From Salish Kootenai College
PABLO — Starting fall 2019, Salish Kootenai College (SKC) transitioned from a 2-year Medical Assistant Associate of Applied Science (AAS) to a 10-month Medical Assistant Certificate of Completion. All graduates passed the National Healthcareer Association Clinical Certified Medical Assistant (NHA CCMA) examination. Medical Assistant students who chose the option of sitting for NHA’s Phlebotomy Technician certification examination (CPT) have also earned their CPT credential from NHA. Students are now able to sit for both national certification exams on campus.
The Medical Assistant Certificate of Completion (C.C.) focuses on a competency-based learning approach that prepares graduates with the key skills required by healthcare employers. Students participate in classroom laboratory activities to include career development, medical law and ethics, effective communication, introduction to electronic health record (EHR), coding and billing, finance, administrative procedures, human disease, anatomy and physiology, infection control, phlebotomy, diagnostic testing, simulation module learning and applied clinical laboratory practices.
Graduates can pursue career opportunities with private practices, hospitals, clinics, and government agencies. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of Medical Assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016-2026. As a result, physicians will hire more medical assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties allowing the physicians to see more patients. The median annual Medical Assistant salary is $33,988, with a range usually between $31,331-$36,700. However, salaries can vary widely depending on a variety of factors such as location and type of health care facility.
Certified Medical Assistants are able to obtain additional certifications including Electrocardiography Technician, Phlebotomy Technician, Specialty Certified Medical Assistants and work as clinic managers.
SKC’s Medical Assistant program graduated its first class in the spring of 2017, and has produced graduates every year since then. Of the graduates 65 percent are working as CCMAs (Montana and Alaska), 21 percent are working in healthcare settings in another capacity, and 14 percent have continued their education or chosen to work elsewhere.