Finlandia Medical Assistant Program Receives Accreditation

HANCOCK, MI – The Finlandia University College of Health Sciences has announced that its Medical Assistant (MA) associate degree program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB).

The MA associate degree program was accredited for five years, through September 2017. Finlandia’s MA program is the only accredited Medical Assistant program in the Upper Peninsula.

“Graduates of Finlandia’s Medical Assistant program are awarded an associate degree from an accredited program. This is a huge advantage for Finlandia MA graduates because it means they are eligible to sit for the national exam to gain the credential of Certified Medical Assistant (CMA),” says Pam Audette, director and assistant professor for Finlandia’s MA degree program.

“The CMA credential, granted by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), is what employers are looking for,” Audette notes. “It demonstrates to employers that the medical assistant has mastered entry-level MA concepts and that he or she has graduated from an accredited degree program that is in compliance with national standards.”

Shannon Richter, RN, unit manager for the Portage Health Medical Group, anticipates that the Portage Health Medical Group will hire more and more certified medical assistants (CMAs) as the health care industry continues to grow and change.

Richter oversees the day-to-day operations of the family practice and pediatric medical clinics at Portage Health in Hancock, Lake Linden, and the recently opened University Center in Houghton. She says the certification credential is especially important.

“To ensure quality patient care, we hire only medical assistants with certification,” Richter says. “CMAs have met national standards and they have the versatility we need because they are trained to work in both the front office and the clinical environments.”

Finlandia University Medical Assistant majors are trained broadly to complete both administrative and clinical tasks, such as medical insurance billing and coding, medical records management, taking patients’ vital signs, administering injections, performing laboratory tests, and assisting physicians with minor outpatient surgery, Audette says.

“A two-year Medical Assistant degree program prepares entry-level medical assistants for employment in many healthcare areas, with most MAs employed in physicians’ offices,” Audette explains. “And given the growing demand for medical assistants in both the Upper Peninsula and nationwide, graduates can seek employment across the United States.”

Medical Assistant graduates are also prepared to continue their education at the bachelor degree level in areas such as Healthcare Management, a program Finlandia University introduced this fall.

Established in 2010, Finlandia’s growing Medical Assistant program has so far graduated 14 students in two classes—2011 and 2012. Ten students are enrolled in the program this fall. Finlandia MA graduates have achieved a 100% pass rate on the national Registered Medical Assistant (R.M.A.) exam, and 13 out of 14 graduates are employed in health care or are continuing their studies at the bachelor’s level.

“The five-year accreditation of Finlandia’s Medical Assistant associate degree program is another testament to the quality of our Health Sciences programs,” said TyAnn Lindell, Finlandia EVP for academic affairs. “Accreditation is a voluntary and rigorous process and it assures our students and community that Finlandia Health Sciences graduates are well-prepared to serve the heath care needs of our communities.”

This April, Finlandia’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program was granted accreditation renewal for ten years by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), through June 2022, the maximum accreditation period awarded. The BSN degree program has been continuously accredited since 2007.

Finlandia’s Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) associate degree program has been continuously accredited since 1998 by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Audette says that students can apply to the Medical Assistant program anytime and could begin taking classes for their degree starting in January 2013.