Denise Martin first came to CCV for a certificate in Medical Assisting. She had been a business major, but when she returned to school she wanted to change direction. “I really wanted to do something more, to be in an atmosphere where I can help other people,” she said.
She received her certificate, and was one of 700 current and former certificate students the College contacted with information about a new degree program in medical assisting. Credit for all of the courses completed for the certificate (first offered at CCV in the fall of 2008) can now be applied toward the associate degree, and the two required internships caught Martin’s attention. “The internships will give me the practical experience I need to get hired,” she said. “And the work reinforces what you are learning, it gives you a clear picture of what you are getting into.”
CCV’s new Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Assisting was launched this fall, with courses offered in the Bennington, Upper Valley, and Winooski academic centers and also in online and hybrid formats. The program was developed in collaboration with healthcare providers across Vermont who asked for workers with real-life experience, and helped CCV identify fast-growing career opportunities.
The program prepares students for immediate employment in hospitals, community healthcare centers, outpatient facilities, and ambulatory healthcare services. Students complete two 3-credit, 80-hour internships—an administrative medical assisting section to gain skills in professional communications, data entry, computer applications, records management, scheduling, and financial procedures; and a clinical medical assisting section, to gain skills in infection control, patient interviews, equipment operation, patient preparation, diagnostic testing, and collecting and processing specimens. The internships give students hands-on experience and an opportunity to make connections with local healthcare employers.
Martin enrolled in the degree program, and this semester was one of eight student interns completing the administrative medical assisting internship in healthcare facilities around the state. She works in the small office of the Ethan Allen Medical Center in Colchester. “It is reassuring that it is coming so easily and falling into place,” she said. “I like the administration parts more than I thought I would and I love interacting with the patients.”
Response from the workplace has also been positive: seven of the eight participating employers have asked their students to return for their clinical internship next semester.