Kino College may be relatively new to southern Arizona, but it’s already making strides in redefining the concept of education.
Taglined as “A Medical School for Medical Careers,” Kino College offers an eight-month medical assistant program that is taught by practicing doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, and does so in the real-life medical setting at Northwest Medical Center.
The concept came about after a local cardiologist recognized that incoming medical assistants were intimidated and otherwise unprepared for the job.
After many years of developing the conceptual framework, which included hiring a faculty with an extensive background in the medical and educational fields, Kino College received its license as a private post secondary school in November and the first nine students enrolled on March 6.
“Initially we wanted to start our classes large coming out of the gate, but at one point we decided to incubate the program, work out the kinks, build out the curriculum, and start with a smaller scale,” said Kino College Dean Phil Bregman.
Enrollment is expected to multiply in subsequent courses, and Bregman projects the development of two or three more campuses in the next few years.
Of the eight-month course, six and a half are spent in a classroom setting, in which students are also exposed to real-life patient situations at the hospital.
“They get experience that is invaluable,” said Bregman. “The fact that our classroom is located at Northwest Medical Center is one of our college’s biggest differentiators.”
Following six and a half months of “classroom” work, students spend six weeks working fulltime in a medical office. Upon course completion, the college works diligently to help align its students with a job.
“If the externship is a nice match between the student and the site, the idea is that the site will hire that person,” said Bregman. “If it’s not a great match, we work really hard to get them into another setting. We don’t guarantee employment, because the state doesn’t allow us to do that, but what we do guarantee is that we will work really hard to align our student’s interests with job placement.”
The course is designed to cater to entry-level students, as well as more for those who already have experience in the medical field and are looking for a change.
For example, one student enrolled this term is looking to transition from a certified nursing assistant to a medical assistant. Her daughter, also enrolled in the course, is using the program as a stepping-stone to become a registered nurse.
In many cases, students will end up working in the same northwest community in which Kino College resides.
“Because our college’s founders are deeply rooted in this community, the networking capabilities for our students is unparalleled,” said Bregman. “That combined with the fact our faculty is made up of a number of medical professionals prepares our students at a different level.”
No prerequisites are required for the course other than a high school diploma. Scholarships are available for interested students, despite the fact Kino College boasts the lowest tuition in town for its type of coursework.
The college operates year round. For more information on Kino College, visit www.kinocollege.com or call 202-2737.