Health Sciences

Get a great start here in one of the decade’s fastest growing career fields.

With your Kirkwood experience, you’ll quickly earn a high demand career, because you’ll have the real world skills employers are looking for.

Add to that scholarships for everyone, including nearly 25 individual scholarships only for students interested in health related areas.

You’ll get hands-on training in crisis situations at Kirkwood’s state-of-the-art Healthcare Simulation Center. Seven high fidelity simulators reproduce emergency medical situations, participants are recorded and their responses reviewed, helping learners continuously improve their tactics.

Health Sciences
 

Plus, Kirkwood’s close affiliation with local major health care institutions means you’ll also get excellent real world clinical training. Allied Health programs lead to certification or licensure in your particular career area.



 
Biotechnology

Biotechnology
2-year AAS degree (transfer degree and certificate options available)
Potential careers: Lab technician, research assistant

From designing plants that produce better crops to finding cures to disease, biotechnology has made a mark on modern life. You will learn to operate and maintain lab equipment, and adhere to federal guidelines. Late in the program, you will prepare solutions and reagents; explore microbiology, cell biology, immunology, and genetic engineering and molecule biology; isolate and characterize proteins; and perform chemical assays.



 
Dental Assisting

Dental Assisting
2-year AAS degree  |  1-year diploma

Dental assistants polish teeth, take X-rays, mix materials, sterilize instruments and perform other duties that help dentists chair side. Some assistants also manage the office and patient accounts, schedule appointments and purchase supplies. During this one-year program, you will gain classroom, laboratory and hands-on experience by working with patients at the College of Dentistry at the University of Iowa, at Veteran’s Administration Medical Center in Iowa City and in private dental offices.



 
Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene
2-year AAS degree

Hygienists work independently with patients to help prevent, detect and treat diseases of the mouth, playing a key role in the pursuit of optimal patient health via education and treatment planning.

Dental hygienists remove calculus deposits and stains from teeth, polish teeth, apply sealants and fluoride, take X-rays, record medical and dental histories, and educate patients on how proper brushing, flossing and eating habits can help maintain a healthy mouth.



 
Dental Technology

Dental Technology
2-year AAS degree

The goal and challenge for a dental technician is to create a restoration that is a perfect match to a patient’s natural tooth. Artistic and creative abilities are valuable assets for a dental technician.

Kirkwood’s Dental Technology program - one of less than 16 accredited programs in the nation and the only one in the Midwest - prepares you in five specialty areas: dentures, partial dentures, ceramics, orthodontics, and crowns and bridges. During this program, you will work with commercial dental laboratories, the College of Dentistry and Hospital Dentistry at The University of Iowa in Iowa City to gain hands-on experience.



 
Diagnostic Assistant (Radiologic Technology)

Diagnostic Assistant (Radiologic Technology)
(Radiologic Technology Degree Completion)

Diagnostic Assistant is designed for Radiologic Technology students in partnership with the Mercy/St. Luke’s School of Radiologic Technology in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo, Iowa.

The two-year radiologic technology technical program is taught through Mercy/St. Luke’s, begins each summer and has a separate application process.

Students can complete prerequisite courses at Kirkwood to become eligible to apply for the Mercy/St. Luke’s or Covenant Medical program. After they complete the program and receive their certificate in Radiologic Technology, students can transfer those credits back to Kirkwood and receive an associate of applied science Diagnostic Assistant degree if the prerequisite courses were taken at Kirkwood Community College.



 
Electroneurodiagnostic Technology

Electroneurodiagnostic Technology
2-year AAS degree

Electroneurodiagnostic technicians use electroencephalograph (EEG) instruments to record electrical impulses transmitted by the brain and nervous system. These recordings assist physicians in the diagnosis of a variety of neurological problems—from headaches and dizziness to seizure disorders, strokes, degenerative brain disease and sleep disorders.

This is a cooperative program between Kirkwood and the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. Students have clinical experiences at area hospitals and the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. The program begins every odd-numbered year in the fall.



