Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences, central Pennsylvania’s preeminent educational institution for the health care field, announced a new Medical Assistant (MA) Program, beginning in the Fall 2021 semester. Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences’ nine-month full-time Medical Assistant Program will allow students to learn the specialized skills to play a key support role as an administrator or clinician in a medical office.

This program comes at a time when there is high demand for certified medical assistants across central Pennsylvania. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs for medical assistants are projected to grow by 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, outpacing many other occupations. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also anticipates there will be more than 139,000 new medical assistant jobs over the next decade. The aging population will increase the demand for preventative medical services, which will require more medical assistants to help with clinical and administrative duties.

“Medical assistants are a critical part of a health care team, providing administrative and clinical support services to ensure care delivery is efficient and effective,” said Heather Myers, Program Director for the Medical Assistant at Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “Being a medical assistant means that no two days are the same. You may take patient vitals, draw blood or process lab samples one day, and spend the next day at the front desk checking in patients and processing insurance claims. This is an excellent foundation for anyone interested in entering the health care field or joining a local health system.”

At PA College, students will complete their medical assistant education in as little as nine months. The full-time curriculum includes both theory and hands-on clinical practice courses, as well as a six-week externship experience in a medical office or ambulatory clinic setting. At the end of the program, students are eligible to sit for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant exam through the National Healthcareer Association to earn the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant designation, though students may be able to start working in the field before they are certified.

The program will combine a mix of online and face-to-face instruction in an accelerated format.

“PA College is dedicated to continually developing new programs to reflect the needs of the health care community in our area,” said Dr. Karen Dielmann, Dean of Health Sciences for Pennsylvania College of Health Sciences. “Medical assistants are some of the most dedicated health care professionals, and this program offers students a great career path by offering the right type and amount of preparation, as well as a stepping stone to other rewarding medical careers.”

PA College is currently accepting applications for this program for the Fall 2021 semester. To learn more about the new Medical Assistant Program, click here.

PA College News

We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:

Student Spotlight

Daiya Lambert ’21
Three-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program

Daiya LambertDaiya Lambert started her college journey at Howard University in Washington D.C. When she decided to transfer to a school that was closer to home and more affordable for her, she researched nursing schools near Lancaster, where her grandparents live. Enrolling in our three-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing program may have started out as a practical choice, but Daiya has since found a challenging and rewarding new experience. She shares: “My favorite part about the program is the continuous challenge to strengthen my critical thinking skills and professionalism. In all classes, we’re always prompted to ‘think like a nurse.’ We speak in nursing language, and everything we do is of the profession. Achieving that level of connection with the profession before formally practicing is by far my favorite part and in my opinion the most beneficial.”

Her clinical rotations in critical care were especially impactful for Daiya, who believes this area of nursing will satisfy her desire for challenging work that will make a difference in peoples’ daily lives. She currently works as a patient care assistant on a neuro floor at UPMC Pinnacle Hospital in Harrisburg and hopes that she might combine these two disciplines in her future nursing roles. Daiya adds: “I also have the type of personality that is hungry for a sense of heroism. It’s always been my dream to call the shots, the ones that actually matter; like I’m a character on Grey’s Anatomy.”

Despite the clear vision Daiya has for her future as a nurse; she also is passionate about a second career path in fashion. She is the owner, designer, and co-creative director of a women’s wear fashion brand. Daiya adds: “For the last three months, my team and I have been working on rebranding and building our image and brand story from ground up to increase marketability. It’s been quite a journey and I’m so excited for our new endeavors!” Daiya has sometimes struggled as she tried to devote herself fully to both career paths and has delayed the completion of her nursing degree. She credits nursing faculty Dr. Dee Minchhoff, Dr. Allison Maloney and Dr. Becky Cox-Davenport with providing the emotional support and coaching that has helped her to stay positive and follow her true passions. “It is because of them that I found the strength to continue through the program, and I’m excited for what the future holds.” Daiya explains.

Alumni Spotlight

Walter Stewart ’19, MHA
Group Operations Manager, DaVita Kidney Care

Walter StewartOriginally from Brooklyn, New York, Walter Stewart ’19 decided to stay in Lancaster after earning a bachelor’s degree in Public Health from Franklin & Marshall College. During his undergraduate and post baccalaureate education, he completed research dissertations through study abroad opportunities in Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. “This allowed me to have a true experiential and data driven understanding of health disparities from a social and economic point of view,” Walter adds.

As a recent graduate of our Master of Healthcare Administration program, Walter notes: “to isolate one part of my PA College experience as a highlight would be difficult as it was truly a great overall experience.” Walter appreciated the opportunities to work one-on-one with his professors and cohort peers to understand ways to achieve organizational goals, implement process changes through continuous improvement, and build a great structure for both a direct patient care team and patients. He credits his PA College degree with giving him the skills to be a strong leader, and points in particular to the support of his advisor, Dr. Joe York. “He was supportive from our initial chat about what PA College has to offer, to giving sound advice on how to tackle one course that might have been more challenging than the other, and finally at the end, which PhD programs to apply to post-graduation because I can’t seem to stop wanting to learn,” explains Walter.

Today, Walter is a Group Operations Manager for DaVita Kidney Care. In this role he oversees outpatient dialysis and home renal therapies for patients in Lancaster County. This includes facilitating and improving patients’ clinical outcomes for DaVita’s eight In-Center facilities, and supporting its nurses, patient care technicians, social workers, dieticians, and support teammates. “Seeing my patients with kidney disease live long productive lives is a great feeling; seeing them get a call for a kidney transplant is even better,” he adds. Prior to this role, Walter was the Emergency Department and Ambulatory Surgery Operations Lead for Customer Engagement at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health.

Walter lives in Manheim Township, with his wife Clarissa, a Massage Therapist with Lancaster General Health, their two children, Olivia and Owen. The family also includes Berne-doodles, Milo and Lily. He enjoys spending the warmer months of the year riding his motorcycle and practicing what he calls his “terrible” golf swing at the range. The family enjoys visiting the beach at Seaside Park, New Jersey and camping at Promised Land State Park in the Poconos.


Seeking People of PA College

Do you know an exceptional current student or alumnus whose experiences and accomplishments would help tell the PA College story? Or someone who has overcome an obstacle or reached a challenging milestone during their PA College experience? Please email your suggested names (and identify them in one of these categories) to Karen Jenkins. Self-nominations are also welcome!

PA College News