Medical Assistant Programs Guide

Sharon Hamway Interview

My name is Sharon Hamway. When I started the Medical Assistant program I was 22 years old. I had a 5 year old daughter named Makayla and I lived in Crestwood Illinois, a Southern suburb of Chicago.

My Medical Assistant program was full-time and a fast track program. I went to school Monday through Friday 8am until noon. We had 3 classes, Lab, Lecture, and Computers.

First was Lab. Lab was two hours long. In lab we learned hands on clinic skills. We did blood pressure, pulse, respiration, injections, veinipuncture, EKGs, and urinalysis. Use autoclave machine to sterilize equipment. We learned how to spin down, test, and examine specimens.

Second was Lecture. Lecture was one hour long. In lecture we took notes on a different subject every month. It was mainly biology and science. This is also where we took our weekly tests every Friday.

Third was Computers. Computers were one hour long. In computers we learned the basics of computers in a medical office. We learned Medisoft, which is the medical software program used by most medical offices, we learned how to use electronic medical records (EMR). We learned Microsoft Office XP and basic typing skills to help improve our typing speed and accuracy.

Why were you interested in medical assistant training?
I first became interested in the medical assistant program when I found out how fast I could be through with College. I’ve always wanted a job where I can help people and the Medical Assistant program made the most sense for me because of the time and cost of other programs. As a Medical Assistant I can do almost everything a nurse can do at a quarter of the time of college, and almost an eighth of the cost of nursing school.

How did you choose the medical assistant program you attended?
I found my Medical Assistant program by doing research on the schools in my area online. What really made me choose my school over the other schools in my area was that they had a flexible schedule, and they helped you after you where done with class with finding an externship site, and they had an entire department dedicated to career placement after graduation.

What did you like about the program?
What I liked most about the program was how hands on it was. In lab we actually did vital signs, injections, and veinipuncture daily on people – not just on fake arms like a lot of other schools.

What did you not like about the program?
What I liked least was that even though the school did have a career placement department they did not actually help anyone find jobs after graduation like they promised. It was not only me they did not help. They did not help anyone actually find a job like they where suppose to. They would only help you to build your professional resume.

What types of jobs did you and your fellow classmates get after completing the training? How much did these jobs pay?
The jobs that we found after completing our education was mainly in clinics and doctors offices. To start we got paid mostly between $10 an hour and $13 dollars an hour to start. The best paying jobs seemed to be working as a Medical assistant in a Gynecologists office. The least paying jobs seemed to be working as a Medical Assistant in a Chiropractors office. Most of the better paying Medical Assistant jobs that are available want to hire someone with at least one to three years of experience.

What was the total cost for your medical assistant program?
The total cost of my Medical Assistant program was $15,000 total, which included the cost of the class, books, uniform (scrubs), and all materials needed (blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, backpack, flash drives, and school ID).

How did you pay for your medical assistant program?
I paid for the Medical Assistant program partially with government funded PELL grant, but mostly with student loans from both Sallie Mae as my primary source, and Genesis Lending to pick up the small difference that I could not get in student loans from Sallie Mae.

What advice would you give to students regarding paying for their medical assistant training?
The advice I would give to students for paying for there Medical Assistant training would be to thoroughly investigate any type of loans before agreeing to accept them. I would first fill out FAFSA to see if you qualify for any type of government funded grants. After seeing if you qualify for grants try to research scholarships that you do not have to repay, then look into low interest student loans.

What things should a student look for when choosing a medical assistant program?
What a student should look into before choosing a Medical Assistant program would be try to talk to people that went to the school recently see what there experience was not just in school, but also after when they where trying to start their career. You should also look into there accreditation to see if the credits you get can roll over to any other schools in case you ever decide to go back to school, and if most companies will accept your education as valid.

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