Meeting current and emerging standards
Whatcom’s medical assisting degree and certificate program is frequently reviewed by faculty and the program’s advisory committee (composed of physicians, employers of medical assistants, and currently practicing medical assistants) to ensure the program curriculum and outcomes are aligned to state and industry standards of practice.
Program innovations in recent years include:
- Alignment with new Washington state laws for medical assisting credentials and scope of practice
- Health information technology infused throughout curriculum to prepare students to use electronic health/medical records while securely maintaining patient information
- Development and implementation of a series of simulation scenarios to help students acquire and/or reinforce the professionalism skills that employers and patients expect and value
The medical assisting program at Whatcom Community College has a retention rate of 82% over the past five (5) years (cohorts starting fall 2012 - fall 2016). Retention is calculated based on the number of students who successfully completed the program divided by the number of students who entered the program.
Whatcom Community College's medical assisting certificate program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, 25400 US Highway 19 N, Suite 158, Clearwater, FL 33763, (727) 210-2350 (caahep.org)
Are there Tech Prep credits that I can transfer from my high school for the medical assisting program?
If you are currently in high school there are several courses that have articulated agreements between the high schools and WCC. Contact your high school counselor about Tech Prep credits.
What are the requirements during and after the course of study in the medical assisting program?
Occupational exposures – The medical assistant may be exposed to various chemicals used in disinfection and sterilization, laboratory testing reagents, biohazard waste and blood-borne pathogens, and communicable diseases. While in the medical assisting program students may have similar occupational exposures. Safety issues and concerns when dealing with occupational exposures are a major focus within the medical assisting program curriculum.
Prior to externship, medical assisting students are required to obtain/maintain provider level CPR and First Aid certificates and the 7-hour HIV/AIDS Education certificate. These certifications are not offered as part of the regular medical assisting program and must be completed by the student on their own time.
What are the standards to be successful in the medical assisting program?
Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to remain in the program. Refer to the WCC 2014-2016 catalog and the medical assisting handbook for more information.
What is the difference between a medical assistant and a nurse?
The training and work of a medical assistant is focused on the outpatient medical office environment. In contrast, nurses (LPN and RN) are primarily trained to work in an inpatient acute care or long-term care medical environment.