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P35 - Implementing a Medical Assistant Apprentice Program - Lessons Learned from the First

Purpose: The purpose of this poster is to present information about a pilot program implemented to train individuals in becoming medical assistants over the course of one year with on-the-job training and online coursework. The issue to be addressed by this solution is to have a pipeline of qualified candidates to fill ongoing medical assistant vacancies throughout the clinics.

Background/significance: The ability to recruit and hire sufficient medical assistant staff has become increasingly difficult since mid-2018 for this institution. Historically, clinics relied on placement of medical assistant students in clinics for the externship as the usual pipeline to fill medical assistant vacancies. However, as the demand for medical assistants grew regionally, the pool of available medical assistant candidates became limited.

Description: In partnership with a state-sponsored healthcare apprentice program, this institution launched a pilot medical assistant apprentice program in February 2019. Five individuals were selected to be apprentices through a competitive process. Additionally, five medical assistants were selected from various clinics to perform the role of medical assistant coach. Coaches provided on-the-job training based on curriculum guidelines for expected skill acquisition by timeline and documented monthly timesheets and clinical skills checklists. Medical assistant apprentices are required to perform 40 hours a week of on-the-job skills training with their assigned coach and complete an additional 10-15 hours per week of online study outside of their clinic hours. Access to the online study course was provided through the state sponsored healthcare apprentice program. Upon completion of the online course work and 2000 clinical hours, the apprentice is eligible to take the medical assistant certification examination. Upon passing the certification examination and meeting state requirements to practice as a medical assistant, the medical assistant apprentice is hired into a medical assistant position.

Evaluation and outcomes: This pilot is still in progress and final outcomes will be forthcoming by March 2020. Measurable outcomes include completion of required skill sets, completion of online course work, completion of 2000 hours of clinical practice with patients, successful completion of the Department of Health Medical Assistant Certification examination, and transition of apprentices into roles of medical assistants employed at this institution.




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