing College Express for Pre-Allied Health majors.
Terina Fix of Greeneville entered College Express last year and is now in her second semester of respiratory care.
“My first semester, I took four classes. I have children and I was doing a complete career change. I didn’t know how I would manage everything. Then, a professor told me about College Express and it was really the best way for me to get back into school,” said Fix, who returned to school after spending many years in retail management.
“I had always wanted to work in health care and with patients, but I never had the chance. Before College Express, I thought I would be going to school for at least two years before I could even apply for the nursing program,” Fix said.
Fix added that the program was convenient in more ways than just the one-night-a-week format. Woods and other distance education staff members made registration easy and helped her become a successful college student.
At the encouragement of Donna Lilly, director of Walters State’s respiratory care program, Fix attended an orientation session and decided to accept an invitation to the program after completing the College Express Pre Allied Health cohort.
“Once I learned more about the field, my decision was immediate. I wanted to go into respiratory care. I want to make a difference in the lives of others. What better way than by helping them breathe,” Fix said. The decision was aided by the program’s history. For several years, respiratory care graduates have had perfect rates for the state licensure exam and job placement.
“College Express prepared me well. The foundation from the cohort has enabled me to do well in classroom work and clinical settings,” Fix said.
Fix has done so well that she was recently inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community college students.
For adult students, one of the advantages of College Express is the cohort, meaning that the same students start and finish together. Fix appreciated the chance to readjust to school with a group of people in similar settings. Now that she’s in the respiratory care program, many of her classmates have only been out of high school a few years. Instead of being an intimidation, working with younger students has been a gift. In fact, Fix was elected president of her class.
“Being older, I was afraid that I wouldn’t fit in. That’s not the case at all,” said Fix.
“College Express is not easy. It’s very intense. I am grateful for the support of so many great professors and administrators. I am also thankful for my family,” Fix said.
For information on the program, contact Woods at (423) 585-2661 or Catherine.Woods@ws.edu.
In the picture: Cathy Woods, executive director of distance education at Walters State, talks with respiratory care major Terina Fix of Greeneville about College Express for Pre-Allied Health Majors. College Express enables students to complete all the prerequisites for Walters State’s popular health programs in one year, attending class only one or two nights a week.