The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 27, 2014

A-Tech offers new program for students who want to work in the field of medical office specialist

For the Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — There is a new program coming to the Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus. Marianne Gullo’s business technologies class is changing its career focus to medical office specialist. The classes are very similar to what a student would experience in the business technologies program except students will be exposed to medical terms, anatomy, keeping medical records, scheduling appointments and medical billing and coding. The responsibilities of a medical office specialist is to schedule appointments, keep patient records, assist patients with medical forms and handle bookkeeping.

Medical office specialist is a great career for a student that wants to be involved in the medical field but does not want to have physical contact with someone. Mrs. Gullo said this program is excellent for anyone interested into this career because no certificate or degree is required, but a background in this field is a big advantage. The traits an individual needs to be a medical office specialist is organization, strong communication skills, and most importantly personable. This is important because the medical office specialist is the first point of contact when an individual visits a medical facility. If the specialist is courteous and friendly, they will set a good tone for the rest of the visit. Not only is the field quick to get into, the job is expected to increase 21 percent during 2010 to 2020.

“I am very excited for this transition because of the job opportunities for the students,” said Mrs. Gullo. “After high school they can work for any medical facility, nursing home or insurance company.”

Now is also the time of year that A-Tech students are preparing to participate in a competition known as SkillsUSA. SkillsUSA is a national organization that includes a quarter-million high school students who are enrolled in technical and skilled service education environments. Although SkillsUSA is a competitive showcase for technical talent, students get much more from the program than medals.

“It is a chance to meet students from other schools that have similar interests and goals. We talk about what our education is like, and also what we know about the career opportunities available in our geographic areas after high school,” said senior public safety student Luis Castrillion.

There are different competitive areas within SkillsUSA. Once a student is chosen to compete by a recommendation of their career technical instructor or by going through an application process, students will need to master skills in their technical career field in order to prepare for the upcoming competitions. These competitors will face off against students from other technical facilities also taking part in SkillsUSA.

Once a student is chosen to compete, there are three different levels of competition. In the first round of competitions the student will compete against regional competitors. Regional action includes schools from a smaller geographic area within the state. The next step is the state competition which includes all regional winners and is held annually in Columbus. The state competition this year will be held in April. The winners from the state competition move on to a national competition in early summer to face off against students from around the country.