College Pathway Academy Introduces Phoenixville HS Students to Health Careers

by Diane VanDyke

Montgomery County Community College and the Phoenixville Area School District are launching a new early college initiative at Phoenixville Area High School to give students a head start in preparing for careers in the health science fields.

The new College Pathway Academy for Health Professions enables current 11th and 12th grade students interested in health careers—such as nursing, radiology, surgical technology, pharmacy and pre-medicine— to earn as many as 24 college credits from the College while they are attending Phoenixville Area High School (PAHS). Additionally, students will have the opportunity for some career exploration experiences at Phoenixville Hospital, as well as community service opportunities.

As part of the launch, 12 students visited the College’s West Campus Health Careers Suite in Pottstown on Wednesday, Sept. 18, to participate in a specially designed Health Careers Boot Camp. During their visit, they toured West Campus, participated in hands-on activities in the Health Careers Suite and worked together on a student success activity.

The activities included scrubbing and dressing for surgery, applying staple sutures to hot dogs, checking vital signs and viewing x-ray films, to name a few.

“The interactive activities and being in a room that looks like a real operating room with surgical equipment provided a picture of what it would be like to work in this field,” said Katie Carney, a junior who plans to become a nurse anesthetist.

“The instructors were very informative and these activities are things we will do in the future,” said Jessika Marshall, who is considering a career in the nursing field.

The Academy’s courses include Safety and First Aid, Careers in Health Care, Medical Law & Ethics for Health Professionals, Medical Terminology, Intro to Psychology, Human Development, Strategies for College Success, and Composition I/II. The courses are taught by College faculty and/or by approved PAHS teachers who meet the qualifications as adjunct instructors.

The courses offered through the Academy program dovetail with several credit programs in the health sciences at the College, including a liberal studies associate degree program for pre-medicine, nursing, radiography, medical assisting, health and fitness professional, surgical technology, health services management, medical office assistant and medical lab technician.

Since 2007, PAHS and the College have enjoyed a dual credit partnership in which high school students have the opportunity to earn transferrable college credits. To qualify for the Academy program, interested students took college placement tests in spring 2013, and the program started with the 2013-14 school year.

For more information, contact Director of Dual Enrollment Initiatives Cheryl Taylor-Mearhoff at

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photos by Sandi Yanisko

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