Last updated: September 12. 2013 11:31AM - 2667 Views
Special to the Chronicle

Contributed photo |Northeastern Technical College in Cheraw.
Contributed photo |Northeastern Technical College in Cheraw.
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Northeastern Technical College (NETC), in collaboration with CareSouth Carolina, has introduced two new programs designed to train skilled workers for health care agencies throughout our communities.

The community health worker (CHW) and certified medical assistant (CMA) programs are both scheduled to begin September 16 and will focus on preparing new and current entry-level workers for successful health careers by providing skills development and on-site work experience.

Community Health Worker Program

The community health worker program will last six weeks, meeting Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. followed by a four-hour practicum from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at a designated clinical center.

According to NETC, a community health worker is responsible for providing basic health care information, while working as a liaison between patients and caregivers. At times, a community health worker may counsel and teach patients about how to effectively self manage their health and also provide resources to their clients. The role of the community health worker is also to help improve access to health care for ethnic minorities, educate families about health care coverage and promote healthy communities.

“There is a growing need for good communication between health care professionals and their patients. Community health workers are trained to communicate health information so it’s easily understood,” said Sherrie Chapman, NETC Dean of Continuing Education. “With ethnic and cultural boundaries, sometimes the communication fails, or worst, is never established. Community health workers serve as a link between health care services and the community, improving the quality and cultural competence of delivered service.”

Certified Medical Assistant Program

The certified medical assistant class will meet Monday through Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. for nine months. After the instructional class for the CMA program is successfully completed, students will be required to complete a 160-hour unpaid clinical training secession at a local health center. Following clinicals, students will be eligible to take a certification exam to become a certified medical assistant.

A medical assistant is a multi-skilled and versatile professional, trained to work in all clinical settings. These assistants are relied on heavily by the medical team for things like: basic administrative and clinical tasks, maintaining patient records and scheduling appointments, purchase of supplies/equipment, and are also trained to record medical history and vital signs, assist during patient exams and collect/prepare lab specimens.

“As a rural health care provider, it can be a challenge to find workers with the right skills. By partnering with Northeastern Technical College, we can design the training programs that we need to develop our frontline staff that will broaden and strengthen our healthcare centers. This is good news for our community both in terms of career opportunities and our ability to improve health care,” said Ann Lewis, CareSouth Carolina CEO.

CareSouth Carolina has partnered with NETC to design and implement both the community certified medical assistant and community health worker training programs using grants received from the Ryan Community Health Network Foundation to help NETC develop these new programs.

How to Enroll

Students considering enrollment in NETC’s community health worker training program must have a high school diploma and score a level three or higher on the WorkKeys: “Reading For Information” assessment test. Those considering enrollment in NETC’s certified medical assistant training program must have a high school diploma and score a level four or higher on the following three WorkKeys assessment tests: Reading For Information, Applied Math and Searching for Information. A SLED check, physical, two-step PPD test and CPR Certification will be required for all students in the CMA program.

Tuition will be due at time of class registration. Options are available for students seeking financial aid and students who are SNAP recipients may be eligible for free tuition.

Persons interested in becoming a certified medical assistant or community health worker, who would like to enroll in either of the upcoming training programs, should contact NETC’s Division of Continuing Education at 843-921-6925 or toll free (800) 921-7399. For details about other courses and programs offered at NETC, visit www.netc.edu.

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