Patient Care Technician/Assistant in board room

Case Study: CTE Success

Progressive school districts from Texas to Maryland offer medical assistant credentials for high school students heading to college or future careers in healthcare. Credentialing solutions from NHA work to guide students in health science pathways toward success.

CTE Instructors Improve Outcomes Through Certification

Just one beaming smile from a proud, newly empowered student makes Cindy Robinson’s entire year. It’s why she teaches. More specifically, it’s why she teaches career and technical education courses at Robert E. Lee High School (REL) in Tyler, Texas.

As the health sciences lead educator at REL, Robinson helps students navigate the health sciences career pathway that includes training, education, and certification in medical assisting. Robinson has headed up healthcare training and education at REL for the past 10 years. With 21 years of nursing experience before that, she’s the ideal mix of qualified and dedicated.

“We teach students real skills and prepare them for real experiences that can be used no matter what they decide to do after high school,” said Robinson. “Certification is a great stepping stone for those students pursuing a college degree. For those students who don’t go on to college, it helps them gain access to full-time employment, fast.”

For those students who want more advanced training and experience, the health sciences program at REL also offers coursework that prepares students for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification from National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Robinson was part of the team that selected NHA as the CCMA certification partner for REL. She knows the industry well. Robinson also sits on the board of The Texas Health Occupations Association, the professional organization for Texas health science teachers.

"Certification is a great stepping stone for those students pursuing a college degree. For those students who don’t go on to college, it helps them gain access to full-time employment, fast." — Cindy Robinson, Robert E. Lee High School

“We looked at all the certification providers, and we decided on NHA because the quality of their people and service was evident from the beginning,” said Robinson. “Their study modules are unbelievable – the accuracy, realism and design are very strong.”

Robinson said she was impressed with the responsiveness and attention they received from NHA. She just hadn’t experienced it with other companies in this space.

"NHA account managers got to know us quickly and took a genuine interest in our success and the success of our students," said Robinson. "They monitored the progress of our students and made onboarding easy with some great advice around how to get started."

Robinson said NHA certification fits the needs of her REL high school students better than any other, and the 90 percent certification exam pass rates are the proof.

"When it comes to helping students prepare for the CCMA certification, NHA delivers the right level of information at the right pace for our students," said Robinson. "And the flexibility of the CCMA is perfect for high school since the externship component is optional. Our students get everything they need from our classrooms, as well as the online study exam and preparatory resources available from NHA."

Helping Students Help Themselves

Robinson and her colleagues at REL in Tyler aren’t the only ones finding success offering the CCMA at the high school level. Karen Sullivan at the Carroll County Career and Technical Center (CCCTC) in Westminster, Maryland, is just as committed to high standards in healthcare education, and self-sufficiency is another lesson that students learn in her classroom.

Sullivan guides students through the CCMA certification process at the Academy of Health at the CCCTC. She likes the fact that NHA’s certification solutions are very user friendly and are easy to access and use by students.

"This is challenging material for high school students, and when they get stuck or struggle with certain concepts, the NHA online tutorials and practice exams give students everything they need to regroup and keep going," said Sullivan. "They really teach students how to learn, as well as what to focus on for the certification exam."

And if there’s any question about the time and effort students are putting in, the data is there for Sullivan and her colleagues. Comprehensive reporting provides helpful views into student activity and performance.

“With NHA we can quickly see how students are doing and whether or not someone needs extra attention or support,” said Sullivan. "When questions come up or we need help, the support from NHA is wonderful.”

Just down the road in the Frederick County School System, Jo McGovern also teaches students pursuing the CCMA credential. She agrees that NHA delivers on its promises to her school and students, but the big payoff is in student capabilities and attitudes.

"The self-esteem boost that students get when they succeed in our CCMA program is remarkable," said McGovern. "They receive a valuable, marketable, real-world credential. It drives them and makes them better students. You can see it."