Health Technologies English Language Requirement

All health care workers (native and non-native U.S. English speakers alike) are expected to use clear communication skills in the workplace. Students whose native language is not U.S. English are expected to demonstrate "near native" U.S. English language abilities. To confirm this ability, if you have attended school in another country, you need to take the COMPASS ESL and Versant Speaking Tests or to submit TOEFL iBT scores, as part of the admissions process

All students should submit an English Language Requirement form to the Admissions office to verify how they meet the English language requirement.

Students meeting the following criteria must comply with this revised requirement

1. Students who applied to a Health Technologies program on or after May 1, 2013, OR

2. Students who applied to a Health Technologies program before May 1, 2013, but have not yet met the previous English language requirement.

The testing options to meet the English language requirement are listed below. Students who are required to test must choose one option.

Option 1

Take the COMPASS ESL Listening Test AND the Versant Speaking Test.

Required scores for these tests are as follows:

• Students must score at least 91 on the COMPASS ESL Listening Test, AND

• Students must score at least 65 on the Versant Speaking Test.

The COMPASS ESL Listening Test and the Versant Speaking Test are given on campus in the Phail Wynn, Jr. Student Services Center on specific published dates.

The COMPASS ESL Listening Test does not have a fee. The Versant Speaking Test has a fee of $32.50. In the testing lab, students may purchase the test, using Visa, MasterCard, or American Express. Durham Tech will accept only Versant Speaking Test scores with test identification numbers purchased in the Wynn Center at the time of testing.

Information about the COMPASS ESL Listening Test can be found at www.act.org/compass/tests/esl/listening1.html.

Information on the Versant Speaking Test can be found at www.VersantTest.com. NOTE: If you purchase an online practice test, you receive a 10 percent discount by using the code VER-10. Practice tests require the use of a landline telephone.

Scores on the COMPASS ESL Listening test and the Versant Speaking Test are valid for up to three years.

Option 2

Take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), iBT version. Students must earn at least the following minimum scores on the TOEFL iBT:

Listening: 22
Speaking: 26

Please note that the TOEFL iBT is not administered on the Durham Tech campus. Students must make their own arrangements to take the TOEFL, iBT. Practice questions, test information, dates, and testing sites are located at www.ets.org/toefl. There is a charge to take the TOEFL iBT.

When registering for the test, students should indicate that test results be sent to Durham Technical Community College, ID # DI 5172. Photocopies of TOEFL Score Reports are not valid.

TOEFL iBT test scores are valid for up to three years.

If a student does not achieve the required score on the COMPASS ESL/Versant Speaking Test or TOEFL iBT tests, the student should make an appointment at the Center for the Global Learner (White Building, room 58) to make a plan. The student will be referred to appropriate resources to improve English language proficiency. NOTE: The student must achieve the minimum required scores prior to being accepted into a Health Technologies program.

Important Note for Students Entering the Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) or Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) programs:

Students applying to enter a nursing program must provide documentation regarding how they meet the English language requirement annually with EACH competitive admissions application. Students must meet the applicable version as defined in this procedure. For information about the competitive admissions process, please visit the ADN program or the LPN program web pages.

Frequently Asked Questions about the English Language Requirement

Who must meet the English language requirement?

All students enrolling in a Health Technologies program (Associate Degree Nursing, Clinical Trials Research Associate, Dental Laboratory Technology, Health Information Technology, Medical Assisting, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Opticianry, Pharmacy Technology, Practical Nursing, Respiratory Therapy, Surgical Technology) must meet this requirement. "Enrolling" means being accepted to the program and beginning the sequence of program specific courses as outlined in the plan of study.

All students enrolling in a Health Technologies program must complete an English Language Requirement form to verify how they meet the English language requirement. Please see the form for complete information.

If you are uncertain as to whether you must meet the English language requirement, you may email Ms. JoAnn Molnar or Ms. Heidi White for additional information.

When should I take the tests (i.e. the COMPASS ESL and Versant OR the TOEFL iBT)?

Most Health Technologies programs require completion of additional COMPASS tests (for reading, writing and mathematics). You should take these tests around the same time as you take the other COMPASS tests. In other words, you should take these tests as soon as possible following submission of your Durham Tech application (see more information about limited enrollment into Health Technologies programs. You must achieve the required scores before you can be admitted to the program's core courses.

Why do I have to meet these requirements with my English skills?

All health care workers (native and non-native U.S. English speakers alike) are expected to use clear communication skills. Students whose native language is not U.S. English are expected to demonstrate "near native" U.S. English language abilities.

Is there a way to appeal my testing requirement?

No. We have found that students who meet the required test scores are more successful in the Health Technology programs. Demonstrating U.S. English language proficiency on these standardized tests is the only approved way for non-U.S English speakers to meet the English Language Requirement.

What if I do not earn the required scores on the tests?

Students who do not meet the required scores on the tests must meet with the Center for the Global Learner to make a plan. Contact Ms. JoAnn Molnar at molnarj@durhamtech.edu. Students may be advised to complete EFL 050 and/or EFL course. Once students complete this course or other recommended plan, they will be given the opportunity to re-test. Students may choose to retake the test(s) they initially took OR to exercise the other testing option. In either case, students may initially test only twice within a twelve month period. Completion of an EFL course will be required before any third testing option is approved. The student must achieve the minimum scores prior to being accepted to a Health Technologies program.

Where can I find information about the testing dates for these tests?

COMPASS ESL Listening Test and Versant Speaking Test dates can be found on the Versant Schedule web page.

Information about the TOEFL, including testing dates, may be found at www.toefl.com. Please note that the TOEFL iBT is not administered on the Durham Tech campus.

What additional resources are available to help me improve my English language proficiency?

The resources below may assist you in polishing you English language skills:

1. Enroll in a Durham Technical Community College class.

  • A. Credit (register via Web Advisor):
  •     EFL 050 English for Academic Purposes 5 cr hrs.
  •     EFL 055 English for Specific Purposes 3 cr hrs.
  • B. Continuing Education (non-credit register in White 58):
  •     Review the Beyond Basic ESL course offerings such as Accent Reduction, Advanced Guided Conversation, TOEFL Prep.

2. Purchase or borrow from a library a TOEFL preparation textbook or pronunciation improvement materials.

3. Practice using web sites such as www.eslgold.com, http://www.eslhome.com/esl/listen/, http://www.esl-lab.com/

4. Consult with Ms. JoAnn Molnar or Ms. Heidi White for additional resources.