When Tennessee Governor Lee’s GIVE Grant was announced in November 2019, Chattanooga State, as one of its recipients, was poised for action to expand healthcare training in three of its rural service areas. In little more than a year’s time, industry certifications in OSHA, CPR, and Certified Patient Care Technicians were awarded to high school students from Bledsoe, Sequatchie and Marion counties.
In addition, students gained the ability to view human systems virtually in 3D using zSpace, a suite of applications that provide self-study experiences, hands-on laboratory dissections, and ECG certification preparation. Instructors report that student engagement skyrockets as they more deeply understand the 3D interactive experiences. “The schools are fully utilizing the equipment provided by the GIVE Grant and very appreciative,” said Nancy Draper, director of Chattanooga State’s Medical Assisting program. “This has resulted in an enhanced bond/partnership with the College.”
The Medical Assisting program, offered through the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Chattanooga State, a program established on the main campus in 1985, recently expanded into Marion County at the Kimball site. “The initial 2021 cohort class this spring in Kimball is small, but we anticipate a full class for fall 2021,” said Ms. Draper. Applications are being accepted now.
Because of the efforts to expand rural healthcare training provided through the GIVE grant, Ms. Draper has been able to meet with area schools and students to discuss the Medical Assisting program. “We have stirred great interest and therefore anticipate a full class this fall,” said Ms. Draper.
Even more exciting is that Chattanooga State’s Medical Assisting program has been ranked 3rd best among the top accredited medical assistant programs and schools in Tennessee for 2021 by findmedicalassistingprograms.org. Also, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that average median pay for medical assistants starts at $34.8K and the field is expected to grow by 19 percent over the next 10 years, which is must faster than average.
Ms. Draper noted that individuals interested in this growing field are found to be persistent, self-confident, organized, and punctual, while possessing good comprehension, integrity and communication skills. “A typical medical assistant will work well with others in a professional atmosphere working as part of a team focused on excellent patient care,” said Ms. Draper.
Chattanooga State is currently accepting applications for the Medical Assisting program for fall 2021. Day classes will be available at both the main campus and the Kimball Site. For more information about TCAT’s one-year Medical Assisting program call 697-4433, visit chattanoogastate.edu/medical-assisting, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To access Chattanooga State Resources, visit chattanoogastate.edu/student-support-center.