Biomedial Technology Program
Overview of Initiative
Students at Lenape Tech have the opportunity to enroll in the BioMedical Technology Program, one of only a few such programs in the state. This three-year program, which is part of the school’s health care occupations cluster, prepares students for postsecondary education and careers in the health sciences.
More than just an introductory health program, students gain a substantial background in biotechnology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, immunology, microbiology, genetics, forensics, and bioethics. Hands-on training in laboratory techniques used in the clinical, biomedical research, and forensic settings are a significant part of the program.
The program is designed as a college preparatory sequence of courses, and students in the program are typically enrolled in honors-level academic classes. Students complete the core program in two years; a third year is dedicated to independent study. Pharmacy Technician certification training and an online epidemiology component are also offered.
Upon graduation, some students choose to pursue postsecondary education at a bachelor’s degree–level or above, while others may complete an associate’s degree or a diploma program that provides opportunities for entry-level employment in health care professions in smaller systems and medical practices within surrounding communities. With that in mind, the program also includes components that foster preparation for job opportunities typically available in residential and rural communities, such as medical technologist, surgical technician, practical nurse, or veterinarian technician.
The current program has evolved over time from previous health occupations programs, with intentional adaptations made to meet changing workforce needs. A Chemical Technology Program, started in the 1990s, became a Medical Technology Program in 2004 with a focus on health careers other than nursing. In response to the growth in the biotechnology field in nearby Pittsburgh, administrators modified the program to the current BioMedical Techology program, designed to include clinical practice and biomedical research.
An advisory committee of various stakeholders, including local biotechnology professionals and faculty from Penn State, the Community College of Allegheny County, and Butler County Community College, provided guidance on the program’s new configuration.
As a result of the program, an increased number of students are attending college and several have successfully completed four-year college degrees in related fields.
Throughout the program, students experience several dynamic out-of-school learning opportunities, including a visit to Allegheny General Hospital, where they observe open-heart surgery and participate in a tour of the animal research facility at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, the program’s highly active Occupational Advisory Committee (OAC) provides guest speakers.
The program is fully functional and it is expected to continually develop and evolve. Students who successfully complete the program may receive biotechnology credits at the Community College of Allegheny County. In future years, Lenape Tech plans to expand its dual-enrollment opportunities.
A third year of core instruction to provide advanced learning opportunities is planned. In addition, a NOCTI exam is under development, and new articulation agreements for early college credits are being explored.
Administrators at Lenape Tech emphasized that the development and implementation of this type of program requires flexibility and a substantial time commitment. They also underscored the importance of an active and professional OAC whose members can provide valuable input regarding new technologies and work-based experiences for students. The recruitment and hiring of instructors with extensive related work experience is another important element to the program's success.
Ms. Dawn Kocher-Taylor, Administrative Director