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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

In-demand prerequisite courses expand to SJVC’s Fresno and Bakersfield campuses

February 26, 2019

Dental hygienist working in dental office

It is always a scramble for those interested in Registered Nursing, Dental Hygiene and other healthcare careers to get the prerequisite courses needed to enroll in education and training programs. Medical careers are so popular that prerequisite courses for those programs can extend the time it takes to move into a new career by several months or even years.

State and community colleges often have long wait-lists for those needing to complete important courses such as chemistry, anatomy or physiology to qualify to apply for certain medical programs. Many colleges have resorted to a lottery system, which means that classroom seats go to just a lucky few. Plus, someone could secure a seat the first year and not the next.

SJVC has spent more than 40 years putting the needs of students first. This career obstacle and education clog is something they decided to help loosen. Pilot prerequisite courses that offered both science and non-science subjects were introduced on the Ontario and Visalia campuses over that last couple of years.

Science courses are offered twice each week for 10 weeks on select SJVC campuses and often include:

  • Microbiology (BIOL 14)
  • Human Anatomy (BIOL 10)
  • General Chemistry (CHE 3)
  • Human Physiology (BIOL 45)

Non-science prerequisite courses are offered every 5 weeks on select SJVC campuses and include:

  • Composition and Reading-Part A (ENG 121)
  • Composition and Reading-Part B (ENG 122)
  • Algebra-Part A (MTH 121)
  • Algebra-Part B (MTH 122)
  • Introduction to the Natural Sciences (NSC 1)
  • Ethics (PHIL 1C)
  • General Psychology (PSY 1)
  • Introduction to Sociology (SOC 1)

Course availability, days offered and time schedules vary by campus.

Response from the communities was immediate and profound. Enrollment in combined Ontario and Visalia courses more than doubled after the first year, from almost 200 students to well over 500 students. The Fresno and Bakersfield campuses were eager to provide this vital education option to their communities.

“There has been a great demand for prerequisite courses in Ontario and Visalia,” says Angela Heinz, Vice President of Growth and Development for Ember Education, a shared services division of San Joaquin Valley College, Inc. “By migrating these course offerings to additional locations such as SJVC’s Fresno and Bakersfield campuses, we are able to service the needs of those communities and help students obtain the courses they need to be eligible for programs like Registered Nursing and Dental Hygiene.”

Many students enrolling in SJVC’s prerequisite courses find their next level of career education and training easily met at that same campus. Some SJVC campuses offer Licensed Vocational Nursing, Dental Hygiene and Diagnostic Medical Sonography programs.

Students enrolled in prerequisite courses at these SJVC campuses who find a long-term healthcare program there have the advantage of being familiar with the campus and know the strong support instructors provide.

“Students who take these prereq courses benefit from the hands-on commitment our instructors give them at SJVC,” says Patricia Hruby, Bakersfield Campus President. “We give these short-term students the same brand of student focus, support and commitment that we give to students in long-term programs.”

There are many advantages to SJVC’s prerequisite courses. Most important: There are no lines nor lottery to get in. Class sizes are smaller, high value is placed on student engagement, students enjoy more one-on-one opportunities with instructors and material is career-focused with student success in mind.

An ideal candidate for SJVC’s prerequisite courses would be someone who has a specific career in mind and who knows the required subjects that need to be filled in prior to enrollment. That career goal might be met with a certificate or a degree, but the path to completion is known. Most importantly, an ideal course candidate is focused on meeting career education goals in the shortest, most instructive and convenient way available.

It is important to note that completion of the general education requirements and/or prerequisite courses at SJVC does not guarantee entry into an SJVC program. If you intend to transfer SJVC courses to another institution, you must contact that institution directly to determine transferability of units. Accepting transfer credits is always up to the receiving institution. View a complete list of SJVC articulation agreements.

Those interested in earning needed units toward a specific career goal can access additional information here.