On Tour at the School of Health Related Professions
words by doris cortes delgado / photograph by john emerson
ou lost your job last year, sent out a slew of applications, even snagged multiple interviews. Nine months later, you’re still nowhere. Or maybe, you’ve decided it’s just time to move on. But with the high rate of unemployment in your field, you can’t find another job. What are your options? You hear there are opportunities in the “allied health” field, but you’re not quite sure what that means. Come with me as we take a tour through the UMDNJ-School of Health Related Professions (SHRP) and learn about their many job training and career advancement options.
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Physical therapists (PTs) work with patients who have impairments, limitations, disabilities or changes in physical function generally resulting from injury or disease. PTs can specialize in areas such as pediatrics, geriatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, neurology and cardiopulmonary physical therapy, or go into general practice. The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program at UMDNJ in Newark, which just graduated its 30th class, offers the entry level DPT for individuals with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. At the end of the three-year, full time curriculum, students are eligible to take the National Physical Therapy Examination for licensure. UMDNJ also offers a similar program in Stratford, as well as enrolling doctoral and post doctoral PhD students.
The need for physical therapists is projected to grow over the next decade. Full 10-year accreditation was just granted the program, a testament to the faculty who are acknowledged leaders in their field.
UMDNJ offers the only accredited educational cytotechnology program in New Jersey. Classes begin each fall with a maximum enrollment of 12. This specialty involves the evaluation of cellular materials from all body sites. Cytotechnologists use the microscope to recognize normal and abnormal cytology — primarily, but not limited to, precancerous and malignant neoplasms. They also render diagnoses on infectious and inflammatory processes in gynecologic, nongynecologic and fine needle aspiration specimens.
The three options for applicants are:
- A joint Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences offered by UMDNJ and 11 collaborating colleges and universities for those seeking a first baccalaureate degree;
- A Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences offered solely by UMDNJ for those who already have a
baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university in the U.S.
- A certificate in cytotechnology for students with an international degree equivalent to a baccalaureate degree in the U.S.
The curriculum is designed to prepare students in scientific/technical areas (including molecular diagnostics), supervision, management, safety, education and research. Classroom and online lectures/seminars and on-campus
student laboratory experiences are followed by supervised microscopic clinical practice at off-campus affiliated hospital and reference laboratories.
Cytotechnologists interpret Pap smears, non-gynecologic specimens, and fine needle aspirates; perform various special stains; and use adjunct technologies such as flow cytometry, image analysis, polymerase chain reaction and
fluorescent in situ hybridization. They assist physicians in fine needle aspiration procedures, supervise and teach other laboratory personnel and participate in the quality assurance program of the cytology lab.
This program, which originated in response to a growing regional demand for respiratory therapists, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The programs are offered on the Newark and Stratford campuses. All program graduates are eligible to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist. The programs are affiliated with over six community colleges to facilitate the joint associate degree option and seven four-year institutions for the joint BS degree.
To earn the associate degree, students complete their prerequisite courses at one of the community college partners and then attend UMDNJ full-time for one year or part-time for two. The program has two types of BS options — in Allied Health Technologies (BSAHT) offered with seven four-year schools to biology majors, or a second BS degree for those who have previously earned a BS and wish to pursue a career in respiratory care. Both options require completion of all prerequisite courses at the affiliated college or university before completing the respiratory courses at UMDNJ over 15 months.
The program maintains strategic partnerships with 15 to 20 clinical affiliates in northern and southern New Jersey. Each year, approximately 30 to 35 students complete the AS or BS program. Graduates consistently perform well on the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) credentialing exams.
Medical Laboratory Science (MLS)
The MLS Program is the only university-based program of its kind in NJ. Students are trained in all areas of the clinical laboratory, learning to work with highly sophisticated microscopes and instrumentation. With the training they receive in molecular diagnostics and DNA testing, which are at the forefront of technology, students can perform molecular analysis.
There are three options for entry into the 15-month-long bachelor’s degree program. . Students can earn a joint BS degree with one of 11 partner institutions, first completing three years of pre-professional courses at the collaborating college or university and then taking their professional courses at UMDNJ in their senior year. . Students with a U.S. bachelor’s degree can transfer approximately 78 credits of their undergraduate courses, take 45 credits at UMDNJ and earn a second BS degree from UMDNJ. . Foreign applicants holding a U.S. bachelor’s equivalent degree will be issued a certificate of completion. All students are eligible to sit for the national certification exam after completing the program.
Graduates are highly marketable. They can work in many settings, including hospital, public health, private physician, veterinarian, environment, forensic, fertility and reference labs; pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and food industries; organ donation centers; and sales, laboratory information systems, education, and research. The program is also a valuable foundation for graduate studies.
This is an upper division, undergraduate program leading to a BS in Allied Health Technologies or a certificate in Vascular Sonography. It is one of fewer than 15 Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program (CAAHEP) accredited noninvasive
vascular programs in the U.S. Students entering the program with a bachelor’s degree may earn a second BS degree. The full-time,
15-month program begins each September at the Scotch Plains campus.
Applicants must previously have earned a minimum of an associate’s degree from an accredited college, including completion of anatomy and physiology I and II. The program provides a strong education in vascular anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology, and includes coursework in medical and surgical therapeutics to support the role of the vascular surgeon in helping to manage patients.
More than three quarters of the program hours are spent in the clinical setting under the direction of experienced technologists at UMDNJ’s clinical affiliates. Because of the intense hands-on training, graduates are immediately ready to assume responsible positions in progressive vascular labs. This highly technical field
has good career opportunities.
Other medical imaging programs include diagnostic medical sonography, cardiac sonography, diagnostic imaging sciences and radiology assistant.
The department offers four academic programs for entry, specialty and advanced-level clinical nutrition, as well as continuing professional education, utilizing in-person and technology-driven platforms to prepare dietetics practitioners at all levels of practice.
The Coordinated Program in Dietetics (CPD) is an undergraduate, pre-professional, flexible distance education program designed for the Dietetic Technician, Registered (DTR) seeking to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). After completing the coursework and clinical rotations, students receive a BS in Health Sciences and are eligible to take the exam for Registered Dietitians administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
The Dietetic Internship (DI) prepares students to become dietetics professionals through classroom and clinical experiences with a unique emphasis
combining medical nutrition therapy and community dietetics. After completion, interns are eligible to take the exam for Registered Dietitians administered by the CDR.
In the Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition (MSCN) and the Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition (DCN) programs, students learn the critical thinking and scientific skills needed for advanced-level clinical practice, management, research and leadership. The MSCN culminates in student-driven thesis research. The DCN, the only practice doctorate in the country for RDs, requires completion of a clinical doctorate residency and an outcomes research project.
The department’s Institute for Nutrition Interventions (INI) focuses on nutrition education, practice, research and service for the UMDNJ community. Its Livewell! lifestyle management program is open to all employees. For enrollment information, contact worksitewellness @umdnj.edu.
To learn about other SHRP programs, go to coursecatalog.umdnj.edu.