People wanting to enter the healthcare field quickly can take advantage of three certificate programs offered by Jackson State Community College.
Students can become certified as a clinical medical assistant, patient care technician, or medical coder after taking the required courses and then passing a national certification exam, said Chrystal Taylor, MALS, RN, Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for Health Sciences.
“Typically, students can be ready for the national certification in one year, after taking six to eight courses,” she said. “It’s a good way to enter the job market.” The programs are also attractive for people already working in healthcare who want to be certified in a particular area, she added.
The three certificate programs can also lead to associate degrees with about another year of classes.
Classes in each area begin again Oct. 14 as Jackson State starts the second seven weeks of its first semester. Students can enroll through the college’s Admissions Office.
Each of the programs prepares the student for different careers in the healthcare field, Taylor explained.
A certified clinical medical assistant, for example, can run the front office for a small medical practice as well as assist with direct patient care. Students in this program can also focus on becoming EKG technicians and phlebotomy technicians where they can work in hospital, clinic, and home healthcare settings.
A certified patient care technician usually finds a job in assisted living or long-term care facilities or a hospital, providing basic patient care such as feeding and bathing.
The Medical Coding Certificate Program, the newest of the three, is designed for students pursuing an entry position in medical coding. This career includes compiling, processing, and maintaining medical records for a hospital or clinic and meeting specific medical, administrative, ethical, legal, and regulatory requirements.
All three programs offer hands-on learning in the form of a clinical rotation in healthcare facilities, Taylor said. Students who do well in their clinical rotation often are hired by the facility.
Taylor weaves soft skills like promptness, a good work ethic, and dressing appropriately into each course. Students leave the program with a well-polished resume, she added.
She has high expectations for her students, she said. “I want students to perform in class the way they should perform in a clinical setting.”
The purpose is to help students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to get a job and start that new career, she explained. “The jobs are there. The healthcare job market is definitely growing.”