 
Health Information Technology

Health Information Technology/Medical Coding
2-year AAS degree

Health information technology (HIT) professionals collect, analyze and manage patient health information, then use that information to communicate with patients, physicians, nurses, administrators, lawyers and insurance companies. They provide reliable and valid information that drives the health care industry.

Kirkwood’s HIT program focuses on medical coding as well as the management of health information. In addition to taking courses on campus, students also complete practicums at health facilities throughout the state.

The Health Information Technology program is primarily offered online, with the exception of clinical rotations and some courses. 

*Students who complete the first three semesters of the Health Information Technology program at Kirkwood earn a diploma in Medical Coding.



 
Medical Assisting

Medical Assisting
2-year AAS degree  |  1-year diploma

Medical assisting is a versatile health career involving clinical procedures, administrative skills and routine laboratory procedures. 

In the clinical area, medical assistants (MAs) take patients to the examination room, ask about and record symptoms, and measure the patient’s height, weight and blood pressure. MAs also prepare instruments for and assist with minor surgeries, assist the physician with patient exams, obtain EKGs, give injections and draw blood for routine lab work. MAs may also be employed in an administrative position responsible for greeting patients, answering phones, scheduling appointments, and managing medical records, insurance payments and patient accounts.

Kirkwood’s one-year Medical Assisting program includes classroom and laboratory experience, and a clinical internship at a physician’s office. The program may also be taken on a part-time basis.

After earning a Medical Assisting diploma, graduates are eligible to take the nationally recognized Certified Medical Assistant exam. Most employers require certification within one year of graduation.



 
Medical Laboratory Technology

Medical Laboratory Technology
2-year AAS degree

Get entry-level skills in clinical laboratory science. You’ll learn complex laboratory procedures with limited supervision, plus use a number of instruments in the laboratory for sterilizing, analyzing and testing. Students will use math to make solutions or to record test results, and use laboratory computer systems in some settings.

Kirkwood is an academic affiliate of the Medical Laboratory Technology program at Hawkeye Community College. Students must complete requirements for admission at both Kirkwood and Hawkeye Community College.

Students will train in a 24-week hospital laboratory assignment. Graduates are awarded an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree from Hawkeye Community College and are prepared for the Board of Registry by American Society of Clinical Pathology Exam and National Credentialing Agency Exam for Laboratory Personnel.

Some Medical Laboratory Technology classes are offered over the Iowa Communications Network and can be taken at Kirkwood. This program starts each fall. Clinics may be arranged locally.



 
Medical Transcription

Medical Transcription
1-year AAS diploma

Increasing requirements for patient care documentation provide numerous opportunities for medical transcriptionists. Physicians and other health care providers use state-of-the-art electronic technology to dictate and transmit highly technical and confidential information for their patients. These medical professionals rely on skilled medical transcriptionists to transform the spoken word into comprehensive records that accurately communicate medical information.

Medical transcriptionists are specialists in medical language and health care documentation. They interpret and transcribe dictation by physicians and other health care professionals regarding patient assessment, therapeutic procedures, clinical courses, diagnoses and prognoses.



 
Nursing

Nursing
2-year AAS degree

Nursing is the largest health care profession in the United States. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that employment among registered nurses (RNs) will grow by 19 percent through 2022. More than 500,000 registered nursing (RN) jobs will open up over the next eight years due to increased health care demands of an aging population and a decreased supply caused by impending retirements of current nurses. Employment opportunities for licensed practical nurses (LPNs) also are projected to grow, with a projected increase of 25 percent (over 175,000 PN jobs) by 2022.

Kirkwood offers a “ladder” program in which the first two semesters of the Associate Degree in Nursing (AND) program lead to a Practical Nursing (PN) diploma. With additional semesters, the ADN can be earned.

Kirkwood nursing classes cover medical, surgical, geriatric, maternal-child, pediatric and mental health. Patient care skills are learned through supervised laboratory, simulation and real-life clinical experiences that begin in the first semester. Simulation experiences occur in Kirkwood’s state-of-the art simulation center. Clinical instruction in all of the major areas of nursing occur in area hospitals, nursing homes, mental health facilities and other health care agencies.

