Freeman and Crowder College Sign Memorandum of Understanding for CMA Apprenticeship

On-the-Job Training Program for Future Certified Medical Assistants

(Joplin, MO)Freeman Health System President and Chief Executive Officer Paula F. Baker and Crowder College President Dr. Glenn Coltharp signed a memorandum of understanding to formalize creation of the Certified Medical Assistant Apprentice Program, which provides an opportunity for education and employment. This signing took place at 11:00 am on August 11 in the Freeman Hospital West executive conference room.

“The Medical Assistant Apprentice Program will make the transition from classroom to patient care easier and more relevant for these selected students,” said Baker. “Since the medical field is constantly changing, this program will allow the students to stay up-to-date on best practices both in the classroom and in the clinic.”

“Crowder College is excited to be partnering with Freeman for the new certified medical assistant apprenticeship,” said Dr. Coltharp “This is a win-win opportunity for all involved in the partnership. The CMA apprenticeship will allow students to earn a sustainable wage while attending school with little to no debt. The Apprentice Programs are a great way for our students to transition from classroom to the real world.”

The 16-week paid program starts August 23, 2021 and combines classroom education and on-the-job training to become a certified medical assistant. Students will spend 20 hours a week benefitting from a variety of learning opportunities, including traveling to various clinics within the area.

“I am honored to participate in the Medical Assistant Apprentice Program,” said Robin Bach, Freeman employee and student. “It will allow me to not only grow personally but also to continue to invest in Freeman through the knowledge that I gain.”

Medical assistants provide physician support services in Freeman clinics. Some of the duties of a medical assistant include recording medical information, performing vital signs, collecting specimens, administering injections and blood draws, and preparing treatment rooms. The program will provide the training needed for those selected to come out of school and transition directly into the medical assistant role, which benefits Freeman with quality staff.

“Having a direct pipeline of students will increase our hires into the clinics so we can continue to provide the best patient care to the community,” said Tosha Cunningham, Freeman Talent Acquisition Coordinator. “Since we are partnering with Crowder directly, we are able to assist with the admissions process and provide guidance along the way for these students. At the completion of the program, the students will sit for the Certified Medical Assistant National Exam.”

Applicants must meet application and acceptance requirements as outlined by Freeman Health System and Crowder College. For more information, please call or text 417.347.1019, or visit

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2020, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. U.S. News & World Report named Freeman Health System the Best Hospital in Southwest Missouri for 2020-2021. With more than 320 physicians on staff representing more than 80 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit


Lisa Olliges, Freeman Health System
Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator

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