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Celebrating our MA Apprentices During National Apprenticeship Week

ACC Medical Assisting Apprentices in scrubs and gloves, pose for a picture during class.

It’s National Apprenticeship Week! What a great time to recognize our hard-working students, instructors, staff, and employer partners. It really takes a team to make an apprenticeship successful.

I have the joy of working closely with our Medical Assisting Apprentices. They spend Monday through Thursday working in their clinic with an employer partner, and many work up to 32 hours a week assisting their preceptor and provider with patients. Their main duties include greeting patients, taking their temperature and blood pressure, drawing blood, keeping notes about the visit, assisting with medication administration, and assisting with any other in-clinic procedures. On Fridays, they are in school all day attending lectures and practicing skills during lab hours. In the evening and weekend hours, they complete their readings and do their homework. Many of our students are also juggling family responsibilities and additional personal commitments in addition to this intensive program. I continue to be blown away by our apprentices and their dedication and commitment to the program. They work extremely hard and don’t take this opportunity lightly. At the end of the 6-month education period, most apprentices can accept a full-time permanent position with the employer partner. Their hard work is definitely worth it, and part of my role is cheering them on and reminding them that they can do it. Below is one of our cohorts with their lecture instructor, Kristin Rice. Kristin is an ACC graduate of the Medical Assisting Program and has been an instructor for the Medical Assisting Apprenticeship since the very first cohort. Kristin also continues to work in the Medical Assistant world and brings real-world experience and lessons into the classroom.                     

ACC Medical Assisting apprentices pose for a picture in the classroom.

During our orientation and the first few classes, I am often sharing with apprentices that it might feel like they are drinking from a fire hose the first few weeks. Everything is new. They are beginning a new job and learning the practices and culture of the environment. At the same time, they are beginning school and figuring out how to structure the work to set them up for success. One of my favorite things is watching them grow in not only their skills but also in their personal confidence. One of the skills that make many apprentices both excited and nervous is drawing blood. They will learn from each other which only makes the cohort closer. They are literally in this together.

Two ACC Medical Assisting apprentices practice drawing blood on one another during class.

Our instructors are right there in it with them. The picture below is our lab instructor, Casey Hastings allowing a student to draw her blood while instructing. Casey is an RN First Assist Surgical Nurse and has been teaching with our program for 3 years. She brings a wealth of experience, energy, and wisdom to the program. We have 2 dedicated instructors who work with our apprentices through their program, and they are both incredible humans and teachers. They take their responsibility of preparing future medical assistants very seriously and desire for our apprentices to be fully prepared and competent.

ACC medical assisting students practice skills on each other during class time.

At the completion of the program, we get to celebrate with our apprentices, and this is my favorite part. This past graduation commencement we had several apprentices choose to walk in the ceremony. For many, it was their first college graduation, and they were so proud to have family and friends there to see their hard work recognized. I had so much fun cheering loudly as their names were read and remembering the blood (literally!), sweat, and tears that lead up to this moment for them. Below are a few of our apprentices at the Spring 2022 commencement ceremony.  

An ACC Medical Assistant program graduate in regalia at ACC's Commencement Ceremony.

2 ACC Medical Assistant program graduates in regalia at ACC's Commencement Ceremony at the Littleton Campus.

We are in the middle of our ninth cohort in the Medical Assisting Apprenticeship and have seen 135 apprentices go through the program to this point. As the program grows several of our former apprentices who are now full-time Medical Assistants have become preceptors to current apprentices. It is a beautiful full-circle moment, and they are some of the best teachers because they have been through the program and know exactly what the new apprentice is experiencing.

If you are interested in learning about becoming an ACC Apprentice or know someone who may benefit from this program please check out our webpage, for more information and to sign up on our interest list.