Kirkwood ADN (RN) graduates can easily obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree through an area 4-year college or university with whom Kirkwood has an articulation agreement. 


Pre-BSN Nursing
(Non-degree)

Kirkwood offers a Pre-BSN (Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing) curriculum that will transfer to a four-year college or university granting the BSN degree. The first year of study for the BSN may be attained at Kirkwood.

The Pre-BSN program has been developed in cooperation with the University of Iowa and Mount Mercy University. Course credits in the program are transferable to these colleges. Consult the college you plan to transfer to early in your program to make sure you are taking the appropriate courses for your plan of study.



 
Occupational Therapy Assistant

Occupational Therapy Assistant
2-year AAS degree

Occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) work with patients of all ages and help them learn skills to lead independent lives. OTAs work under the supervision of an occupational therapist (OT) to provide hands-on services to clients who are learning new ways to succeed in the occupation of life. This program starts each year in the fall. The primary location for OTA is Linn County Regional Center.



 
Paramedic

Paramedic
2-year AAS degree

Paramedics provide one of the highest levels of pre-hospital emergency care. They provide advanced care in a variety of settings. Utilizing critical thinking skills, paramedics rapidly assess, treat and stabilize injured or ill patients and provide transport to or between hospitals. Settings may include ground and air ambulances, emergency departments, critical care units or cardiac cath labs. Along with advanced assessment techniques, paramedics utilize medications, cardiac monitoring and interpreting, defibrillation and advanced invasive skills as guided by state and local protocols, as well as the medical direction of each service.

The Paramedic program follows the current National Emergency Medical Services Education Standards from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The standards prepare the EMT and AEMT for the more advanced scope of practice of the paramedic. This allied health program has a mandatory background check for clinical participation.



 
Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technician
1-year diploma

The pharmacy technician, under the supervision of a pharmacist, assists in day-to-day pharmacy operations. Pharmacy technicians work in hospitals or retail pharmacies receiving written prescriptions, taking prescription refill requests, preparing intravenous medications, operating computer and automation systems, applying prescription and auxiliary labels to medication bottles, pricing and controlling inventory, and preparing insurance claim forms.



 
Physical Therapist Assistant

Physical Therapist Assistant
2-year AAS degree

Physical therapist assistants (PTAs) work closely with physical therapists (PTs) to provide services to people with physical disabilities. Patient treatments may include strengthening, flexibility, aerobic conditioning, exercise, balance activities, functional training, gait training, modalities and other therapeutic interventions.
The PT performs an initial patient examination and identifies patient problems and goals, then outlines a plan of care. The PTA assists the PT by carrying out all or part of the plan of care, monitoring the patient’s progress and documenting the care.

Students have two short-term and two long-term clinical experiences that allow them to gain hands-on experience with a variety of patients. Clinic sites are located across Iowa and in neighboring states. This program has mandatory background checks for clinic participation. This program begins each year in the fall. The primary location for PTA is the Linn County Regional Center.



 
Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory Therapy
2-year AAS degree

Respiratory therapists, also known as respiratory care practitioners, provide treatment, evaluation, monitoring and management of patients with breathing disorders or cardiovascular problems. Respiratory therapists administer oxygen, perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, manage mechanical ventilators, administer medications, monitor cardiopulmonary systems and measure lung function. Respiratory therapists treat all types of patients: premature infants whose lungs are not fully developed, elderly patients with chronic asthma or emphysema, as well as emergency care for heart attack, stroke, drowning or shock.

Respiratory therapists work closely with physicians, nurses and other health care professionals to provide direct care to children and adults, including delivery of oxygen, administration of aerosolized drugs, endotracheal intubation, suctioning, management of life support, weaning of ventilation or life support, insertion of arterial lines, management of tracheostomies, and drawing and interpretation of arterial blood gas samples. Advanced skills include intravenous, chest tube and central line insertions, as well as bronchoscopy procedures.

The Respiratory Therapist curriculum consists of classroom, laboratory and hospital-based clinical experiences at area hospitals and in-home health. This program begins each Fall semester.

