April 29, 2021

Sedalia, MissouriApril 29, 2021 – Even though State Fair Community College’s Medical Assisting (MEA) program on the Boonville campus started during a historical pandemic, Bethany Pfeiffer, Boonville campus director, was pleased with the startup. Last fall, eight students enrolled and are completing their second semester of course work. Those who successfully complete will earn both the Skills and Professional Certificate in MEA, three credentials for EKG, Phlebotomy and Certified Clinical Medical Assistants (CCMA), and will be ready to begin a healthcare career.  

In fall 2015, the SFCC Medical Assistant program began offering a Skills Certificate (18.5-credit hours), a Professional Certificate (34-credit hours) and an Associate of Applied Science degree (61-credit hours) on the SFCC-Clinton campus and online. The program is also offered on the Lake of the Ozarks campus. Most of the learning takes place online, which makes it convenient for students. However, students meet weekly with the instructor for hands-on training and participate in clinicals at designated healthcare facilities.  

“We are very pleased to be able to offer the Medical Assisting program to the students in the Boonville area,” said Pfeiffer. “This training prepares students to fulfill an important role in the healthcare industry and will help meet the workforce needs in Boonville and surrounding areas.” 

Medical assistants (MAs) typically prepare patients and treatment rooms for clinical exams and interact with clients. They assist licensed practitioners with exams, take and record vital signs and medical information, collect and prepare laboratory specimens or arrange for laboratory services, perform electrocardiograms, give injections, remove sutures, change dressings, and more. MAs may handle patient billing and bookkeeping tasks and work with electronic medical records and coordinate appointments. 

A Skills or Professional Certificate in Medical Assisting can lead directly to employment and counts toward an Associate of Applied Science in MEA. After completing the Professional Certificate requirements, students can take an exam to become CCMAs. Some employers do not require assistants to be certified, but those who are certified increase their career opportunities. 

Two students attending the SFCC-Boonville campus shared their thoughts and experiences regarding the program. Amber Gerke is a Bunceton High School graduate who lives in Prairie Home, and Viola Wayland is a native of Fayette who lives in Boonville.  

“I chose to study medical assisting because it intrigued me in so many ways,” said Gerke. “Looking into this program, I was most intrigued by the variation that the medical assisting program gave. Thanks to this program, I recently became EKG certified and will become certified in phlebotomy and a credentialed medical assistant in the next few months, as long as I pass my certification exams. 

“I loved that there was so much to offer, and it could all be completed within a reasonable amount of time. As a full-time working mother … an efficient program that results in a better job is what I needed. I will graduate in May with my professional certification, and I plan to begin classes this summer to pursue my applied science degree.” 

Wayland shared similar thoughts about the program and talked about her motivation as she reflected on her experiences at SFCC-Boonville. 

“I chose this program because I wanted to give back to small communities, and this was the perfect spot to start. Some of the aspects of this program I love are the one-on-one interactions with the instructor, Jill Semau. She has always been willing to listen and help if needed. This program pulled me out of my funk of not believing in myself, and now I feel like I can do anything. State Fair has impacted me 100 times over, and I will be forever grateful. 

“I am currently doing an internship at JCMG Family Medicine, and I am learning how to be the hard working and fast-moving medical assistant I dreamed of. I am working towards my certificate and will be finishing my associates in late December.” 

Students interested in the MEA program are admitted to SFCC on the same basis as other students. Admission to the college does not guarantee admission into the MEA program. Enrollment at SFCC is underway for the summer and fall semesters. Summer session begins June 1, and fall classes begin Aug. 23. For more information about the program and how to apply, go to www.sfccmo.edu/medical-assisting. Applications for admission are always free. 

Classes are offered in Sedalia, Boonville, Clinton, Eldon, Lake of the Ozarks, Whiteman Air Force Base, and online. Prospective students may apply online at www.sfccmo.edu/admissions, or email admissions@sfccmo.edu for assistance.

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