Medicine without needles is how Jodi Wijewickrama, Haywood Community College Medical Office Administration instructor, describes the Medical Office Administration program. “If you are interested in exciting new careers in the health care field with a focus on the administrative aspect of health care delivery--to include medical coding, billing, and experience with electronic medical records--then this is the program for you.”

Beginning January 2010, students can obtain a certificate in Medical Office Administration through the JobsNOW “12 in 6” Project. The project allows students to complete classes in less than 6 months of time and includes workplace readiness skills and completion of a Career Readiness Certificate. JobsNOW is funded under the Workforce Investment Act through funds made available by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The Medical Office Administration program provides students with the tools and resources that are essential for obtaining employment in a variety of different medical fields. Graduates qualify for employment in medical and dental offices, hospitals, insurance companies, laboratories, medical supply companies, and other health care related organizations. HCC instructors have experience in the medical and business fields to provide students with real life experiences in the classroom.

This program is developed to keep up with the challenges that face the health care industry. In addition to clerical skills, students also receive a thorough understanding of the administrative complexities unique to the health care industry. This includes medical legal issues, medical billing and coding, and compliance with federal regulations. As part of this compliance, students obtain experience with electronic health records and complete training to receive a certificate in the study of HIPAA.

As the demand for patient care continues to grow, health care providers need well-trained administrative professionals to run the medical office, ensuring the business aspect of the health care facility is functioning smoothly and efficiently. Whether a new student or changing careers, this program might be the perfect fit.

Through the JobsNow program, students will also receive a Career Readiness Certificate which verifies to employers anywhere in the United States that an individual has essential core employability skills in reading, math, and locating information. It is used by employers for screening to interview only applicants who have the skills required for the job, for hiring and promotion as a "plus" factor to help make selection and promotion decisions, and targeting employee training and development for job-specific skills rather than basic skills.

North Carolina’s Career Readiness Certificate (CRC) certifies core employability skills required across multiple industries and occupations. The Career Readiness Certificate is a portable credential that promotes career development and skill attainment for the individual. In addition, the employer has confirmation that the individual is capable of learning job specific skills.

The “12 in 6” Project is offered by the NC Department of Commerce, Division of Workforce Development and the North Carolina Community College System. These training programs were selected based on occupational projections reported by the Southwestern Workforce Development Board and are considered the fastest growing sectors from 2009 through 2018 for Haywood County and the region.

In addition to the Medical Office Administration certificate, five other certificates will begin in January through the JobsNow Program. Beginning in May 2010, HCC will also offer four additional certificate programs.

Partners for the Jobs NOW “12 in 6” Project include: the Southwestern Workforce Development Board, the NC Department of Commerce, the Haywood County Employment Security Commission/JobLink Center, HCC, Haywood County Economic Development Commission, and area industries.

For more information about the Medical Office Administration certificate available through the JobsNOW “12 in 6” Project, or any of the other JobsNow certificates, please call Hilary Cobb at 828.564.5107.