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Edgecombe and Pitt Community Colleges Announce Surgical Technology Agreement

Edgecombe Community College and Pitt Community College recently signed an agreement that guarantees admission to two Pitt students into ECC’s Surgical Technology program each year.

The joint program will begin this fall. Students will complete prerequisite courses at Pitt and transfer into the program at ECC. Pitt does not have a program in surgical technology.

“Pitt reached out to us and said their healthcare facilities were in need of surgical technologists,” explains Suzi Shippen-Wagner, program chair of Surgical Technology at ECC. “We started talking about a joint program about eight months ago, so it didn’t take long for us to finalize the details and attain all of the required approvals.

“A benefit of the community college system is that we can respond quickly to workforce needs, and this is a great example of community colleges working together to make it happen,” she says.

Surgical Technology is a five-semester degree program at ECC. When students complete the requirements for a diploma, they are qualified to begin working in the field. The remaining courses needed to complete the associate degree are online, and all diploma graduates are expected to successfully complete these additional courses.

“We have clinical partnerships with nine different healthcare facilities. ECU Health Medical Center in Greenville is among those, so we already have a good working relationship with this agency,” Shippen-Wagner says. Like other health sciences instructors at ECC, she makes every effort to pair students with clinicals near their homes.

She adds that surgical technologists are in high demand. “The pandemic and recent retirements have changed the environment for our graduates. The local job market is wide open.”

To learn more about Surgical Technology at ECC, please contact Shippen-Wagner at or (252) 618-6738.