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SCC accepting students for new Opticianry, Surgical Tech programs

SYLVA – Upon the completion of a new Health Sciences Center this coming summer, Southwestern Community College plans to add two new programs: Surgical Technology and Opticianry.

SCC hired Melissa Daniels-Dolan this fall to coordinate the Surgical Technology program, and the college has started the process of seeking candidates to oversee Opticianry.

Both programs are pending state and SACSCOC approval.

“There’s a tremendous need for Surgical Techs in hospitals throughout Western North Carolina, and this new building affords us the space we’ll need to train individuals to fill those job openings,” said Dr. Don Tomas, SCC President. “The new building also has allowed us to free up existing space in our Balsam Center to launch an Opticianry program, which offers students a bright future with fulfilling job prospects in this area.”

Surgical Technology prepares students to assist in caring for surgical patients at area hospitals. Applications are now being accepted for the inaugural class, which is expected to start in May.

In the Opticianry program, students will learn to adapt and fit prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. College officials anticipate this program will hold its first classes over the summer semester, which starts in August.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have strong relationships with community leaders and employers throughout our service area, and we do our best to respond when they tell us about a training need they have,” said Dr. Thom Brooks, SCC’s Executive Vice President for Instruction and Student Services. “Thanks to the ongoing conversations we have with our partners in the community, we know the job outlook is excellent for graduates of these new programs, as well as all our existing programs.

Dr. Mitch Fischer, Dean of Health Sciences at SCC, added:  “Besides increasing capacity to each of our existing healthcare programs, our new facility is opening doors for us to train students for employment in a wider variety of fields than ever before.”

SCC currently has 14 Health Sciences programs, all of which will be able to accept additional students for the 2021 fall semester. Application periods close early in the spring semester for many of these programs, so visit for more information.

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