Campus Spotlight – Citrus Heights, CA

The city of Citrus Heights, located in Sacramento County, only gained official ‘Cityhood’ in 1997. That’s just eight years before our 28,000 square foot Carrington College California campus first opened its doors to this family-friendly northern California community.

The civic website says that ‘Citrus Heights is a great place to live, work, and play’. Well we think that our Citrus Heights campus is ‘a great place to study’. We spent some time with Michelle Kreuzer, MBA, the Campus Executive Director, who shared some of her thoughts on our most northern location in California.

“We’re known for health care; the community knows us as a health care school. We usually have somewhere in the region of 330 students enrolled, supported by around 50 faculty and staff. Our building was gutted and retrofitted to the school’s specifications before we opened in 2005; it used to be a gym. We have lots of room for growth. It’s a fun place to study.”

The campus offers students eight different programs – Dental AssistingHealth Care AdministrationMedical AssistingMedical Billing and CodingPharmacy TechnologySurgical TechnologyCriminal Justice, and Veterinary Technology.

“Medical Assisting is our most popular program by enrollment, closely followed by the Veterinary Technology and Dental Assisting programs. I would say that Veterinary Technology is our most unique and most interesting program; we do have a full-time veterinarian on staff and a full surgical suite and x-ray machine so we have surgeries take place on site.

We do a lot of spay and neuters, but we do other surgeries as they are deemed necessary. Although we don’t do anything too surgically specific; our veterinarian is a general practitioner with a specialized certification in acupuncture and rehabilitation.”

The facilities at the Citrus Heights campus offer students the opportunity to get practical, hands-on experience in labs that replicate the environments where you may find yourself earning a living in the years to come.

“Our Dental Assisting lab is quite comprehensive; we have four dental chairs and the lab is simulated to look like a doctor’s office. It provides students with a pretty real experience. Our Medical Assisting lab also replicates the kind of environment that students may find themselves in when they enter real-world medical assisting positions.

Our pharmacy lab gives our Pharmacy Technology students access to real, although empty or sometimes bean-filled, medication containers. They get to practice handling and dispensing medications in a simulated environment. Our Surgical Technology lab has manikins, so if you walk in and the lights are out you can frighten yourself a little, thinking there are bodies laying on the tables! It’s a pretty neat, interesting lab actually.”

The campus does have some areas that are not dedicated to student learning, although we find that wherever our students gather, more often than not there will be some form of group study occurring!   

“We have a break room with soda and snack machines where students can relax. We also have a Student Success Center – it’s kind of like a computer lab and library mixed together but students tend to relax in there as well as study. We’re actually in the process of giving the building a little facelift – painting the hallways and updating the lobby. We will have some student success stories on the walls and some new display boards.”

Access to the campus is excellent, with plenty of free parking for students who drive to school and a couple of bus routes nearby for those who take the bus. There are also numerous stores and places to eat nearby, which is good for students and staff who are usually pushed for time.

“We’re just a few minutes off Highway 80 on Greenback Lane; we’re really in the suburbs of Sacramento. We’re located in a strip mall just down from Safeway with a Kohl’s across the street. Our students have plenty of places to get groceries after class or grab some lunch.”

Many students travel to the campus from regions to the north of Citrus Heights, although not too many come in from the south as Michelle explains.

“We do have people who come quite a distance to school; we have some Veterinary Technology students who travel down from Marysville and Yuba City. We also have some students from Auburn and Grass Valley. We pull students from the foothills. Students travel down to us from the north, more than they travel from the south. If you live to the south of the city you’re likely to be much closer to our Sacramento campus, or even our Stockton campus.”

In addition to lots of student appreciation days, the staff and faculty at the Citrus Heights campus work hard to make sure that Carrington remains a fun place to go to school. While we are always professional, there has to be room for some lighter moments!

“We do a lot of stuff to keep the place energized; just recently throughout June and into the July 4th holiday we had a different Spirit Day each Thursday for five or six weeks. We had a Crazy Hat Day, a Hawaiian Day, a Carrington Spirit Day, and a Patriotic Day where students broke out the red, white and blue on July 3rd – the campus was closed July 4th!

We were going to have a fun BBQ with sack races and a watermelon eating contest, but the weather didn’t cooperate! It was about 112f that day; we couldn’t keep everyone outside or they would melt! So we had to scale it down and bring it inside. We rented a snow cone machine and brought the fun inside, on a smaller scale!

Halloween is always a fun holiday on campus; our Veterinary Technology department prides itself on their haunted house every year. They put on an amazing haunted house – it’s actually very good with smoke machines and all kinds of stuff! We also have a class pumpkin carving contest!”

Student Mentors are heavily involved in pulling together these types of events; Michelle is very proud of the Student Mentor program they have at the campus.

“Students have to go through an application process, and if they are chosen to be a mentor, we take it all pretty seriously. They have to have taken at least two classes, have a good attendance record and good grades; they also have to possess leadership qualities. They are issued a distinctive ID badge; they speak in our orientations, and for the most part help new students along.”

The campus attends local events to spread the Carrington College California name around the community, and whenever possible Michelle likes to have students participate and practice their skills out in public.

“Students are always welcome if they are interested in coming out to an event with us; there is no bigger impact than having a student practicing their skills or doing demo workshops. We have ‘Woofstock’ coming up later in August; we hope to have Veterinary Technology students demonstrating animal restraint techniques, maybe trimming nails or checking teeth. Recently some of our Veterinary Technology instructors went to the Sacramento PD and helped the police K9 handlers learn canine CPR field techniques. We were proud to be able to help them.”

If you have friends or family in the Citrus Heights area that would benefit from learning more about our campus, why not mention our Open House event on Tuesday  August 20th? Or share this blog post with them and have them visit carrington.edu/schools/citrus-heights-california.