At 32-years-old, Jonathan Parks of Hattiesburg went in search of a career boost at Pearl River Community College and found it in one of the school’s many career-technical programs.
“My grandmother always told me I needed to find a job or get a career where I could apply my mind,” said Parks, an Oak Grove High School graduate. “I found that job, and I am learning more as I go along.”
Parks, 36 today, graduated from the Biomedical Equipment Repair Technology program at PRCC’s Forrest County Center and is about to celebrate his third anniversary as a biomedical engineering technician with GE Healthcare in Slidell, La. “We maintain all medical devices at the facilities, complete repairs and maintain compliance,” said Parks.
GE Healthcare is a subsidiary of General Electric Co., that focuses on new developments in health information technology (HIT) such as more advanced medical imaging technology and patient monitoring systems.
“I give a lot of credit to Dr. (James David) Collum,” said Parks. “He opened my eyes to this program.”
After high school, Parks attended PRCC for two years to get his basics. Through his 20’s he spent time working and trying to decide a career path.
“At first, I considered Aerospace electronics, and that was my plan,” he said. “But after talking to Dr. Collum, once he described the (BET) program to me, I knew I was hooked. This was something I wanted to pursue.”
Dr. Collum is Dean of Career and Technical Education at the FCC. He said Parks set his sights on a goal and spent four semesters chasing that degree. Along the way, he provided Parks with information about job opportunities after graduation.
“I try to motivate all of our students to pursue one of our many career-technical programs,” said Dr. Collum. “Jonathan was an outstanding student and was an All-Mississippi CTE student the first year the program was awarded.”
Biomedical Equipment Repair Technology is an instructional and field service program that provides the students with technical knowledge and skills necessary for gaining employment as a biomedical equipment technician. They are entry-level technicians who can install, set up, troubleshoot, integrate, program, test, operate, and repair biomedical equipment. Parks’ advice to students is to explore the many avenues available through the CTE programs at PRCC.
“If they are interested in the medical field or electronics through a technical career,” said Parks, “PRCC offers the perfect opportunity to reach that goal. You do not have to have a four-year degree to get there.”