Oakton Community College, located in Des Plaines, Illinois, could become the first community college in the nation to offer a training program for medical marijuana.
The community college is still awaiting approval for two new health care certificates, “Cannabis Dispensary and Patient Care Specialist” and “Perioperative Nursing” from the Illinois Community College Board. A third program, cancer registry management, was approved in February.
“These new programs provide the academic training and credentials to help students break into, and advance health care careers,” said vice president for academic affairs Dr. Ileo N. Lott. “Oakton continues to innovate to meet expanding workforce needs of our region.”
If approved, the Cannabis Dispensary and Patient Care Specialist certificate program will be available to students beginning fall 2019.
“This is timely and relevant,” said Ruth Williams, dean of curriculum and instruction. “With the passing of the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act and the Opioid Pilot Program allowing use of medical cannabis as an alternate pain management solution to opioids, there is increasing value in academic programs from accredited institutions that provide education and training to serve patients who elect to use medical cannabis.”
The three credit hour Perioperative Nursing certificate will provide students with the vital skills and knowledge needed to provide safe, patient-focused care in the operating space.
The cancer registry management certificate is an advanced certificate designed to prepare students who have a minimum of 60 college credit hours, an associate degree or higher, a Registered Health Information Technical credential and/or a Register Health Information Administrator credential for a career in cancer registry management. There are only 10 other programs of this type in the country.
“Oakton’s cancer registry certificate prepares students to receive the nationally-recognized NCRA credential, sought after for the recruitment and retention of registry personnel. Oakton will be the first community college in the state to offer this specialized credential,” said May Alimboyoguen, assistant dean of health careers at Oakton.