The medical assistant field continues to grow at astronomical rates and the state of Michigan is doing its part to help meet the demand.
The state offers medical assistant programs at several community and four-year universities. This past July Grand Rapids Community College graduated a class of 24 medical assistants with 22 already having passed the national certification exam for Registered Medical Assistants.
Amanda Hindsley, one of GRCC’s recent graduates, said that her interest in the field grew from her job at Spectrum Health. Hindsley began working at the health care system after graduating from high school. She said that working in a variety of departments at Spectrum motivated her to pursue a career as a medical assistant.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a growth rate of 23 percent through the year 2024. This means that an average 720 medical assistant positions will be available in the state of Michigan alone.
Linda Witte, health program director for GRCC, said that its Medical Assistant Program is designed with the help of local employers. This collaboration ensures its graduates are gaining the skills required to transition smoothly from the classroom to the workplace. The program has a 96 percent placement rate overall and 100 percent placement rate in the past five graduating classes.
West Michigan hospitals and community colleges are also doing their part to help fill the growing demand. In October it announced the debut of a registered apprenticeship program for medical assistants. The apprenticeship allows students the opportunity to have a paid position while taking educational coursework. The first group of apprentices is scheduled to graduate in December.
Community colleges in Montcalm and Muskegon counties are also offering an apprenticeship program. The program was created with the help of the U.S. Department of Labor and West Michigan Works. Graduates will be placed with local health care providers including Cherry Health, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Mercy Health and Spectrum Health.