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Nearly half of local Bryant & Stratton students pursue health-care degrees

By Eric Reinhardt


SYRACUSE — As the nation moves closer to insurance requirements in the federal health-care reform law, students in the health-care degree programs at Bryant & Stratton College know it’s an issue they’ll deal with as they pursue jobs.

“We talk about that … in every class that we teach,” says Sherry Pearsall, faculty member and practicum coordinator at Bryant & Stratton’s James Street campus.

Bryant & Stratton operates local campuses at 953 James St. in Syracuse and at 8687 Carling Road in Clay.

A combined total of about 1,100 students are enrolled at the two campuses, about 45 percent of whom are enrolled in medical-degree programs, according to the school.

Bryant & Stratton College offers health-care degree programs that prepare students for jobs in medical administrative assisting, medical assisting, and health-services administration.

The medical-degree programs have the highest enrollment of any of the programs offered at the two local campuses, according to Bryant & Stratton. The majority of students pursuing degrees in these fields attend class at the campus on James Street.

And those students are finding jobs upon completing their degree, according to Bryant & Stratton.

“It’s just not at all difficult to place a student that has a medical degree,” Pearsall says.

Over the past five years, Bryant & Stratton graduates in all degree programs in the Syracuse–area campuses have a job-placement rate of 88 percent in their field of study, more than 30 percent higher than the national average for college graduates, as determined by the Bethlehem, Pa.–based National Association of Colleges and Employers, according to the school.


About the health-care programs

The medical administrative-assisting program provides students with experience in operating a medical office, says Pearsall.

“They receive content in medical-office procedures, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology,” Pearsall says.

Graduates pursue jobs in physician offices, urgent-care settings, and in the financial-aid department of hospitals, she says.

The medical-assisting program combines administrative and clinical work, Pearsall says.

The course work includes the same classes as the program for the medical administrative-assisting degree, but also clinical course work.

“So, this individual could run the front office for a doctor and then also work in the back with patients,” she says.

That could mean assisting the doctor with the treatments and procedures, histories and physicals, doing electrocardiograms, checking a patient’s vital signs, helping with minor- surgical procedures, and coordinating all patient-care activity, Pearsall says.

Bryant & Stratton College also offers a bachelor’s degree program in health-services administration, with classes on both campuses.

“That prepares a student to be able to enter the health-care field [in] entry-level management,” she says.

Students are required to have internships. Those in the medical administrative-assistant degree program will intern in a medical office, completing 90 hours of administrative experience. Medical-assisting students complete 160 hours.

“When they go to this internship, it’s our expectation that they work as a staff member, and they’re to treat that as a job,” Pearsall explains.

Bryant & Stratton works to help its graduating students find a job within 90 days of earning their degree, says Shaunna Arnold-Plank, associate director of career services for the college’s James Street campus.

“Placement is fairly easy for them just because [of] their internship experience,” Arnold-Plank says.


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