FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                           10/4/2019

                                                                                                (By Lisa Garrett)

PENDLETON --- Tri-County Technical College’s Medical Assisting program has been granted full, continuing accreditation through fall 2028 by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied  Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

This is the maximum reaffirmation of accreditation a program can receive and accreditation status approval was without additional reporting requirements, said Medical Assisting Program Director Laura McClain.

This accreditation provides graduates with the proper credentials needed to sit for the Certified Medical Assistants exam.

For the past year and a half, McClain and adjunct instructors prepared for a site visit by gathering data and preparing an extensive 76-page self-study of the program.

 A committee of site visitors visited Tri-County in February 25 – 27 of this year to validate the program’s compliance with CAAHEP standards.  In addition to talking with College administrators, the site visitors met with the program’s advisory committee members, faculty, students and alumni.

 “Site visitors talked by telephone or in person with students and alumni about their curriculum and classroom experiences,” said McClain.

The accreditation process evaluates the following categories of the program or institution:  overall mission of the institution; sound financial practices; an approved program of study; qualified instructors; curriculum standards, courses and goals; adequate facilities and equipment for training; requirements for admission; services to students; student evaluations; and fair practices.

“Site visitors complimented us on our documentation being so detailed and organized.  They also were impressed with our renovations, which included our two new exam rooms and new paint and flooring in our classroom.  One of the site visitors, who is a program director, asked if she could take a photo of our facilities,” said McClain.

“I want to thank instructor Jan Gibbs, who was instrumental in helping in our lab areas. This reaccreditation status is her accomplishment as well as mine.  That’s the way we run this program.  It’s not myself and the team – it is all of us together.”

 Medical Assisting is a unique program because unlike most health care programs students are trained in both administrative and clinical procedures, said McClain.

Medical assisting duties are a good mix of clinical and administrative work, she explained.  Graduates 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, calculating, preparing and giving medications, EKGs, laboratory work, specimen collection and processing and assisting with minor surgical procedures.  They also are certified in first aid and CPR while in the program.  Students also are prepared to work as office managers and can continue to obtain IV certification once they obtain national certification.  “It’s an unusual discipline with a strong administrative function including insurance coding and claims processing,” she said. 

Graduates work in a variety of doctor’s offices, such as cardiology, neuroscience units, internal medicine, OB-GYN and dermatology.   They also can work in Urgent Care Clinics.

 “It’s not uncommon for the practicum to develop into full-time employment,” she added.

For more information about the program, contact Laura McClain, program director, at 646-1352 or at