 

 
Surgical Technology

Surgical Technology
2-year AAS degree  |  1-year diploma  |  Entry Time: Spring start (Cedar Rapids site), Fall start (Distance Education program available at Indian Hills Community College and Northeast Iowa Community College.)

Surgical technologists are experts in the theory and application of sterile and aseptic techniques. That, combined with knowledge of human anatomy, surgical procedures, and implementation tools and technologies, helps physicians perform invasive procedures. They provide surgical care under medical supervision, ensure operating rooms are safe, that equipment functions properly and that the operative procedure is conducted under conditions that maximize patient safety.

The laboratory portions of the program, which reinforce concepts learned in class, are held in our state-of-the-art on-campus lab and in operating suites at area hospitals. Students have clinical experiences in hospitals and actively participate on operating room teams during surgery while clinical preceptors oversee their work.



 
 

If your college plans include four years of education or more, choose from several health care related preprofessional transfer options at Kirkwood.

You can complete your general education requirements at a lower tuition, start focusing on your future career, then transfer to complete your advanced degree.
Some of our health care related preprofessional programs include:



 
 

Continuing Education certification is available in:

Emergency Medical Responder (EMR)
Prerequisite: CPR for Health Care Providers or CPR for the Professional Rescuer.

The primary focus of the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) is to initiate immediate lifesaving care to critical patients who access the emergency medical system. This individual possesses the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide basic, lifesaving interventions with minimal equipment while awaiting additional EMS response, and to assist higher level personnel at the scene and during transport. An EMR functions as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight.


Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
Prerequisite: CPR for Health Care Providers or CPR for the Professional Rescuer

The Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) is the first career-level certification program in EMS. The primary focus of the EMT is to provide basic emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical system. EMTs perform interventions with the basic equipment typically found on an ambulance. An EMT functions as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. The EMT is a link from the scene to the emergency health care system. Skills include treatment of wounds and fractures, basic airway management and automated defibrillation. Courses are offered each semester. Classes meet twice per week for 12 or 16 weeks depending on the semester.


Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT)
Prerequisites: Active EMT certification; CPR for Health Care Providers or CPR for the Professional Rescuer

The primary focus of the Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT) is to provide basic and limited advanced emergency medical care and transportation for critical and emergent patients who access the emergency medical system. AEMTs perform interventions with the basic and advanced equipment typically found on an ambulance. An AEMT functions as part of a comprehensive EMS response, under medical oversight. The AEMT is a link from the scene to the emergency health care system. Skills include intravenous or interosseous initiation, limited medications administration and blood glucose monitoring.


Nurse Aide Certification
The 75-hour Nurse Aide program is designed to meet the training requirements for the nurse aide in long-term care facilities. Program emphasis is in achieving a basic level of knowledge and demonstrating skills to provide safe, effective resident care.


Phlebotomist Training
The Phlebotomist Training course is offered as a non-credit continuing education program that prepares students to function as a phlebotomist in medical laboratory settings. Students will learn to obtain blood specimens for testing via primary phlebotomy techniques. Course content includes circulatory system anatomy and physiology, medical terminology prefixes and suffixes, abbreviations and customer service skills. Class consists of lecture and lab followed by an 80-hour clinical experience in a laboratory setting. Well-trained, professional and proficient Phlebotomists are needed in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. In less than three months, you can be on-the-job as a trained Phlebotomist.


Certificates
Pair your two-year degree with a tailored certification, or take your current skills to a new level. Earn specialized certificates in several fields, or create a completely unique skill set. The choice is yours! See all our certificates at www.kirkwood.edu/programs.



 
CURIOUS ABOUT OTHER OPTIONS?
Select an area to explore.
Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Arts, A/V Technology and Communications
Business, Management, Administration, Finance and Marketing
Energy, Manufacturing, Transportation and Construction
Health Sciences
Hospitality and Tourism
Information Technology
Liberal Arts - Four Year College Transfer
Public Administration, Human Services and Education
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Undecided? We can help!