OCTC's Medical Assisting program will prepare students for future

Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC) is proud to announce its Medical Assisting Program's national accreditation that it received on March 15 by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB).

National accreditation guarantees that the Medical Assisting program meets the standards of quality established by the accrediting body, and that program graduates have the knowledge and skills to become an entry-level medical assistant anywhere in the nation. Additionally, students who graduate from an accredited program are eligible to sit for a national exam to become a certified medical assistant.

The need for certified medical assistants in the United States is projected to grow 29% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Some say this demand has been due to the growth of the aging baby-boom population and the increase for preventative medical services, which are typically provided in an outpatient setting, where the majority of medical assistants are employed.

To address this growing need at the local level, OCTC adopted an accelerated Medical Assisting program that allows students to graduate with a diploma in medical assisting in just one year instead of the more traditional two-year programs. In addition, during the course of the program, students will earn two certificates -- medical office administrative assistant and medical office insurance billing and coding, with the option to earn a phlebotomist certificate.

Students may also take an additional three classes and earn an associate of applied science (AAS) in medical assisting.

Why does this matter?

Robin Clark, medical assisting program coordinator at OCTC says, "Anytime you can deliver a graduate with more skills, more credentials, and a national certification, you have increased their marketability, which in turn increases their competitiveness in the workforce."

From the financial perspective, the accelerated program allows students to finish faster so they can enter the workforce earlier. The Medical Assisting program is also approved for the Kentucky Work Ready Scholarship which covers all tuition not covered by other financial aid grants. The Medical Assisting program supports adult learners and single parents by following a "work and learn" model where students attend class all day on Tuesday and Thursday, then have Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to work and support themselves and their families.

As an added bonus, OCTC medical assisting students have support from an Allied Health success coach, who provides an extra helping hand to ensure students are better equipped to balance work, school, and life.

Today's medical assistant is the primary point of contact for a patient in the outpatient setting. They are checking the patient in; bringing them to the clinical area; obtaining vital signs; taking patient history, documenting the reason for the visit; assisting with exams and minor procedures; administering medications; drawing labs; obtaining samples for diagnostic testing; checking the patient out, often initiating the billing process; and many other administrative duties.

The next Medical Assisting cohort will begin in August. Enrollment is limited; therefore, those interested in joining the cohort should start the admission and financial processes now. For more information, please contact Robin Clark, program coordinator: by phone 270-686-4600 or by email at robin.clark@kctcs.edu.

Kathy Hoffman is OCTC's department head for business, health & public service.

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