Joliet Junior College is now enrolling students for spring 2020 in its new medical assisting program, a one-year certificate pathway that’s serving a growing need in the healthcare industry.
Medical assistants support patients, perform tests, manage medical records, and carry out administrative tasks, among other duties. It’s a versatile position that can serve in a variety of medical settings, including doctors’ offices, outpatient care centers, medial research centers, nursing care facilities, hospitals, and more.
“It is important that this program is offered at JJC because there is such a demand for medical assistants in our communities,” said Rudayna Jebara, JJC professor and medical assisting program coordinator. “Hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices have consistently asked for this program because they need more medical professionals serving in this role and cannot find them.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23 percent from 2018 to 2028. That’s due in part to increased demand by aging Baby Boomers for preventative care, which is often provided by physicians. In order for physicians to see more patients, BLS projects they’ll hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties. The median annual wage for medical assistants was $33,610 in May 2018.
Students enrolling in the new JJC program will learn to draw blood, give injections, perform electrocardiograms (EKG), collect specimens, and administer medications, among other important tasks. They will study in a small class setting to ensure individualized instruction, as needed.
“Students will have hands-on lab experience where we will perform skills on mannequins and each other,” said Jebara. “They will also have simulation labs, where they will be exposed to ‘real life’ types of situations to prepare them for their career. Our students will also get to use our new VR equipment for empathy training, anatomy and physiology and more.”
Coursework is divided into eight-week intervals, with only two classes at a time. After three semesters of class and lab experience, students will serve a 160-hour externship at an affiliate site. Upon earning a certificate, they qualify to take the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) or American Medical Technologists (AMT) certification exams, which increases marketability.
In advance of the program’s spring launch date, Jebara is conducting several information sessions, which will allow prospective students to learn more and ask questions. They’ll take place on Oct. 15 from 10 to 11 a.m., Nov. 26 from 4 to 5 p.m., and Dec. 10 from 10 to 11 a.m. All sessions will be held in room U-3007 inside U-Building at JJC’s Main Campus, 1215 Houbolt Road.
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