Medical Assistant Program Adds Cutting-Edge Equipment and New Course Offering

By: Angela Mennecke

A student wearing a mask is taking blood from a simulated arm in the new Medical Assistant Laboratory

Medical Assistant program students at College of DuPage now have access to more specialized training, thanks for the addition of new coursework and field-specific equipment.

New equipment including electrocardiography, phlebotomy training and point-of-care testing coupled with a new Diagnostic Procedures course, are specifically tailored to students interested in becoming a medical professional assistant.

COD Medical Assistant program Faculty Coordinator Diane Gryglak said that the new lab equipment and program course allows Medical Assistant program students to learn the most relevant skills for their profession.

“Formerly, Medical Assistant program students were mixed into courses that were meant for other occupations such as phlebotomy technicians and clinical lab science students,” she said. “Bringing new equipment to the program allows students to learn the most relevant skills for their profession, and the curriculum change has shortened the program so students can focus on specific skills they will most likely use on the job.”

The program’s cutting-edge technology and hands-on experience was one of the main reasons student Jessica Selio decided to enroll in the program.

“When I was going on college tours, COD’s medical lab simulations were by far the most advanced and offered the ability for me to have clinical experience in the labs right on campus,” she said. “In COD’s Medical Assistant lab, I am able to draw blood on simulation arms and perform echocardiograms. Only being enrolled in the program for a year, I have learned so much and I’m excited to take those skills to my off-site clinicals.”

Due to the increasing number of physician group practices, the medical assistant career is rapidly growing and is expected to maintain this momentum through the year 2022 and beyond, said Gryglak.

“Medical Assistants are the 10 fastest-growing careers in health care due to an increase in the number of physician group practices that need support personnel as well as the increase in the aging population and the implementation of electronic medical records.”

The College of DuPage Medical Assistant program offers a certificate program or a two-year Associate in Science degree, which includes both in-person learning, online learning and hands-on clinical experience. A medical assistant completes administrative, procedural, and certain clinical tasks in a health care setting and serves as a liaison between patients, insurance companies, providers and specialists.

Students who graduate from COD’s program receive a certificate of completion and are eligible to sit for the national certification exam through the American Association of Medical Assistants and earn the credential Certified Medical Assistant.

Registration for COD’s spring 2022 is now open. COD will continue to offer a mix of in-person, hybrid, virtual and traditional online courses as part of its measured approach. The semester begins Monday, Jan.24, and includes a 16-, 12- and two eight-week sessions.