Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is committed to providing meaningful, valuable, and equitable educational opportunities for its students and the communities in which they serve. Currently, all of A-B Tech’s health and nursing programs are led by women, including newly named Dean of Allied Health Angie Goodwin and Nursing Chair Christy Andrews. Goodwin previously was the longtime chair of Radiography. Both women led the division through challenging times during the COVID-19 era and are planning for the future. Andrews attributes much of the programs’ success to its highly qualified faculty and staff members. “We have very qualified, very educated, and very experienced faculty who truly prepare students to enter nursing at a level where they can actually practice,” says Christy Andrews.
The college’s Allied Health division and Nursing programs have educated thousands of healthcare workers in Western North Carolina since the college’s founding more than 60 years ago. “As a college as a whole, we are really focusing on diversity, and actually understanding students in order for them to succeed,” says Angie Goodwin.
All of the programs are capped and admit students through a selective admissions process. This year, students must apply for 10 highly competitive programs between February 6 and March 17 for admission in Fall 2023. The other Allied Health programs open for admission in April. The Nursing program admits cohorts during the fall and spring semesters every year. Andrews says more than one-hundred students graduate from the nursing program each year, and many live and work in the Western North Carolina community. “There are thousands of healthcare workers out there who work in this community who graduated from A-B Tech; many of our graduates are faculty members here,” Goodwin remarks.
Last year, A-B Tech’s Nursing Program achieved national accreditation by the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA), an accomplishment which Andrews says demonstrates that they have achieved a “higher standard.” “Earning national accreditation shows the community and the nursing world that we meet [those standards]. It tells the nursing community and students that we are a quality program,” she says. This accomplishment makes A-B Tech the first community college in the Western North Carolina region to achieve accreditation for its nursing program. This achievement also benefits graduates of the program by facilitating access to additional academic and employment opportunities.
Several other A-B Tech Allied Health programs also received top national and state rankings last year from Nursingprocess.org. The college’s Phlebotomy program was ranked second in the nation among more than 363 phlebotomy schools across the country. The Dental Assisting Program at A-B Tech was ranked first in the state, while Dental Hygiene and Medical Sonography were both ranked third.
While the COVID-19 pandemic may have slowed student applications, Goodwin is optimistic about continued growth in both the Allied Health and Nursing Programs going forward. “I think a lot of people were scared to go into healthcare because of COVID,” Goodwin acknowledges, “but as we come out of that, once people learn that it is safe to go into healthcare, that will catapult our departments even further.”
A-B Tech’s educational opportunities are only expected to grow in response to community needs. Goodwin says, “There may be a couple of new programs we may open up based on community needs, which we look at continuously. We’ll just always do better. We strive to do better every year.”
Goodwin shares that she is proud of the college’s and the community’s support of its students. “I just want to say how proud I am of the college and their support of our programs, and the community and their support of our programs. What we do here is for the students because we want to make them successful, all while supplying the community with educated healthcare workers that we so desperately need.”
A-B Tech’s School of Nursing includes Associate Degree Nursing and LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) programs, as well as an advanced placement option and a four-year program in conjunction with Western Carolina University. Allied Health programs include Cardiovascular Sonography, Dental Assisting, Dental Hygiene, Medical Assisting, Medical Laboratory Technology, Medical Sonography, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Phlebotomy, Radiography, Surgical Technology, Veterinary Medical Technology. For more information on how to apply for Fall 2023 admission, visit abtech.edu/selective-limited-programs or call 828.398.7900.