Shortage of Medical Assistants Inspires New Apprenticeship Program

Starting in January 2016, hospitals in the Grand Rapids area in Michigan will be starting new apprenticeship programs for medical assistants seeking state-issued licenses. This is an a-typical path for medical assistants to take, but this change is motivated by the need to get more skilled medical assistants into practice in the face of a growing shortage of MAs nationwide.

The apprenticeship programs are being created by Michigan Works, a workforce development association working in collaboration with various West Michigan hospitals. They are beginning the candidacy process in October 2015 and hoping to bring in enough apprentices to fill a growing gap in Michigan hospitals.

The growth of the medical industry in Michigan is expected to drive an unprecedented demand for skilled medical assistants, forcing area hospitals to come up with creative solutions. These apprenticeship programs create a win/win situation for both hospitals and medical assistant hopefuls.

Medical assistants accepted into the apprenticeship program will be working and attending school simultaneously, filling a 40-hour work week. Apprentices will be earning an income from their working hours as well, alleviating the need to work a separate job while earning certification. Any education costs are to be covered by the employers, or through scholarships and financial aid through Michigan Works.

The program is expected to last up to two years. By the end of the program, apprentices will have gained two years of work experience while completing their licensing requirements.

As the program develops, it will expand to include different medical practices, such as registered nursing.