This archived article was written by: Mara Wimmer
Whether a person lives the healthiest lifestyle or not they will need to visit a doctor’s office eventually. It is with this premise that USU Eastern is offering a medical assisting program fall semester. Doctors need assistance and that assistance comes in many shapes and forms, which are covered by a medical assistant. Fall 2015 is the first year the program is offered on USUE’s campus. USUE can start training individuals to join an ever-growing job market.
“The job outlook for medical assistants is very good,” Michele Lyman, director of health professions, said. “In 2012 it was listed as one of the fastest growing health occupations by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They have predicted that employment of medical assistants will grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022.”
The program takes two semesters to complete; however, in order to receive the national certification or registration, additional testing is required. In order to get into the program, students must have already completed English 1010, either math 1050 or stats 1045, be an actively licensed CNA or take Nursing 1000 and a hold GPA of at least 2.75.
During the first semester of the program students take phlebotomy, medical assisting administrative work, anatomy and physiology, if they have not already taken it, and administrative-competency lab.
The second semester students take clinical competency, the practicum, and pharmacology. The second semester is to ensure students are ready to work in the field. There are no classes over the summer semester.
“Summer would be a good time to get the advanced placement credits, to get your transcripts in order or take the prerequisites,” Lori Rager, medical assisting lead instructor at the Price campus, said.
Virgil Caldwell, director of distance education and program development, originally started the medical assisting program in the latter part of 2005. Lyman took over the reins of the program in December 2010. When she first took over, Lyman met with the American Medical Technologists Association and found out what it took to be a certified program. Since then the program shifted to cover the topics required for students to become nationally certified medical assistants. The program has graduated 49 students from the program and 80 percent of those have gone on to be certified. Thirty of the 49 students graduated within the last five years.
“Although, Caldwell had the vision for the MA program, he realized the importance of having a medically trained person to take it to a high level,” Lyman said.
With the success of the program at the Blanding campus and the local need for medical assistants, the program was brought to the Price campus through a grant and financial assistance from Castleview Hospital. The program has only a few students; however, the January session and the spring semester hold promises of a large increase.
“This is the first semester where we have had an MA program, it is brand new and an exciting addition to our campus,” Greg Dart, vice chancellor of enrollment management and student affairs said. “What we believe is that we will have significant interest in the program going forward.”
Lyman and Rager are both looking to move the program forward in certification. Rager hopes to get the program to offer both paths: registered medical assistant and certified medical assistant. Currently the program is centered on the registered medical assistant and does not quite offer the certified medical assistant. All that is required is accreditation for the program. Lyman is communicating with the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) to give the program and the school the distinction of meeting the ABHES criteria and standards.
“ABHES is recognized by the secretary of education as being a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered by educational institutes,” Lyman said.
The beginning of the year saw the beginning of a program. With an ever-increasing job market instructors and administrators expect to see growing interest in the program over the next few semesters. To register for the spring semester, all applications are due Nov. 20, 2015. For the fall of 2016 students must apply before Aug. 5, 2016. Students who desire to participate in this program can talk to Lyman, Rager or Dart for more information.