June 27th, 2012
Ulster BOCES Medical Assistants
Sheryl L. Span, Pamela A. Krom, Carl J. Mueller and Akera L. Smith graduated from the Medical Assistant program of the Ulster Adult Career Education Center, a division of Ulster BOCES, during a recent ceremony in Port Ewen, NY.
PORT EWEN - While the group of graduates was small, the sense of pride that filled the room during a recent graduation ceremony of the Medical Assistant (MA) program of the Ulster Adult Career Education Center emanated from all in attendance. The Adult Career Education Center, a division of Ulster BOCES, is located at the Ulster BOCES Career & Technical Center in Port Ewen, NY.
The four Medical Assistant students who graduated had already demonstrated considerable determination in working towards the successful completion of this unique and challenging program. As explained by Marita Kitchell, Ulster BOCES Supervisor for Health Occupations and New Visions, MA students must complete 840 hours of training (including a 140-hour clinical externship in a medical facility). They then have the opportunity to take and pass the Medical Assistant Exam, conducted in-house by the National Center for Competency Testing. Learned skills include a comprehensive overview of theoretical and clinical concepts, as well as the financial and administrative functions within a medical office.
The four honorees, Sheryl L. Span of Kingston, Pamela A. Krom of Port Ewen, Carl J. Mueller of Saugerties, and Akera L. Smith of Kingston, marked this milestone occasion, surrounded by family and friends. MA instructor Mary Weinberger expressed how proud she was of all the students who completed the complex coursework. “These are adult students with jobs, who are dealing with real-life issues,” said Weinberger. “Yet they managed to complete more than 900 hours of training.”
Pamela Krom’s journey through the program wasn’t an easy one. The mother of three had previously enrolled in the program but had to withdraw when her boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer. “This is something I have always wanted to do and I feel so fortunate to have been able to come back,” said Krom.
In 2011, Carl Mueller retired from IBM after 30 years to pursue his lifelong dream of a career in the medical field. “I wanted to be an X-Ray technician when I was in high school, but I was told I needed to be a doctor and my grades were not high enough,” said Mueller. He later found out that he really just required two-year certification from a technical school. “I am very happy with the choice I made.”
Medical Assistants are an integral part of the healthcare team, working in the administrative office, the examining room, and the physician’s office laboratory.
“The healthcare industry is expanding because of technological advances in medicine and the growth of the aging population,” says Kitchell. “As a result, Medical Assistants will experience employment growth, which is being driven by the increase in the number of group practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities that need a high proportion of support personnel, particularly the flexible Medical Assistant who can handle both administrative and clinical duties.”