PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area College Trust (PACT) has approved the awarding of three $6,000 scholarships for students in IUP Punxsutawney’s new Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) program.

Recipients of the scholarship must have graduated from Punxsutawney Area High School and have some financial need. Because the program is designed to help not only recent HS graduates but also non-traditional learners looking for new career opportunities, recipients may have graduated from Punxsutawney Area HS at any time.

“IUP Punxsutawney is extremely grateful for the continued support of the Punxsutawney Area College Trust,” Richard Muth, Director of Regional Campuses, said. “This scholarship support will dramatically reduce the costs for this program and provide additional opportunities for local residents.”

The CMA program is an 18-month certificate program available on the IUP Punxsutawney campus.

“The Punxsutawney Trust is very pleased to provide these scholarships for our regional students,” said Tom Frantz, PACT president. “Graduates of a strong CMA program are in demand in our area, and we know that this program will be a great asset to our region and our workforce development needs. PACT appreciates IUP’s continued commitment to our community and to creating new opportunities at the Punxsutawney campus.”

The program prepares graduates to have marketable skills to work in medical offices and facilities, health centers and clinics, transcription and billing services, and a variety of business offices. Students admitted to the program and meeting the criteria will receive information on applying for the scholarship.

Classes begin in early April and in October.

An information session about the program is planned for Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. at IUP Punxsutawney. Persons can register for the free information session online at www.iup.edu/punxsutawney/programs/clinical-medical-assistant/ or by calling IUP Punxsutawney at 814-938-6711.

Financial aid is available to qualified students.

The program is divided into six, three-month sessions, five classes per session, with classes during the weekday at the IUP Punxsutawney campus.

Initial class sizes will be between 10 and 15 participants to ensure individual attention from faculty and hands-on learning by students. Participants will progress through the program as a cohort (group). All of the classes will be taught by experienced professionals.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics information shows that the need for clinical medical assistants is growing by close to 25 percent, faster than other professions. Because of the broad scope of the training, students successfully graduating from programs like this traditionally have close to a 100 percent placement record.

With this program students will be prepared for several certification exams:

• Medical Assistant

• Medical Office Assistant

• Billing and Coding Specialist

• Phlebotomy Technician

• HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, a federal law about security and privacy of health information)

• Microsoft certifications in Word, Excel and PowerPoint

“The Clinical Medical Assistant program was the most popular program at DuBois Business College prior to its closing, and students had a 100 percent placement rate after completing this program,” Muth said.

“Employers in the region and the academic administration of DuBois Business College (DBC) approached IUP in an effort to offer this program for both the benefit of local individuals wanting to enter the job market and the health care providers who depend upon their skills.” IUP’s program is modeled closely after the DBC curriculum.

“Because this program offers instruction on so many topics, students who successfully complete this training are prepared for many job settings, from patient care to working with computers and insurance information.”

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