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"Entry-level medical assistants earn $12-
$14 an hour and that can increase up to
$30 an hour with experience. These jobs
are careers in themselves and not a path
to nursing," said Garrow-Pruitt, who
worked as a medical assistant before
she became a hospital administrator,
then a teacher. And MCC's health care
professionals earn high praise, added
Suzanne McHale, Program Coordinator
of the new Clinical Laboratory Assistant
Program. "We hear it all that time that
students coming from MCC are well
Nancye Tuttle
Academy of Health Professions students Amy Koukou (left) and Susan
Grenier practice their phlebotomy skills on each other, as part of their
AHP coursework.
Career-Changers Find Success Via Academy of Health Professions
Amy Koukou and Susan Grenier had jobs, but were no longer
satisfied with their work. Koukou was a nursing assistant in a
local long-term care facility, and Grenier was a public school
special needs paraprofessional.
After exploring options at MCC's Academy of Health
Professions (AHP), they enrolled in the Phlebotomy and Clinical
Laboratory Assistant certificate programs and are now planning
new careers in health care.
Both women have completed studies and certification as
phlebotomists and clinical lab assistants, and are trained for
jobs drawing blood in a hospital or medical practice lab, and
assisting in those laboratories.
"I learned so much. They teach you skills, including lots of
hands-on practice drawing blood on each other," said Koukou,
a Liberian native who lives in Lowell.
Grenier, from Salem, N.H., originally planned to become a nurse.
But AHP instructor Suzanne McHale's enthusiasm for phlebotomy
and clinical lab work swayed her to change her mind.
"Once I met Suzanne and heard about the laboratory assistant
programs, I changed my focus. I found that I liked the idea of
working with people in phlebotomy, as well as in the lab. And
in 2014, I plan to enroll in the Medical Laboratory Technology
degree program," she said.
Koukou and Grenier are prime examples of a key AHP goal: to
expedite the training of underemployed workers, or those
seeking career changes, and introduce them to exciting careers in
the health industry.
"The AHP program is incredible. I love the stackable certification
option, where you get certified in one program and move on to the
next," said Grenier.
"And Suzanne is an amazing teacher all the teachers are,"
she added. "The skills we learn from them prepare us for any
situation we'll meet when working in the field. And Suzanne still
works in the field (as a Lowell General Hospital clinical laboratory
scientist), so she shares her experiences with us."
Nancye Tuttle