Instructor Carmen Bissin demonstrates a procedure to medical assisting students at Allan Hancock College. Applications are now being accepted to join the medical assisting, and medical billing and coding programs in fall 2017. California has the highest employment levels in both medical assisting, and medical billing and coding.
Instructor Carmen Bissin demonstrates a procedure to medical assisting students at Allan Hancock College. Applications are now being accepted to join the medical assisting, and medical billing and coding programs in fall 2017. California has the highest employment levels in both medical assisting, and medical billing and coding.

People looking to get their foot in the door for a career in healthcare can take the first step by registering for the medical assisting and medical billing and coding programs at Allan Hancock College. Applications for both of the two-semester programs are being accepted now for the fall 2017 semester. Online applications are available at www.hancockcollege.edu, then click Programs of Study, and select Medical Assisting. Completed applications will be accepted in the college’s Health Sciences office (M-132) on the Santa Maria campus through May 31.

“Our programs are designed with local employers in mind,” said Susan Reardon, health sciences department chair at Hancock. “We’ve had an increasing number of students hired locally before they even finish the program. Each year the demand is growing.”

This demand is part of a national trend in the industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for medical assistants will grow by 23 percent through 2024. California has the highest employment level in both medical assisting, and medical billing and coding. Salaries in both occupations are also expected to rise in California.

“More individuals are seeking physicians, so clinics have been expanding to meet that demand. In fact, many offices in Santa Maria have several former Allan Hancock College students on their staff,” said Reardon.

Both the medical assisting certificate and the medical billing and coding certificate are two-semester programs that start in the fall semester and can be completed in 10 months. The medical assisting certificate is a full-time program held during the day, and focuses on a variety of administrative and clinical duties such as taking vital signs, drawing blood, performing electrocardiograms, scheduling patient appointments, and handling medical records.

The medical billing and coding certificate consists of individual courses held in the evening and focuses more on maintaining medical records, billing and coding information for insurance purposes.

State or national certification maximizes salary and employment opportunities. Allan Hancock College’s medical assisting program is partnered with American Medical Technologists, one of the national certification agencies recognized by the Medical Board of California. Upon graduation from Hancock’s program, students are eligible to take the certification test to become registered medical assistants.

Students interested in other healthcare professions such as physicians assistants, nursing, radiology or even physicians can also find success through Hancock’s medical assisting programs, as many of those programs have long waiting lists and require work experience in the medical field to apply.

“It’s a great stepping stone,” said Reardon. “Many students choose to do these programs while they are on the waiting list for another healthcare program. In the meantime, they gain transferrable skills and work experience and they also get to know the doctors and healthcare professionals who will hire them.”

Students have until May 31 to apply for the medical assisting and the medical billing and coding programs. Hancock’s class sizes are small with 30 students accepted per class each year to create the optimal learning environment.

Minimal prerequisites, drug testing, vaccinations and other paperwork are required as part of the application process, which is why it is recommended that students who are interested apply as soon as they can.

Once again, applications for these programs are available on the Allan Hancock College website at www.Hancockcollege.edu by clicking on Programs of Study and Medical Assisting. For more information contact the Allan Hancock College health sciences department at (805)922-6966 ext. 3384 or healthsciences@hancockcollege.edu