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posted: 8/28/2014 12:44 PM

Medical assistants train at CLC Lakeshore Campus for in-demand career

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  • Jalpa Shah, who graduated from CLC in 2011, is a certified medical assistant who works for Aurora Medical Group of Northern Illinois.

      Jalpa Shah, who graduated from CLC in 2011, is a certified medical assistant who works for Aurora Medical Group of Northern Illinois.
    Courtesy of College of Lake County

 
Submitted by College of Lake County

Job prospects for graduates of the College of Lake County's medical assisting program should be strong, given the demand projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for these hands-on health care workers.

Medical assistants perform a variety of frontline administrative and clinical tasks in physicians' offices, including maintaining electronic medical records, entering diagnostic coding for insurance, drawing blood and taking patient vital signs.

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The BLS projects that employment of medical assistants will grow by 29 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than average for all occupations. In 2012, the median annual salary for these health care workers was $29,370.

"The college's accredited and comprehensive training program offers a myriad excellent career opportunities in medical assisting at a cost far lower than those offered by for-profit colleges," said Deb Haasch R.N., medical assisting department chair.

"Our students are well-prepared to work in this growing career field. The program's externship offers an on-the-job training experience that often leads to full-time jobs."

CLC's medical assisting program is offered at the Lakeshore Campus in Waukegan. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review board.

Students complete an exam to become a certified medical assistant. Recent CLC graduates had a 92 percent pass rate on the national certification exam, far exceeding the average national score of 67 percent, Haasch said.

NorthShore University Health System (NorthShore) is one of the medical groups serving as an externship site for medical assisting students and often hires graduates of the program. Lisa Retherford, R.N., B.S.N., is a clinical educator in NorthShore's Primary Care-Medical Group in Skokie, has high praise for CLC's students.

"Over the past several years, NorthShore University Health System has had many students from the College of Lake County's Medical Assisting program perform their externships in our practices," she said.

"We have gone on to hire many of these students after having very positive experiences with them. We have always found them to be very well prepared for their externship experience. The students have shown proficiency in their technical skills as well as an overall level of professionalism."

Information sessions to explain CLC's medical assisting and phlebotomy programs will be from 4-5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, and 12:30-1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, in Room S305 at the Lakeshore Campus in Waukegan.

Acceptance into the program is limited, and a screening procedure is used to select the academically best qualified students. The screening deadline is the last Wednesday in October (for spring semester admittance into the evening cohort) and the first Wednesday in May (for fall semester admittance into the daytime cohort).

The college offers an Associate in Applied Science degree, the Medical Assisting certificate, as well as a short-term certificate for the health care office assistant. For more information, contact Deb Haasch at (847) 543-2176 or dhaasch@clcillinois.edu, or visit www.clcillinois.edu/programs/moa.

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