TCL to add 3 certificate programs, including crime-scene investigation

mmcnab@beaufortgazette.comJuly 22, 2013 

The Technical College of the Lowcountry will add three new certificate programs to its class lineup this fall, the school announced Monday.

TCL will add a certificate for crime-scene investigation and two for electronic health records starting, building on two areas requested by students and local organizations, a news release from the college said.

TCL criminal justice instructor Michael Ricks said the crime-scene investigation certificate was created to address high student interest in the field and make graduates more marketable to law enforcement agencies. Ricks said the program will teach students how to investigate a crime scene.

The 31-credit certificate will also teach students how to question suspects, interview witnesses and testify in court, through both classroom instruction and fieldwork.

Ricks said one class would be a semester-long practicum, in which students investigate a crime scene and prepare a case file. Guest speakers will also frequent the program -- including an agent from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations who will talk about a serial-killer case he worked.

TCL's two electronic health-records programs were created in response to interest from the department's advisory board on filling the gap between the medical field and information technology.

Computer technology instructor Jean Smith, a professor at TCL's New River campus in Okatie, said Beaufort Memorial Hospital and other local hospitals advocated for the programs.

The two 33-credit certificates, Database and Reports for Electronic Health Records and Networking for Electronic Health Records, will help students build and create health databases, Smith said.

Much of the program's plan is derived from federal programs created to educate people with medical backgrounds about computer technology, Smith said. The TCL program also will be open to students without a medical background.

So far, no students have enrolled in the new programs, but Ricks and Smith said they expect students to enroll by the start of the fall semester next month.

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.

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