Kishwaukee College Completes First Class of Physician Assistant Students – Shaw Local

MALTA — Kishwaukee College graduated its first class of medical assistant students in a December 17 pinning ceremony at the college. Kish pinned six students in front of family and friends in recognition of being certified as medical assistants.

Kishwaukee College’s Physician Assistant program trains students to work in hospitals and other health care facilities where they perform administrative and clinical duties. Through collaboration with area medical partners, Kishwaukee College identified a strong need for qualified physician assistants within the local community and launched the program in the spring of 2021. The six graduates of the initial class of assistants doctors had an intended job before getting their certificate.

“There is a lot of work available. You can really go wherever you want. Employers all want to hire you,” graduate Mayla Sanders said in a press release.

Students can connect with local healthcare facilities through on-the-job training, where they apply their training to real clinical scenarios. Many graduates were able to find work through the employers with whom they practiced.

“There are a ton of options,” graduate Kyla Rachas said in the release. “The two places where I had my internships were fighting to hire me.”

Along with strong local demand, the national outlook for the medical assistant position is expected to grow 18% over the next decade, much faster than the national average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Kara Schreiner, Physician Assistant Program Director at Kish, praised the students for overcoming the challenges of being the first class in a new program.

“The Physician Assistant Certificate is a short-term program, where students graduate in just under a year,” Schreiner said in the release. “The students worked hard, devoting time and effort to succeed. They were leaders in the class, and I’m confident they will be leaders in their new field. I’m so proud of them all.

To create a state-of-the-art learning space for the program, Kishwaukee College modeled an existing classroom after medical facilities to have patient rooms, a reception desk, and a lab area. The space allows students to practice their skills before beginning rotations at an externship site.

The promotion includes Asia Brown, Felicia Craig, Shalana Jones, Rebecca Nelson, Kyla Rachas and Mayla Sanders. Each graduate was individually singled out by a friend or family member who had supported the student or acted as a mentor throughout the program.

Physician assistants work as all-around healthcare professionals in a clinical setting. They must be able to perform a wide range of tasks in the health care field, including administrative and clinical duties. Kish prepares students to become fully certified or registered medical assistants. Applications for Fall 2022 will be available beginning Tuesday, February 15.

To learn more about Kish’s Accredited Physician Assistant Program, visit

Photo caption: Kishwaukee College’s first class of medical assistants pose for a photo during a pinning ceremony. Kish created the Physician Assistant Program to help meet the high demand for qualified Physician Assistants within the local community.

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