Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee



Johanna Duncan-Poitier


Bramson ORT College:  Master Plan Amendment to authorize a Medical Assistant Program leading to an Associate in Applied Science Degree (A.A.S.)



December 16, 2005



Goals 2 and 4







Issue for Decision (Consent Agenda)


          Should the Regents authorize the amendment of the master plan of Bramson ORT College in order for the College to offer a Medical Assistant Program leading to an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree?


Reason for Consideration


          Required by State regulation.


Proposed Handling


          This question will come before the Higher Education and Professional Practice Committee at its January meeting where it will be voted on and action taken.  It will then come before the full Board at its January meeting for final action. 


Procedural History


          Master plan amendment is required because this would be the College’s first associate degree program in the discipline of Health Professions.




Background Information


          Bramson ORT College is a not-for-profit institution offering programs leading to associate degrees.  Its main campus is in Forest Hills, Queens.  An extension center is located in Brooklyn (Bensonhurst).  The College offers programs in the major discipline areas of Business, Engineering, and Physical Sciences. The College reported enrollment for the fall of 2004 as 580 full-time and 28 part-time students.


          Bramson ORT seeks to offer a Medical Assistant program leading to the A.A.S. degree in the major discipline field of Health Professions.  It currently offers a Medical Office Assistant program in the major discipline area of Business.  Following staff and peer reviews, the Department has determined that this program meets the requirements of Regents Rules and the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. 




          It is recommended that the Board of Regents approve the amendment of the master plan of Bramson ORT College, Queens, effective January 10, 2006, in order to authorize the College to offer a Medical Assistant Program leading to the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree. This amendment will be effective until January 31, 2007, unless the Department registers the program prior to that date, in which case master plan amendment shall be without term.   


Information in Support of Recommendation


Academic Review


Bramson ORT College was granted degree powers by the Regents in 1978.  The College is a unit of a worldwide network of occupational training schools and institutes of Organization for Educational Resources and Technological Training International.  Bramson ORT College in New York is the single institution, among several ORT schools in the United States, that is authorized to grant degrees.


Bramson ORT College is institutionally accredited by the Regents and the Commissioner.  Its accreditation was most recently renewed without conditions in December of 2002 for a period of ten years.


The proposed curriculum of 60 credits is designed to prepare graduates to function as multi-skilled allied health professionals, undertaking tasks in health related facilities that are not reserved to licensed professionals.  Staff in the Office of Higher Education have worked with staff in the Office of the Professions to carefully review the proposed curriculum to assure that it does not include components reserved to licensed professionals.  The proposed curriculum has a general education core of 15 credits, including communications, statistics, and liberal arts electives.  The 45 credit specialization includes pharmacology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, billing and coding, clinical procedures, accounting and an internship.  The curriculum is designed to meet the requirements of the programmatic accrediting agency for Medical Assistant programs, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).  The College intends to seek accreditation from this group.


          Current and planned faculty are adequate in number and qualifications.  A core of three full-time faculty will be supplemented by 13 faculty in related departments.  The core faculty have extensive teaching and experiences in the field. 


          Facilities, including laboratories, are adequate in condition and space at each of the College’s campuses. 


          The College projects an initial enrollment of 20 students in the proposed program, with enrollment increasing to 40 after five years.


Planning Review


According to the United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations through the year 2010, increasing by 36 percent or more as the health services industry expands.  The national employment growth in the field has been estimated to increase by 57.8 percent between 2003 and 2008; New York State’s estimated growth is 57 percent.  Annual average openings for medical assistants in New York State are expected to be 1,230 in the period 2005-2008.  An indicator of continuing growth is the increasing number of advertisements for medical assistants in New York’s area newspapers (about 20 per month in the New York Times). 

Growth in demand is expected to continue in part because of the increasing older population and technological advances in medicine.  Employment growth will also be driven by the increase in the number of group practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities that need a high proportion of support personnel, particularly the flexible medical assistant who can handle both administrative and clinical duties.  Medical assistants primarily work in outpatient settings, where much faster growth is expected.


In view of the preference of many health care employers for well-trained personnel, job prospects should be best for medical assistants with degrees.


Other Institutions


Several degree-granting institutions in New York City offer Medical Assistant programs leading to associate degrees.  These include ASA Institute of Business and Computer Technology, Mandl School, Monroe College, and Plaza College.  Of the four institutions named, Plaza College is the only one in Queens.  Bramson ORT College anticipates that about 50 percent of students in the proposed program will come from Queens, 40 percent from Kings, and 10 percent from other New York City counties. 


In the Department’s view, current demand is sufficient to support a number of programs and choices for study in this field.  The Department’s canvass of all institutions in New York about possible impacts of this program resulted in no objections to the program.  Responses were received from Columbia University, Fashion Institute of Technology, Monroe College, Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, Long Island Business Institute, and the College of New Rochelle.