by Lisa Proulx
PORTSMOUTH, NH – Great Bay Community College (GBCC) has partnered with Core Physicians and Wentworth-Douglass Physician Corp Core Physicians and to offer a medical assistant training program. The program includes classroom instruction, hands-on lab experiences and a 160-hour practicum at local medical offices and is designed to meet standards set by the Affordable Care Act. Students learn the skills sets required by regional employers and are prepared for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) national exam.
“Great Bay and our local healthcare partners” said Lin Tamulonis, Associate VP Corporate & Community Education at Great Bay Community College “have created a program that meets current, emerging and employer specific skills and provides the participant with the knowledge and training to be an effective contributing healthcare team member. Through this rigorous training program, students will learn to manage the pace and requirements of a medical assistant position in the field.”
The twelve-week program includes eight weeks of full-time classroom education at Great Bay, followed by four weeks of a clinical externship at area physicians’ offices (160 hours). After the launch in April 2015, forty-one students have successfully completed the program. According to Program Developer, Kim Hashem-Dugal, thirty-nine of the graduates are currently employed as Medical Assistants. GBCC is currently registering for the next session, starting July on 25th.
“We are looking for anyone who wants to become a medical assistant and work in a rewarding career” said Hashem-Dugal. “Externship sites are available at Physicians’ offices in Portsmouth, Rochester, Exeter, Epping, Barrington, Dover NH, as well as Beverly and Newburyport, Mass, and other locations. Each one of these sites has potential job openings.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for medical assistants continues grow due to both advances in healthcare and the requirements of an aging population. “GBCC’s program fills an immediate need” said Hashem-Dugal. “Physicians and their patients cannot afford to wait for students to complete nine-month or two-year program. Unlike other Colleges, GBCC’s program is only 12 weeks. The program cost of just $5500 per year, excluding books and other supplies, is also something that students find very manageable.”
“There is a shortage of trained medical assistants in the field,” said Chris Callahan, Vice President of Human Resources for Exeter Hospital. “We have developed this program to support what is essentially a developing profession. Trained medical assistants are a valuable resource for physicians to ensure patients receive care in an expert and efficient manner.”
For recent medical assisting program graduates or those currently working in the field who are looking for a credential, GBCC is also offering the National CCMA exam. Those interested in more information on the exam can also contact Kim Hashem Dugal