Montana State University

Board of Regents approves two new certificates to be offered through Gallatin College Programs

May 24, 2011 -- MSU News Service

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
The Montana Board of Regents has approved medical assistant and bookkeeping certificate programs to be offered through Gallatin College Programs this fall. Applications are now being accepted.

Both programs lead to certificates in applied science degrees and will take one year to complete.

"These programs will enable individuals in our communities to qualify for good jobs," said Bob Hietala, dean of Gallatin College Programs. "At the same time, the programs will help satisfy critical workforce demands of employers in the Gallatin Valley."

Certified medical assistants are in growing demand in outpatient medical offices, said Buck Taylor, chief operating officer of Community Health Partners, which has clinics in Belgrade, Bozeman, Livingston and West Yellowstone. However, because Montana does not require certification or licensure for medical assistants, as some states do, medical assistants generally are trained on the job, he said. This training can often take many months and is inefficient for employers.

The bookkeeping program is also in response to requests from local employers, Hietala said. According to a 2006 local needs assessment, 40 percent of all businesses surveyed expressed a strong desire for financial and accounting programs. Hietala said national and state projections show that job opportunities for bookkeepers are expected to continue to grow.

Through a partnership with the Bozeman School District, courses for both programs will be taught in classrooms in a vacant wing at Bozeman High School. Gallatin College Programs is also evaluating offering some bookkeeping courses online, Hietala said.

Funding for the programs is covered by tuition and Montana general fund dollars. In addition, the City of Bozeman passed a resolution in January to provide approximately $120,000 per year for the next two years to help expand Gallatin College Programs.

Gallatin College Programs also offers a certificate in welding and associate degrees in interior design, aviation and design drafting. Enrollment in these programs increased last year by more than 22 percent.

For more information about Gallatin College Programs, visit

Bob Hietala, (406) 994-5523 or