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This release prepared by the Office of Public Relations and Marketing.
Rebecca Eidson, Director, 646-1507,
Lisa Garrett, Public Relations Associate, 646-1506,

Tri-County’s Medical Assisting Grads Receive 100% Pass Rate on American Association of Medical Assistants’ Certification Exam


(By Lisa Garrett)

PENDLETON --- Tri-County Technical College’s most recent graduates of its Medical Assisting program can proudly place the C.M.A. designation after their names.

The 13 graduates of the Class of 2006 received a 100 percent passing score on the American Association of Medical Assistants’ Certification Examination, designating them as Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs).  “Although the credential isn’t mandated for practice, most employers advertise for and request C.M.A.’s in their offices,” said Kaye Bathe, Medical Assisting program coordinator for the College.

“I’m elated,” said Bathe, of the students’ performance. “This is an intense program, and students must be committed,” she said.  It’s a unique program because unlike most health care programs, they are trained in both administrative and clinical procedures.  For them to diversify this way in a short amount of time is challenging. It’s an intense study, and these students have a lot to be proud of.”

 “It has been a goal of mine to have a 100 percent pass rate since I came to the program in 2002.  Without a supportive College environment, results like this wouldn’t be possible.  From the first day of class, I campaign for this to be the students’ capstone goal, and I don’t give them another mindset during the year.”

During the exam, students are tested on three components: general, administrative and clinical.  There are 100 questions in each section, she said. 

Students prepare all year for the exam, she said, by training to be good test takers.  “They get a national certification simulation exam that mimics what they will sit for in October.  You must pass this test to pass our Medical Assisting program.  We also require that students purchase two exam review books.  They also can take online practice exams through the American Association of Medical Assistants’ website.  They get many opportunities to practice, and it pays off,” she said.

There is huge demand for the medical assistant, Bathe said, adding that the one-year program is designed to train students to become multifunctional health-care workers in physicians’ and medical offices. 

Medical assisting duties are a good mix of clinical and front office work, she explained.  “Graduates are so versatile and are cross trained in every area of ambulatory care.  Their duties range from hands-on patient care, under physician and nursing supervision, to front office duties.”

Clinical training includes checking a patient’s vital signs, phlebotomy, giving medications, EKGs, laboratory work, urinalysis and assisting with minor surgical procedures.  “It’s an unusual discipline with a strong administrative function including insurance coding and claims processing,” she said.

Medical Assisting is the fifth fastest growing occupation in South Carolina and Georgia, and typically graduates land jobs well before receiving their diplomas, said Bathe. 

The department boasts of a 100 percent job placement rate -- this year all 13 students were placed following their externships.  “It’s not uncommon for the externship to develop into full-time employment,” she said.

“Medical Assistants wear every hat in the office,” she said.  They are so valuable. They are health care’s most versatile employee.”

In 2005, the program received a maximum seven-year re-accreditation from its national accrediting agency, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

For more information about the program, contact Kaye Bathe, program coordinator, at 646-1352 or at