Fletcher Technical Community College is starting a certificate program for clinical medical assistants in partnership with the Louisiana Workforce Commission.

The program, expected to include 140 hours of online training, classroom laboratories and 160 clinical externship hours, begins on Aug. 5. The goal is for students to take national certificate exams such as the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant test and lays the foundation for those who want to eventually pursue a degree in nursing. In 2018, the Workforce Commission began a Healthcare Sector Partnership between community organizations and local employers. This program is a result of those efforts.

An informational session will be at 5 p.m. July 10 at Fletcher Technical Community College, BP Integrated Production Building, Room No. 107, 224 Weatherford Drive, in Shriever.

Workforce training for medical assistants has been on the rise in Louisiana. In 2013, Ochsner Health System began its own certificate program, which was expanded this year to Baton Rouge in partnership with Baton Rouge Community College. The six-month program is tuition-free. Ochsner has plans to expand its operations in Baton Rouge.