SANTA MARIA — Several Pioneer Valley High School students are ready for careers as medical assistants after passing the American Medical Certification Association’s accreditation exam.
Medical assistants provide physician support services, which ensure healthcare facilities, run smoothly. They are responsible for administrative as well as clinical tasks, such as taking vital signs, maintaining patient records, preparing patients and rooms for examination, assisting physicians with exams and minor surgeries, and performing front-desk tasks.
“I am grateful that PVHS gave me the opportunity to take the AMCA Medical Assistant exam at no cost,’’ said senior Joana Chavez. “All the studying paid off and personally, passing this certification exam is the beginning of the pathway towards my dream career in the medical field.”
“I am beyond ecstatic to be a certified medical assistant,’’ said senior Fatima Rodriguez. “I felt a huge wave of relief wash over me as soon as I bubbled in my last answer. I studied so hard for so long that when I found out I passed, I internally screamed and felt immensely proud of myself. I’m grateful that I was able to complete this class and certification at no cost knowing I wouldn’t have gone for it if I had to cover everything out of pocket. It was a lot of pressure being the first class to take the AMCA at the school’s expense, but I’m glad I was able to pass and hopefully leave a positive footprint for future classes.”
“I am very grateful and excited for this opportunity that PVHS and my teacher, Mrs. Barata, have given me,’’ said senior Valeria Betancourt. “This AMCA certification is a great start to my medical career.”
Donna Barata, the PVHS CTE medical assisting and medical careers teacher, said that certified medical assistants earn higher pay, have job security, career advancement and are valued for their professionalism and accountability. A one-year certification program to become a medical assistant can cost $2,500-$10,000 and the average salary in California is approximately $42,000, she added.
“We are very proud that these students will be able to get a higher paying job directly after high school,’’ Ms. Barata added. “Some nursing programs will move applicants up on the waiting list if they have worked in the medical industry. A medical assistant occupation can also help pay for their future education.’’
There are about 40 CTE Pathways offered throughout the SMJUHSD, according to CTE Director Dr. Paul Robinson. The SMJUHSD has more than 25 industry partners, Dr. Robinson added.
— Staff report