The Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) is currently enrolling students in two of its vocational programs: the Medical Assisting Program and the Dental Assisting Program. Applications are available at 2240 Old River Road in Ukiah, and are due Friday, July 26.
Medical assistants work alongside physicians, mainly in outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, such as health clinics and assisted living centers. Their duties generally include administrative and clinical responsibilities, including updating medical charts and scheduling appointments, as well as preparing patients for a doctor’s examination and collecting laboratory samples, among many other duties. Medical assisting is a fast-growing occupation, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it can be an entry point for those interested in becoming nurses.
Like medical assistants, dental assistants are also in high demand and they also perform both administrative and clinical duties. Dental assistants often work in dental clinics or dental offices. They prepare patients for treatments and teeth cleanings, process x-rays, and work with patients on billing issues, among other duties. Becoming a dental assistant is the first step in becoming a registered dental assistant, and additional specialty certificates are available after that.
In Ukiah, the Medical Assisting Program runs from August through May. Classes are held Thursday and Friday from 8:30 – 3:30 PM. The program requires 460 classroom hours and a 180-hour externship, which includes 80 administrative hours and 100 clinical hours. The program is limited to 20 students and it costs $4000.00, which can be paid in two installments.
The Dental Assisting program runs from August through December. Classes are Mondays and Thursdays from 9:00 AM – 1:30 PM. The 18-week course prepares students for front and back office dental assisting, including chairside and Dentrix software training. At the conclusion of the classroom training, students must complete a 120-hour externship with a dental practice. The program is limited to 8 students and it costs $3800.00, which can be paid in two installments.
Successful applicants in this competitive process will have high school diplomas or the equivalent, pass a basic skill exam and be able to type a minimum of 25 words per minute. MCOE offers the basic skill exam and typing test free of charge. Medical assisting students must undergo a medical screening, a background check and a drug test. Dental assisting students must also undergo a medical screening.
Once they have completed the program, medical assisting students will be prepared for state certification testing with the California Certifying Board for Medical Assistants.
For more information about MCOE’s workforce development programs, call 707-467-5123.