Phoenix College, Rio Salado College Partner to Advance English Language Learners and GED Students into Medical Careers - AZEdNews
Sections    Tuesday March 28th, 2023

Phoenix College, Rio Salado College Partner to Advance English Language Learners and GED Students into Medical Careers

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  • Michelle Reese   |   Rio Salado College

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Rio Salado College students interested in entering the medical field will be offered a direct pathway to enroll in Phoenix College’s Medical Administrative Assisting Certificate of Completion. The first cohort began March 31.

The new partnership provides underserved students a unique opportunity to co-enroll in non-credit adult education programming. For example, English language courses or studies toward a high school equivalency diploma, and a college certificate program in a high-demand healthcare field. Rio Salado is the largest provider of adult education courses in Arizona. It is also a three-time winner of the Adult Education Program of the Year award. Phoenix College was recently identified as one of the most affordable educational institutions in the country to earn a medical assistant certificate. In addition to the latest training in the field, medical assisting students from Phoenix College receive hands-on training through clinical externships.

Earlier this year, Inside Higher Ed highlighted a report published by Education Strategy Group that stressed the vital need for more seamless pathways between different types of community college programs.

Maria Reyes, Dean of Industry and Public Service at Phoenix College, and Dr. Tamara Cochran, Dean of Instruction and Community Development at Rio Salado College, worked together to design the pathway, joining resources to address equity and access to high-quality education and workforce training for students.

“Phoenix College has a history of more than a century of providing educational opportunities to all members of our community,” said Phoenix College President Dr. Larry Johnson, Jr. “Through this new partnership with Rio Salado we are able to reach even more learners and to help them advance in their professional and educational goals. PC and Rio share a vision of accessible and equitable education that meets students where they are. This collaboration will help this cohort of students truly go far close to home.”

“We are excited for this new pathway that will open up meaningful opportunities for our Adult Education students. With this new partnership, students will gain requisite industry skills while preparing for a fulfilling career,” said Rio Salado College Interim President Kate Smith. “This aligns directly with our mission to anticipate the needs of our students and support them as they work toward long-term goals. I am appreciative to Phoenix College for partnering to develop this student-centric initiative.”

Contact Rio Salado’s Adult Education Department at 480.517.8110 or by email at or visit for more details.