UCF's largest medical class to train on video game simulation tools


ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - The largest class so far at University of Central Florida's medical school began its first year on Monday.

Fifty-five men and 45 women make up the graduating class of 2016, and while it took substantial work to be able to earn admission into the school, the real work has yet to begin.

The class size is seven times larger than UCF's inaugural class four years ago.

Every one of the incoming medical students will train at UCF using medical simulation tools, which essentially are just video games.

The school is already one of the top universities in the nation for game design, which is poised to create a massive job boom in the metro area, and medical simulation could make it one of the top spots in the nation.

Many of the simulations will be built by graduates of the school's video game design school, which according to the Princeton Review, is ranked fourth in the nation after Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"Being able to simply hold up a device like this iPad and focus on the poster and have it come to life," said David Metcalf, of the UCF Institute for Simulation and Training.

And future employment for game designers is booming.

The VA is set to open a major medical simulation center in late 2013, which will train thousands of VA technicians across the nation.

The coming Creative Village will become a hub of game design and medical simulation work and will bring in hundreds of jobs for designers.

And then there are the more than 150-plus companies already in the area largely doing military simulation that are also moving into healthcare, making it a $11 billion a year industry.

"Can this be the largest producer of medical simulation in the country?" WFTV asked.

"We have the potential to be that. We're certainly poised to do that," said Randy Shumaker with the UCF Institute for Simulation and Training.

On average there are currently 150 job openings in the city for game design and development.

And the jobs are high-paying. A 22-year-old graduate will average $50,000 the first year out of school.