Students in the Health Careers program at Meridian Technology Center can be certified as work-ready before graduation.
When Medicare, the largest insurance provider in the U.S., decided in 2017 that non-licensed medical staff would need industry certifications to work in electronic medical records, Meridian’s Health Careers instructors realized they needed to make a change in the program’s curriculum to ensure students were work-ready upon completion.
With industry input and a careful look at the skills needed in the field, instructors implemented changes that would enable students to take the National Healthcareer Association’s (NHA) certification exams in medical assisting and phlebotomy.
Last year was the first year of NHA’s new curriculum and 100% of students who elected to test for the national certifications passed the exam.
Students who have these certifications will be extremely valuable in the workplace, according to Anita Bolay, an instructor in the Health Careers program.
“These certifications help the students, but it also benefits their employer,” she said. “If clinics don’t have certified personnel working in the electronic medical records, Medicare doesn’t reimburse at the standard rate. They can experience as much as a 6% deduction in the reimbursement from the government. That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up quickly.”
The NHA certification exams are not a requirement for students, but they are encouraged. Meridian provides students with study guides for the exams as well as practice tests, but students pay for the exam. Students are eligible to apply for scholarships through the Meridian Technology Center Foundation.
Doug Jones, the program’s phlebotomy instructor, estimates that 99% of students take one of the certification exams.
“They understand that having this certification improves their marketability when they enter the field,” he said. “It’s a great stepping stone to help them secure their first job, but it can also prepare them for their next career in health care.”
Students who complete the Health Careers program at Meridian have the necessary prerequisites to apply to the school’s Practical Nursing program. This 12-month program is open to adults. Applications will be accepted until December 1. For information on the Practical Nursing program visit meridiantech.edu/lpn.
Health Careers at Meridian
From learning the basics of patient care to knowing how to use advanced medical and diagnostic equipment, students in Meridian’s Health Careers program get to work alongside and support medical professionals in a variety of health care settings while providing quality patient care. Upon completion of this program, students are eligible to become a certified nursing assistant, a certified home health aide, a certified clinical medical assistant, a certified phlebotomy technician or a medication administration technician.
High school, home school and virtual school students who live in Agra, Carney, Glencoe, Guthrie, Morrison, Mulhall-Orlando, Pawnee, Perkins-Tryon, Perry and Stillwater school districts can attend Meridian tuition-free during their junior and senior years. Sophomores can enroll for afternoon programs when space is available.
Students spend a half day at their home high school and half day with Meridian in hands-on courses. Meridian is tuition free for district high school students and includes free transportation from their home high school. Students can receive credits for high school courses in a variety of academics or as electives.
The enrollment process for high school students will begin in January 2020. The priority application deadline is February 3. Applications will be accepted after that date as long as space is available. For information on the Health Careers program or any of Meridian’s 20 plus career training programs visit meridiantech.edu/programs.
Adult students interested in career training at Meridian in January 2020 can apply online beginning November 1. Visit meridiantech.edu/adults for information on the application process.
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