Local News

Jun 23, 2010 10:02 PM by Ariel Wesler

Medical assistant program could land you a job

If you're looking for a job, listen up. Healthcare professionals say there is a high demand for medical assistants. This fall, Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria will bring back its medical assistant training program.

If you want to join one of the fastest growing careers in the medical field, consider becoming a medical assistant.

"It seemed really interesting and it also used my background as military and kinda phased me into the medical field," said 28-year-old Michael Partlow of Lompoc.

He was just accepted into the one year training program at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria. In August, the school is bringing back the program after a two year hiatus. The school offers certificates for medical assistants or medical billing. Starting pay ranges from 12 to 18 dollars for an assistant and up to 25 dollars for medical coders.

"Our group hired four new doctors and we have three yet to come on board," said Office Manager Karen Pacheco with the Lompoc Valley Medical Group.

Those doctors need of three medical assistants to help them.

Allan Hancock College has spent the last two years revamping its medical assistant program and is now ready to train students in a field where jobs are available. Lompoc Valley Medical Group says the college is the first place it would look to hire qualified applicants.

Dia Beachey has worked as a medical assistant for 14 years.

"You could be stitching. You could be casting or you could be comforting," Beachey said.

The program coordinator says it's less demanding and generally requires less schooling than becoming a nurse.

"By this time next year, you could be practicing as an M.A.," said Sue Reardon, who's coordinating the program at Allan Hancock College.

"I was a single mom, no education, so I had to do something, and it paid off in the end, it really did," Beachey said.

There is a difference between a nurse and a medical assistant. A nurse is licensed by the state where as a medical assistant is under the license of a practicing doctor.

For more information on enrolling in the medical assistant program, click here.


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