Chattanooga State Expands Health Care Training to 3 Rural Service Areas


When Governor of Tennessee Lee’s GIVE grant was announced in November 2019, the State of Chattanooga, as one of its grantees, was ready to act to expand healthcare training in three of its areas of rural service. In just over a year, industry certifications in OSHA, CPR, and Certified Patient Care Technicians have been awarded to high school students in Bledsoe, Sequatchie and Marion counties.

In addition, students gained the ability to visualize human systems virtually in 3D using zSpace, a suite of applications that offer self-study experiences, hands-on lab dissections, and certification preparation. ECG. Instructors report that student engagement skyrockets as they deepen their understanding of interactive 3D experiences. “The schools are making full use of the equipment provided by the GIVE grant and we are very grateful for it,” said Nancy Draper, director of the Chattanooga State Medical Assistance Program. “This has resulted in a strengthened link / partnership with the Order.”

The medical assistance program, offered by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology at Chattanooga State, a program established on the main campus in 1985, has recently expanded to Marion County at the Kimball site. “The initial 2021 Cohort class this spring at Kimball is small, but we are planning a full class for fall 2021,” Ms. Draper said. Applications are now being accepted.

Due to efforts to expand rural health care training provided through the GIVE grant, Ms. Draper was able to meet with schools and students in the area to discuss the medical assistance program. “We have generated a lot of interest so we are planning a full course this fall,” said Ms. Draper.

The Chattanooga State Medical Assistance Program was ranked 3rd best among Tennessee’s Best Accredited Medical Assistant Programs and Schools for 2021 by findmedicalassistingprograms.org. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median median salary for medical assistants starts at $ 34.8K and the field is expected to grow 19% over the next 10 years, which must be faster than average.

Ms. Draper noted that those interested in this growing field are persistent, confident, organized and punctual, while also possessing good understanding, integrity and communication skills. “A typical medical assistant will work well with others in a professional atmosphere working as part of a team focused on excellent patient care,” Ms. Draper said.

The state of Chattanooga is currently accepting applications for the fall 2021 medical assistance program. Day classes will be available both at the main campus and at the Kimball site. For more information on TCAT’s One-Year Medical Assistance Program, call 697-4433, visit chattanoogastate.edu/medical-assisting, or send an e-mail to [email protected] To access Chattanooga State resources, visit chattanoogastate.edu/student-support-center.


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