Golden Oak Adult School's first Certified Medical Assistant Class. Courtesy of Marie Longworth
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Two new Career Technical Education (CTE) courses at Golden Oak Adult School will give students the skills and resources to become a certified medical assistant or a pharmacy technician in six months’ time.

The short-term accelerated courses, or CTE courses, were made possible through the Gateway SCV Adult Education Consortium (SCVAEC), a partnership between the William S. Hart Union School District and College of the Canyons.

Program cost

Because Golden Oak Adult School is a not-for profit school, the courses are partially federally funded.

This means that the certified medical assistant and pharmacy technician classes can be offered at reduced tuitions of $1,550 and $800 respectively, which is a fraction of the price compared to a for-profit college’s $30,000 program price tag.

“We don’t make money on our classes so we don’t charge those crazy for-profit rates,” said Marie Longworth, certified medical assistant instructor at Golden Oak Adult School.  “Because we partner with COC we can offer these classes at this kind of tuition and benefit the entire community.  We aren’t here to put you in debt.”

The federal funding also requires that the courses’ instructors are credentialed teachers with field experience.  Longworth herself has 30 years of experience in the medical field.

“I’m so excited to bring this to Santa Clarita and want the community to know you don’t need to be in debt when you get out of school,” Longworth said.  “The quality of your instruction matters to us; the quality of your education matters to us.”

Program instruction

The certified medical assistant program is offered in an annex facility in portable buildings at Sequoia Charter Schools.  For 18 weeks the classes meet Monday to Thursday from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. before students begin a month-long, full-time externship.

During classroom instruction, students skills and perform duties that directly translate to work in physician’s offices, urgent care facilities and other ambulatory care settings.

Lessons include administrative skills, EMR, clinical skills (phlebotomy, injections, vital signs, minor surgical procedures and more) and medical terminology.

A unique element of the program is that it pays for each of its students to take the $300 National Healthcareer Association’s clinical and administrative exams.

“It’s a big deal because no other program offers the certification with the program,” Longworth said.  “That gets them the ability to work anywhere.”

Longworth said she added the certification exam element to the course to fit the changes of the industry.

“That is the direction is our field is going,” she said.  “More offices are requiring state and national certifications.”

Current students

Now in its thirteenth week, the certified medical assistant program’s first class is nearly finished with its classroom instruction.

Longworth said the five students in the inaugural course were surprised by the caliber and rigor of instruction.

“I don’t think they were expecting the level of curriculum and it is a college class with college-based instruction,” she said.

Because the school is not focused on profit, it can make the education of its students the top priority.  According to Longworth, the school put a lot of its resources into developing the programs and their facilities.

“This is top of the line instruction-wise,” Longworth said.  “We’re here to educate and for career technical education to get them to college.”

Future plans

In the future, Longworth hopes to see the reputation and presence of the school grow.

“It’s this hidden little gem in the community,” she said.  “In a couple years I’d love to see these classrooms full and see a waiting list and accommodate everyone.”

Until then, Longworth encourages those who are interested in the program to reach out to the programs’ instructors, research the school website,

ccox@signalscv.com
661-287-5575
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_

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Christina Cox
Christina Cox is a multimedia journalist covering education, community and breaking news in the Santa Clarita Valley. She joined The Signal as a staff writer in August 2016.
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