Phoenix College & Rio Salado College Celebrate Medical Administrative Assisting Program Graduates

Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Phoenix College and Rio Salado College MAA Certificate Program Graduates First Class

Phoenix College and Rio Salado College recently celebrated the first cohort of certificate graduates for the Medical Administrative Assisting (MAA) career training program.  The partnership between the institutions began in March 2021, giving adult education students access to training as Medical Administrative Assistants. The Adult Education co-enrollment program allows students to receive valuable career training with Phoenix College while working toward their high school equivalency diplomas, or learning English, at Rio Salado College. ​

The 20 integrated education and training students successfully completed 18 credit hours to earn a certificate of completion (CCL) in Medical Administrative Assisting through Phoenix College. The students are now eligible and prepared to sit for the national Certified Medical Administrative Specialist (CMAS) exam to earn their professional credential. Additionally, the students have the opportunity to stack credentials, improve their qualifications, and advance themselves in the field through Phoenix College’s Medical Assisting (MA) CCL Program.   

The 2022 Cohort of MAA graduates includes: Lisa Avila, Daniela Ayon Patino, Vera Batista Cepedes, Rotasha Bellamy, Aimee Borunda Jimenez, Elizabeth Chavez, Carolina Diaz De La Torre, Christina Escobar, Nimia Ghigliotty Rodriguez, Elezabeth Hartman, Jo Ann Johnson Cofresi, Sothy Keo, Jessica Luna, Berenice Luna Morachis, Olga Moisseyeva, Jose Robles Navarro, Mercedez Ruiz, Karoline Saldana Casillas, Elisa Soto, Selena Torres.

Students started the program amid the global pandemic and a bit of uncertainty.

“The Medical Administrative Assisting pathway has become a model program for integrated education and training,” said Kelly Stewart, Rio Salado College Associate Dean of Community Development. “Students can expedite their progress toward an industry credential in the healthcare field and a high school diploma while receiving targeted support designed for adult learners. This program gives students like Vera Batista Cespedes, who was an X-ray technician in her own country, the opportunity to pursue an occupation in healthcare in the United States.” 

Vera Batista Cespedes, an English language learner at Rio Salado who co-enrolled with Phoenix College to earn a Medical Administrative Assisting certificate, also praised the program.  "I enrolled in the MAA program because I think it is a great opportunity and I am passionate about medicine," Batista Cespedes said. "I want to continue my studies in the branch of medicine."

Monica Katsanes, of Phoenix College, has served as Program Director for the Medical Assisting department during the initiative's pilot year. Impressed by the students' progression, she said, "We're especially proud of our first certificate graduates. They've been excellent students, and I'm confident that they'll find success as they enter the workforce."

Medical Administrative Assistants are healthcare professionals who are key members of the administrative medical office team. They foster a friendly and positive patient experience while performing numerous administrative duties that adhere to state and federal standards.

The Medical Assisting Program at Phoenix College is a true stackable workforce program with multiple micro and professional credentials. The first semester of the program, Medical Administrative Assisting, is 18 credits and fully online. At the completion of the first semester, students can earn their first industry credential, Certified Medical Administrative Specialist (CMAS), and find entry-level employment in the industry.

Students who wish to continue in the Phoenix College Medical Assisting Program complete 24 additional credits for their clinical hybrid lab classes. At the completion of these classes, students earn their second certificate from Phoenix College and are then prepared for their second industry credential, Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Medical Assisting. Students have further opportunities to earn their Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree through Phoenix College with direct transfer to Northern Arizona University to then earn their Bachelor of Health Science with an emphasis in Medical Assisting.

If you would like to learn more about the Medical Administrative Assisting Program, visit