UW Certified Medical Assistant Program

Did you know healthcare organizations in Dane County had a total of 325 Medical Assistant job openings in the last year? The demand for these trained workers will only continue to increase each year for at least the next 5 years as the Madison population continues to grow.

To address this healthcare workforce need, the WDBSCW and UW Health were awarded a Fast Forward grant in 2018 to create the UW Certified Medical Assistant Program.

About the Program

In September 2018, 60 individuals began to receive instructional and clinical training through the UW Certified Medical Assistant Program. The goal of the program is to prepare students for the Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

Students primarily are incumbent workers (those in entry-level positions who identify with one or more underrepresented population demographics) at UW Health, SSM Health and UnityPoint-Meriter.

This program will not only help our organization address critical needs for more Medical Assistants but will also provide the opportunity to train into this high-demand career to our diverse employees, who would not otherwise have access to attend a full-time, traditional program.
-Bridgett Willey, Director of Allied Health and Career Pathways at UW Health

There is no cost to the students for participating in the program.

Benefits of the Program


Traditional, full-time Medical Assistant training schedules can be challenging for many students to balance with work, especially economically disadvantaged students. This program schedule allows students to hold full-time employment while attending courses. Students have 16 hours of classroom and clinical instruction per week for 36 weeks followed by 24 hours of clinical instruction per week for 12 weeks.

Higher Potential

Medical Assistant positions start at $16 per hour in the Dane County region and may provide individuals and families a ladder out of poverty. And, after passing the CCMA exam, individuals have a strong foundation from which to pursue other healthcare careers, such as a nurse, physician assistant, medical imaging technologist and more.