SANFORD - Anyone intrigued by a career in health care has a new way to get a foot in the door with an innovative certificate program being offered by Central Carolina Community College starting this month.
The two-semester Patient Access Specialist Certificate prepares first-line staff members to assist patients as they enter a healthcare facility. That includes providing customer service assistance, helping patients complete medical paperwork, handling computerized patient information according to healthcare regulations, and dealing with financial payments.
All six courses required to complete the certificate are offered online, allowing students to study from anywhere or while working irregular or full-time schedules.
Program Director Erika Parker says one considerable benefit is that the new Patient Access Specialist Certificate offers a quick path into the healthcare industry.
"We created this to provide students with an entry-level job in health care," Parker says. "For students who are considering getting involved in the industry, this gives them an option for employment relatively fast, because they can complete the program in just two semesters.
"That makes this a great opportunity, even for students who are considering a variety of employment opportunities in health care. It gives experience and allows them to make sure they have a real interest before investing in a longer program."
Parker says there are only a handful of related programs in the country accredited through the National Association of Healthcare Access Management -- CCCC is now working toward accreditation for the Patient Access Specialist Certificate program the college created -- but most of those are offered through continuing education. Because CCCC's new program is offered for academic credit, its courses may transfer to other diploma and degree programs, including the Associate in Applied Science in Health Information Technology degree.
Students successfully completing the CCCC certificate program also may pursue individual certification through the National Association of Healthcare Access Management by taking the organization's Certified Healthcare Access Associate examination.
Details about the Patient Access Specialist program are provided in a curriculum guide available at www.cccc.edu/curriculum/majors/hit. To apply, students should call the Student Services office for information at 919-718-7300. Classes for the fall semester begin on August 20.
To learn more about Central Carolina Community College and its program, visit www.cccc.edu.