New Opportunity For L&C Students

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Justine Humphreys

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Lewis and Clark Community College is offering a new program in 2014, a Medical Assistant Degree. The program is meant to give students both administrative and clinical skills for a career in healthcare. Depending on which degree, either the Certificate of Proficiency or the Associate of Applied Science can be achieved. A student could graduate in three semesters for only the certificate. Two more semesters are required for the AAS degree.

“Someone looking for a career that will allow them the ability to work a daytime shift might prefer the career choice of medical assisting over other healthcare profession that provides care in a 24/7 facility,” said Shelle Ridings, Program Coordinator.

Being a Medical Assistant, jobs at nurse practitioner’s offices or doctor’s offices are available.  This is not to be confused with a nursing degree. Through this program, graduates will be offered to take the Registered Medical Assistant exam, which is a credential. This credential allows the graduate to work in different states without taking another test. On the other hand, nurses have a license to work only for a specific state.

Medical Assistants only provide care to patients with an order from a licensed medical professional. They do, however, learn to draw blood, give injections, take vital signs, and take anthropometric measurements and minor office surgeries. Nurses are trained to work in the higher levels of healthcare, like hospitals.

Jill Lane, the Dean of Liberal Arts and Business, said, “We have been interested in developing this program for a couple of years based on input from the Office Technology Program Advisory Committee as well as compelling labor market data.”

The program falls under the Business Division because the main courses are from the Office Technology Program. Those who have the degree perform office and administrative skills along with the clinical skills.

Ridings would like future students to know that they must pass a background check and a drug screen before entering the program. An externship is mandatory. The student will be placed in a healthcare facility for 160 hours. Students will put their skills to use through the externship. She adds that Medical Assisting is a great way to begin a healthcare career because of the possibility of searching for a job sooner, but it is not for everyone.

To contact Shelle Ridings about more information or how to enrollment, call or email her at (618) 468-4616 or To contact Jill Lane about more information, call or email her at (618) 498-4900 or

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