NMCC medical assisting student Dakota Beaulieu preparing to give an injection in the skills lab. Courtesy of NMCC

PRESQUE ISLE — Northern Maine Community College has succeeded in earning national reaccreditation for its medical assisting associate degree program. After a two-year process of preparation and thorough examination, College officials were notified about the designation by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org).

“Having an accredited medical assisting program in northern Maine is exciting. We are the only medical assisting program north of Bangor to have the CAAHEP accreditation status,” said Taylor LeBlanc, director of the NMCC medical assisting program. “That means we produce medical assistants that have a well-rounded education in all aspects of the profession.” 

NMCC graduate surveys from both 2019 and 2020 show that 99 percent of graduates from this program are either employed in their field or continuing education within six months of graduation, earning an average starting salary of $32,247 in 2020.  

“Graduates of our program have the advantage to sit for the CMA exam, which is only available to graduates from an accredited program,” LeBlanc explained. “It is an honor to continue holding this program accreditation.” 

The commission accredits a variety of health educational programs to ensure that instruction meets national industry standards. The process of accreditation includes a self-study and a site visit by an accreditation team, which was completed via Zoom due to COVID-19.  The commission determined that the medical assisting program meets the educational standards and guidelines established by the profession.   

Graduates of the medical assisting program can secure employment in medical offices or ambulatory clinics, working alongside physicians or other qualified healthcare practitioners such as nurse practitioners, chiropractors or optometrists. Graduates may work in either administrative or clinic roles to support office operations.   

“The accreditation team was meticulous in its examination of the program and we’re very proud of the program’s continued accreditation,” said NMCC President Timothy Crowley. “It is extremely important to the College to have nationally-accredited programs because the endorsement indicates the level of quality available for our students and prospective students, as well as community partners and health-industry employers.” 

The curriculum for the two-year associate in applied science degree includes classroom instruction, skills labs simulations and 160 hours of clinical experience at a local outpatient healthcare facility. The students are taught over 190 curriculum objectives in the areas of anatomy and physiology, infection control, nutrition, medical coding, law and ethics, among others.  

Achieving accreditation allows graduates of the program to sit for the national and global certification exam, the CMA (AAMA) exam. The accreditation is effective for ten years and is renewable subject to further review and audit in order to keep the program up to date with national industry standards. To learn more about the medical assisting program at NMCC visit nmcc.edu.