SAC and SAISD announce nursing career pathway to fast-track students into high-paying medical positions
November 30, 2023
San Antonio College and the San Antonio ISD have announced the new Healthcare Pathways in Technology Early College High School, or H-TECH, a program that will offer incoming ninth-grade applicants at Fox Tech High School the opportunity to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree with a Registered Nursing Certification.
The new program responds to a growing need for nurses in the San Antonio area and removes barriers for degree-seeking students, fast-tracking them into high-paying medical positions including registered nurse and nurse manager. It’s projected that there will be an annual average of over 26,000 local registered nursing positions needed by 2030, about an 18.3% increase compared to averages in 2020.
“The Alamo Colleges is proud of this collaboration's positive impact on our community as we partner to achieve our moonshot of ending poverty through education and training. This collaboration will create pathways to success for countless high school students and meet the needs of the future medical job market,” said Dr. Mike Flores, Alamo Colleges District Chancellor.
“This new program aligns perfectly with San Antonio College’s mission to create academic pathways for students to attain an excellent career once they complete their education,” said SAC President Dr. Naydeen González-De Jesús. “At the same time, the program will meet the growing need for nurses in San Antonio.”
The program is made possible through partnerships between SAISD and San Antonio College, along with Methodist Hospital Metropolitan and University Health. H-TECH at Fox Tech students can earn a high school diploma, an associate of applied science degree, and choose to complete industry-based certifications in patient care technician, pharmacy technician, phlebotomy technician, or EKG technician – at no cost.
“We are committed to providing life-changing educational opportunities for our students,” said SAISD Superintendent Jamie Aquino. “As we deepen our partnership with San Antonio College, this new degree plan will remove financial barriers for families of students seeking a nursing career.”
Once students complete the six-year H-TECH program, graduates are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). After passing the exam, graduates will be registered nurses in the State of Texas and can complete a Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) in one additional year, instead of two – lowering a student’s financial burden while adding to their continued higher education and earning potential.
“It's the first program of its kind in Texas. We're really excited about it,” said SAISD Fox Tech High School Principal Jennifer Benavides. “This is an opportunity for us to serve our community and provide nursing jobs with our partners for our students right here in San Antonio.”
With the new degree plan, H-TECH students start taking dual-credit courses in ninth grade and can complete the entire Associate of Applied Science nursing program, along with prerequisites for a Bachelor of Science in nursing, by their sixth year. Directly aligning with an Alamo Colleges District RN-BSN pathway, students split their time between Fox Tech High School and San Antonio College, with the last two years spent exclusively on the college campus.
Committed to offering hands-on and lifelong learning experiences, both Methodist Hospital Metropolitan and University Health provide students with state-of-the-art medical simulations, instruction by highly qualified nursing staff, and clinical rotations for certification requirements.
“In my role as the Chief Nursing Officer at Methodist Hospital Metropolitan, representing our dedicated nursing teams and administrators, I am delighted to embark on this exciting partnership,” said Dr. Chadi Awad, Chief Nursing Officer for the Methodist Hospital Metropolitan. “Our shared commitment involves nurturing the nurses of the future by actively engaging in training, mentorship, and providing support throughout students' journeys. Together, we aim to empower these individuals to become proficient health care team members, dedicated to serving our communities effectively.”
“University Health is excited to engage in this transformative collaboration with SAISD Fox Tech High School and San Antonio College, as we are passionately dedicated to advancing our mission and legacy to serve and educate our community," said Dr. Charles Reed, Associate Chief Nursing Officer for University Health. “Students across our community will have the opportunity to learn about health care professions and train in state-of-the-art health care settings providing a foundation for professional growth. This innovative program will also foster future generations of nurses, which is critical to our rapidly growing community’s need for high-quality compassionate care providers.”
Established in August 2020, the H-TECH program strives to keep students and the families it serves at the forefront of education and the health care industry.
Applications to the new program for incoming ninth graders open Dec. 1. The inaugural classes for the program will begin in the fall of 2024. For more information and to apply, visit www.saisd.net/HTechNursing.