In big demand

Medical assistant is a hot career choice for 2021

Jenny Petkash and Sara McGath, both of Salem, practice urine drug testing in the medical assistant program at Mahoning County Career and Technical Center’s Adult Career Center.

CANFIELD — Medical assistants are in big demand and the program at Mahoning County Career and Technical Center’s Adult Career Center is turning out well-trained individuals for those jobs.

“Medical assistants are trained to provide patient care, and they are able to handle clinical and administrative duties,” said Jodi Glass, recruiter / marketing specialist at the Adult Career Center. “They work hand in hand with nurses.”

The latest placement rate for Adult Career Center medical assistant was 92 percent in 2019 and this year the demand is even stronger, according to Glass.

“Medical assisting training is an excellent choice for those looking to eventually pursue nursing as a career path. Some graduates find lifelong and fulfilling careers as medical assistants, while others work toward taking steps in a longer career path,” she said. “With the ability to work in so many areas of health care, medical assistants can easily pursue careers in other related positions.”

Those posts include medical office specialist with medical coding and billing, EMT and paramedic programs.

Glass said the medical assistant program began in September 1990. It has since been a popular course and averages between 10 to 18 students per year. The student’s ages range from fresh out of high school to adults in their 50s.

The course is a certified one that can open a variety of doors for the student.

“Becoming certified in both medical assisting and phlebotomy provides the opportunity to pursue a career path that can really help graduates explore employment in different avenues in health care,” Glass said. “They are trained to act as a resource for both patients and the medical facility.”

She said medical assistants are able to perform duties that those without certifications cannot. The course is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Students achieving American Association of Medical Assistants certification are approved to perform e-scribing, and for insurance purposes they can work with all populations of patients.

“Being a medical assistant is all about helping others,” Glass said. “The care students are trained to deliver provides them with the skills they need to work in physicians’ offices, outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, extended care facilities, government facilities and more.”

They are cross-trained to perform both administrative and clinical duties. They can collect and record patient medical histories and vital signs, assist in tests and minor procedures, give injections, change dressings and provide patient instructions.

On the administrative side, students are prepared to schedule patient appointments, manage inventory, perform billing operations and daily office tasks.

Glass said with their added training in phlebotomy, the students learn to draw blood from patients or blood donors, label blood samples, assemble and maintain medical instruments including test tubes, needles and vials.

As for COVID-19, Glass said the classes continue at the school and the students continue to meet in person. They are observing all health department guidelines, personal protective equipment requirements and guidelines, and are performing sanitation that is in line with clinical externship requirements.

“In addition to the focus on the health department and PPE guidelines,” Glass said, “students are receiving training that includes a heightened awareness of COVID in the course.”


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