Those Boots Need More Support: The Boot Camp Model Lacks What Many Students Need

  • Leia Bell Ultimate Medical Academy
  • Rebecca Sarlo Ultimate Medical Academy
Keywords: workforce development, career education, technical education, coding boot camp, technology boot camp, healthcare education, higher education disruptor


This essay explores the boot camp model as a disruptor to higher education and its applicability to industries beyond technology. We examine the bootcamp model applied to the healthcare field. An estimated 30 million jobs paying at least $55,000 annually without a bachelor’s degree exist in the US—yet middle-skilled industries, including healthcare, have trouble finding enough trained workers. At the same time, educators and critics of higher education look for ways to streamline education, to reduce costs, and to create efficient pathways for students to acquire the skills needed to fill critical workforce vacancies. Career-Technical Education (CTE) has long offered accelerated programs aligned with industry needs. Further, a CTE model based on a genuine commitment to student outcomes offers valuable insights regarding how to effectively implement boot camp-type programs while providing the student services many of today’s students need to achieve academic success.

Author Biography

Rebecca Sarlo, Ultimate Medical Academy

Rebecca Sarlo, Ph.D. was named Campus Director of Ultimate Medical Academy’s Clearwater Campus in February 2018 where she oversees both the academic and operational functions at the campus in Clearwater, Florida.

Dr. Sarlo joined UMA in 2013 as Dean of Institutional Effectiveness where she led the creation of the Online Campus and Clearwater Campus program effectiveness plans and supported data-based problem solving. She also oversaw the institution’s advisory boards and multi-tiered student intervention services.

Prior to UMA, Dr. Sarlo worked for the Florida Department of Education. There she directed secondary school improvement efforts and led the development and implementation of Florida’s Secondary School Problem Solving/Response to Intervention framework to improve Florida’s highest risk middle and high schools.

Dr. Sarlo is an author and sought after national speaker on topics including school improvement, student engagement, early warning systems, and the delivery of effective multi-tiered student intervention services. She earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of South Florida College of Education.