GARDNER -- Mount Wachusett Community College is hosting two information sessions on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at noon and 6 p.m. to provide the community with information on training the school offers in conjunction with Career Step, a leading online health care school.

The training programs prepare students for careers in medical coding and billing, medical transcription, medical administrative assisting and as pharmacy technicians. For a limited time, new students can also receive a free laptop or a tuition discount when they enroll.

Health care is one of the few industries relatively unaffected by the economic downturn of the last several years. The industry as a whole is expected to generate 3.5 million new jobs by 2020 and individual career fields represented by the training programs are also expected to show significant job growth. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the number of new jobs in medical coding and billing will grow by 20 percent and those in medical transcription will increase by 11 percent. Pharmacy technician and medical administrative assistant opportunities are expected to grow even more, with projected increases of 31 percent and 27 percent respectively.

The Career Step curriculum, which Mount Wachusett Community College is offering to its students, provides the opportunity to train online for these growing career fields. The programs incorporate feedback from employers to ensure graduates have the skills needed to excel in the workforce, and specific industry associations have also evaluated the programs. For example, the career step medical coding and billing program is approved by the American Health Information Management Association, a leading coding association and certification body. In addition, students also receive extensive graduate support to help turn their education into a job. Students in the pharmacy technician program can even take advantage of externship partnerships with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy.

"This information session is designed to help people in our community discover growing career fields that they can train for quickly," said Jeremiah Riordon, associate vice president of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development at MWCC. "Health care remains an area of significant job growth, and we can help motivated students prepare for successful careers in medical transcription, medical coding and billing, or as pharmacy technicians or medical administrative assistants in less than a year."

The job-focused training in these growing career fields makes these programs an excellent choice for those looking to train relatively quickly for a new career. The information session hosted by MWCC will provide information on these job opportunities, the online training programs, and the free laptop or tuition discount offer.

The campus is at 444 Green St. For more details on attending a session or the training programs, visit CareerStep.com/mwcc or call 978-630-9575.