Introducing Concorde’s New MA Hybrid Program
Mar. 23, 2017
Concorde is constantly upgrading and improving its programs to ensure that accrediting standards are continually met and students are fully prepared to succeed in an ever-changing health care workforce. With that in mind, we recently made a number of enhancements to our Medical Assistant program.
Not only have we taken the entire program and aligned it to the 2015 standards established by the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB), but we've also shortened the amount of time students actually spend in the classroom.
"We've also added a component to the program whereby our students learn soft skills, which is something that our program advisory committee members have been asking for, for many years," said Graham Nott, Concorde's Vice President of Academic Affairs.
More learning, less class-time
But, how can there be an added learning component to the program, but less time spent in the classroom? Simple. Many of these "soft skill" classes Nott spoke of will be taught online. Students can complete that coursework on their own time, at their convenience. Much of the content can even be completed in the palm of a student's hand, through their smartphone.
"Most of our campuses have chosen to take that (online) time and reduce the number of days that students are actually on campus," Nott said. "Most campuses are going to a four-day-a-week schedule. This allows our students to spend more time with their families, and it's more convenient to care for their children for students who are working."
The soft-skill coursework will cover things like how to dress at work, how to interact with co-workers, how to manage conflict and how to answer the phone correctly.
"These are some of the things that many of our students as they enter our programs may not have professional experience with," Nott said. "The soft skills are so important for our graduates because it's the No. 1 thing employers look for. What we're trying to do is give them a background and give them some skills before they go out to their externship site."
More recognition of Medical Assistant accomplishments
Concorde also is adding digital badging to the Medical Assistant program, not only for MA skills but for the soft skills as well. Students have the opportunity to earn a number of digital badges before they go out to an externship.
"Every student has their own website that displays their digital badges," Nott said. "So when a student earns digital badges, they can go to their employer and show which digital badges they've earned and the competencies that go behind those digital badges."
New Medical Assistant curriculum
With this new Medical Assistant curriculum, students will take two courses per term instead of the traditional one course. One of the courses will be in-classroom or in the lab on campus, while the other will be online, which the student can do on his or her own time.
"The digital courses are very convenient," Nott said. "You can do them at home on a Saturday. You can work on them at 2 in the morning if that's your schedule. In some cases, you can even consume on your phone on the bus on the way to work."
Seven-and-a-half to eight months is the normal length of time it takes to complete the new Medical Assistant training, Nott said. There are six months of courses followed by a six-week externship in a medical facility.
"The best way a student can take advantage of this new program is to call one of our campuses and inquire about our new MA program," Nott said. "I think it will be more flexible for the student. It will offer enhanced skills for the students, and it will provide them a better opportunity to become employed when they're done."