The Piedmont Technical College (PTC) Continuing Education Division once again is offering one of its newest QuickSkills courses, Contact Tracing. Introduced in February, interest in the program has been strong. The latest Contact Tracing course will begin on June 1, 2021.
“This course is the first of its kind for South Carolina,” said Instructor David Porter. “It was developed in close partnership with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC). As the COVID-19 pandemic raged throughout 2020, contact tracing skills have come into higher demand in the health care workforce.
”Contact tracing is a powerful non-pharmaceutical method to mitigate disease transmission, including the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracers serve essentially as health care detectives working to identify all people who have come in contact with a confirmed infected patient and notify those contacts that they have been exposed. These individuals then are asked to voluntarily quarantine and provided information about available testing and treatment.
“The class focuses on skills that are in demand by employers who hire contact tracers,” Porter said.
The scope of skills is broad. Contact tracers must understand policies on patient confidentiality and respect that privacy in the course of an investigation. In addition, contract tracers must be proficient in the latest medical terminology and should be trained in interviewing skills that include tact, crisis counseling, and multicultural sensitivity. They often must exercise resourcefulness in locating contacts who may be difficult to reach or are reluctant to cooperate.
Those who successfully complete the four-week course receive an ASTHO (Association of State and Territorial Health Officials) certificate in contact tracing, which is a requirement for employment with organizations that conduct contact tracing. Porter noted that PTC will offer one Contact Tracing course every month. South Carolina residents who are 18 or over may qualify to take the course tuition-free, including the cost of books.
To learn more about Contact Tracing and other QuickSkills opportunities, please visit www.ptc.edu/quickskills.