Brand-New Certificates Increase Program Expansion

College students working with a geospatial data management tool at a construction site.
Jared Libby

Northern Nevada is brimming with renowned healthcare professionals, vibrant wildlife, and diverse terrain formations, each a significant part of what we’ve come to know and love as our home. There are passionate experts in these thriving natural beauty and preventative medicine areas, constantly seeking fresh recruits to sustain their meaningful work. Each industry relies on the other to functionally secure our economy, with prospects advancing into their respective fields to evolve our way of life.

Enter the Geospatial Data Management, Wildlife Technician, and Sterile Processing skills certifications at TMCC, three distinguished career pathways that breathe life into the heart of our community workforce. Coming Fall Semester 2024, these fantastic new opportunities aim to enhance you academically through their unique curriculums, preparing you to become experienced individuals who retain successful positions upon completion. As we broaden our educational horizons, the breadth and depth of our accessibility encourage uncertain people to learn, making job fulfillment relevant, substantial, and plausible.

Skills certificates are an excellent avenue to confidently vault into your trade, earning your place in competitive businesses by proving you are more qualified than the rest. As you sharpen your abilities through engaging and comprehensive training, you’ll have an advantage over those who didn’t accumulate the credentials necessary before applying.

Unlocking the Power of Location

Geospatial Data Manager is the first skills certificate on our list, arriving in Fall 2024. Generations ago, individuals chartering routes onto paper or with the tools of navigation and surveying had a particular set of highly sought-after skills. That continues to be the case, and TMCC is stepping up to train such people. In the era of digital dependency on maps, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are an essential tool for public land managers, urban planners, engineers, social scientists, and anyone who needs to understand the distribution of goods.

“GIS software is a way of visualizing and analyzing information spread over the surface of the Earth. It is an essential tool for public land managers, urban planners, engineers, and anyone who needs to understand the world. The Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) projects a 14.5% increase in Cartography and Geography jobs in the state of Nevada from 2020–30, making it one of the more rapidly growing careers in the state,” said Roger Putnam, Physical Sciences Instructor.

GIS technicians employed in many diverse fields are paramount. Putnam gives an example of evaluating where to place a new Starbucks cafe. Specific demographics frequent this business but only want to drive so far. You also don’t want them too close together, creating inefficiencies. A simple GIS analysis can calculate the optimal site.

Putnam also discussed how downtown planners use GIS to reduce our city's temperature as the climate warms. The high temperature we feel on the ground is affected by the amount of pavement, tree cover, and proximity to water. GIS techs working for the city analyze these characteristics to find places subject to extreme heat levels and engineer solutions for the communities that live in them.

"I'm very excited about this certificate because students pursuing other degrees can easily tack this three-class sequence onto their existing one, making them far more desirable to future employers. When I worked for the National Park Service in Yosemite, people in my division relentlessly sought me out to help them with GIS analyses. You can answer so many questions with these tools," said Putnam.

“With only a few classes, you are training to make visually appealing maps that are easy to understand and conduct studies to answer challenging, relevant questions. I can say, without hesitation, that my GIS classes were the most applied, valuable classes I took in college. I am thrilled to instruct this skill set into their toolboxes,” continued Putnam.

In the Wilderness, You Free Your Mind

Wildlife Technicians have an investigative and enlightening occupation in the gorgeous Nevada countryside, traversing the landscape to identify species, acquire samples, communicate scientifically, and manage the ecosystem.

“A wildlife technician does anything from collecting data in the field, for example, catching and tagging animals or plant inventory, analyzing data, and public outreach. We have had many guest speakers come to our new BIOL 102 Intro to Wildlife Tech course this semester and talk about technicians helping with sage grouse counts, peregrine falcon territory checks, and reducing raven predation on sage grouse eggs,” said Dr. Meeghan Gray, Biology Department Chair.

Wildlife technicians take a break from their research in the forest.

Wildlife technicians take a break from their research in the forest.

Picture the freedom of exploration with the sun at its meridian while you scour the Great Basin topography in search of diverse breeds of flora and fauna; undoubtedly exciting and intriguing! Strap on your boots and take to the groves, the grainy sand beneath your heel, prickly sagebrush tickling your knee and streaking beams of sunshine rays warm on your face. State and federal agencies regularly hire those with reliable expertise, a drive for expeditions, and academic insight into the natural history of creatures in our mostly desert and semi-arid climate. The scope of the vocational selections ranges from forest and conservation workers to postsecondary biological science teachers.

“We designed the Wildlife Technician Skills Certificate as a one-year degree path for students interested in working with state or federal government offices as a technician. This would be an entry-level position but can give them a leg up when applying for these jobs,” said Gray.

Something is enchanting about being surrounded by nature and animals, hearkening back to days without limitless resources, where scientific revelations abounded, and sharing the stimulating news gave readers a sense of enjoyment at how our world was evolving. Earth is filled with hidden gems across its sprawling continents and buried deep within the midnight of the ocean floor, waiting for their unveiling. What will our planet's impression of us be? That we were kind to living things? That we desired to learn and understand them? The author of that story could be you.

You Can’t Operate Without Them

Sterile Processing is a universally core component of healthcare facilities, ensuring that all surgical instruments and medical equipment are clean, sterilized, and properly placed. A sterile processing (SP) technician is responsible for assembling trays for the operating room, including monitoring and recording if sterilizers or autoclaves fill up with tools for procedures. Ordering and distributing supplies throughout the hospital is a primary duty, with each apparatus reaching its designated location to maximize efficiency and habitual awareness on the floor.

A sterile processing technician cleans her instruments in an autoclave.

A sterile processing technician cleans her instruments in an autoclave.

“Sterile processing is critical because the foundation of what they do allows us to perform surgeries with the necessary tools. Sterile tools are free from any microorganism, and the steps of this can be quite complex. The sterile processing technician must be able to work with their hands, be okay with blood, learn hundreds of instruments, and many different processes of the field,” said Jacqueline Dennis, Instructor for Sterile Processing Certification.

SP technicians sometimes work under stressful conditions or emergencies, but in these moments of adversity, they uncover their resolve, patiently and methodically organizing the materials to save someone’s life. Doctors, surgeons, and clinical staff members cannot perform operations without their support. Within an intense environment such as this, you must act swiftly. Minutes and seconds could mean the difference in their survival. Your commitment will give you a sense of unimaginable satisfaction, knowing you made it possible for the practitioner to conclude their surgery with ease. For those choosing this track, a commendable and dynamic journey awaits you.

“The goal is to bring more professionals into this area, giving the people who choose this a way into the medical domain or a career in a short time frame. The 16-week program includes a hands-on portion in a clinical facility, including a lecture portion that covers all aspects of sterile processing and achieving the Certified Registered Central Service Technician (CRCST) certification,” said Dennis.

For more information, please visit the Geospatial Data Management, Wildlife Technician, and Sterile Processing websites.