MiraCosta College is helping to heal the world.From a Surgical Technology Program that is one of just four offered at a community college in California to a new agreement that allows nursing students who graduate from MiraCosta to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Point Loma Nazarene University without leaving the Oceanside Campus, MiraCosta College is taking the lead in training tomorrow’s health care workers today.Good thing, too. Health care is among the fastest growing industries in the country. An aging health care workforce, combined with demand driven in part by the expansion of Medi-Cal and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, will result in an average of 9,230 annual job openings for registered nurses in California through 2022, according to state figures. Nationally, the number of registered nurse positions is expected to grow by more than 439,000 by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported a median annual pay of almost $67,640 annually for the profession in 2014. The future is just as bright for surgical technologists, whose job prospects are projected to increase by 15 percent by 2024. In California, the median wage for those in the profession exceeded $57,000 in 2014.Current surgical technology student, Daniel Sturman, knows enrolling in the program has been one of the best choices he has ever made.“I’ve always been fascinated with medicine,” said Sturman. “The program has been really awesome and has a great student-teacher ratio with only 16 students per cohort. It’s also a very hands-on class, which has been very effective in learning what we need to do to make sure the operating room runs smoothly.” MiraCosta College’s comprehensive offering of health care programs also includes training future certified nursing assistants, home health aides and licensed vocational nurses. In addition, a phlebotomy technician program at the recently opened Technology Career Institute in Carlsbad is attracting students from throughout the region.Best of all, students don’t have to spend seemingly endless years in college and graduate school to break into the health care field. The phlebotomy technician program, for example, is comprised of approximately 80 hours of instruction and an additional 40 to 120 hours of clinical externship in a health-care setting. “So far it’s been a great program,” said Sarah Mendez, who is part of the second cohort that began in February. “If you’re looking to get licensed and get right into the workforce, then this is the program for you. It’s convenient, quick and the instructors are amazing.”Once students have completed the program, they are eligible to take a certification examination offered by the National Health Career Association.“You don’t need experience. Half the people in my cohort have no background in health at all, but they’re doing amazing in the class. Anyone can do it,” adds Mendez.San Diego County is among the leading regions when it comes to health care research and education. And thanks to the community’s unwavering support over the years, MiraCosta College is among the leading educational systems in the region, providing workforce training in this area.