POWELL, Wyo. - Big Horn Basin residents who'd like to enter the growing job field of health care can prepare for a career as a clinical medical assistant (CMA) in a new program beginning Saturday, Jan. 23, through the Northwest College Center for Training and Development in Powell.
CMAs are multi-skilled practitioners who assume a wide range of roles in physicians' offices and other health-care settings. Proficient in a multitude of administrative and clinical tasks, they can be called on to assist with procedures, care for patients, perform simple laboratory tests and administer medications.
The CMA program in Powell is made possible through a partnership between Boston Reed College and the NWC Center for Training and Development. Classes meet from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on most Saturdays from Jan. 23 through June 26. In addition to 134 hours of class instruction, students also complete 160 hours of clinical externship in area clinics.
Graduates of the program receive a certificate of completion and are qualified to apply for certification offered by the National Center for Competency Testing.
The U.S. Department of Labor lists the national average starting pay for CMAs as $10-16 per hour and advises that employment of medical assistants is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations as the health services industry expands due to technological advances in medicine and a growing and aging population.
CMA duties vary from office to office, depending on office location, size and specialty. According to the Wyoming State Board of Nursing, decisions on whether or not a CMA can perform injections or administer medications may vary depending on the preference of the doctor responsible for that particular office.
To be eligible for the CMA program, students must be at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma or its equivalent and be competent in basic computer operations. Access to the Internet, printing capabilities and an e-mail account are also required.
Prior to placement in an externship, students must submit a resume and show proof of CPR training (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and a health examination that includes tuberculosis testing.
Cost to enroll in the program is $2,595, which encompasses books and consumable supplies. Financial assistance is available, including a limited number of fee waivers worth up to $2,000 for those who don't qualify for financial assistance from the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services, Vocational Rehabilitation or other agencies.
For more information about this Certified Medical Assistant Training, call 307-754-6062 or follow the Clinical Medical Assistant link.