It is no secret: The demand for skilled workers in the health-care profession is still high, so some Edmonton post-secondary institutions are looking to fast-track their students into the field.

NorQuest College is one institution that has recognized the need for not only nurses but for trained professionals in the entire health-care field.

By offering many programs, such as the hospital unit clerk program, they are hoping get more graduates out of the classroom and into jobs as quickly as possible.

“There is not a lot of fluff in the program,” says Diane Ockerman, co-ordinator of business and print media at NorQuest College.

Unlike other institutions offering similar programs, this 16-week certificate program is tailored for students to make a quick entry into the field.

“They are getting in quickly and they are getting the skills to walk right into a job,” says Ockerman.

Most of the graduates coming out of the hospital unit clerk program have jobs or at least interviews.

With the skills learned in the program, graduates can find careers in active care hospitals, extended care facilities and private medical offices.

The University of Alberta and Grant MacEwan are also doing their part to supply more nurses into field.

Grant MacEwan has now begun to offer degree programs in nursing, as opposed to before where students were only able to receive a diploma and had to finish the degree at the University of Alberta.

“We used to take in Grant MacEwan students, but now we are able to expand our after degree program,” says Dan Given, communications co-ordinator for the faculty of nursing at the U of A.

Students with a university degree can apply for this program to get their degree in nursing.

This program is also offered out at their Camrose campus.

The U of A also has nursing campuses throughout Alberta to draw more rural students and train them to nurse in a more rural environment.

“They will learn to nurse anywhere, with just a slightly different focus,” says Given.

The U of A handed out about 473 nursing degrees in 2008 from the city and all other affiliated campuses.

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