In 2017, the Alaska Primary Care Association formed a partnership with the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development to start an Health Apprenticeship Program focusing on new employees at Alaska’s Community Health Centers. Grant funding was awarded to the APCA, which allowed us to launch apprenticeships in several health professions. Today, the APCA is a multi-agency sponsor for Certified Medical Administrative AssistantCertified Clinical Medical AssistantCertified Billing & Coding SpecialistElectronic Health Records Specialist, and Community Health Workers. The the SC Alaska AHEC of the APCA manages these programs.

The SC Alaska AHEC understands that the health workforce shortage in Alaska can be challenging for Community Health Centers and all Alaskan health care facilities. One way we can make a difference is in the area of “grow your own” – knowing that people from Alaskan communities who can find a good job, with fulfilling career advancement are likely to stay in those jobs for a longer time. This is good for the individual, the CHC, and for the community. The APCA Apprenticeship program will require that the apprentice be employed, have a dedicated mentor, and experience both didactic and on the job learning.

Exams at the end of the apprenticeships will be proctored both distantly and in the APCA office. APCA will also provide apprenticeship peer learning and support – and mentor peer learning and support. Finally, all of the didactic instruction will be delivered via distance learning technology. Community Health Centers will benefit from the apprentice from the beginning, enjoying the increasing level of skills and responsibility accrued over the course of the apprenticeship.

Alaska PCA Apprenticeship Program Case Study–NACHC

Apprenticeship Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for these Health Care Apprenticeships?

Individuals must be employed at the health care facility that will provide the On-the-Job-Learning (OJL) and mentoring portion of their Registered Apprenticeship. The ideal apprentice is someone who is fairly new to their job or is taking on a few role/responsibility in their organization where the Registered Apprenticeship will help her/him advance in their organization.

I am not employed but would like to work as a Health Care Apprentice. How do I find one?

You must first be employed in order to work as a Health Care Apprentice so someone who is currently unemployed would have to first find employment, then work together with their new employer to register for one of our Apprenticeship programs. Many of Alaska’s Community Health Centers provide apprenticeship training for their new employees. Providence Alaska Medical Center and the High Utilizer Mat-Su Program has recently started working with APCA to train Community Health Workers as Registered Apprentices.

I am a health care, behavioral health or human services employer who would like our new employees to be trained or cross trained using the Apprenticeship model. Is this program right for me?

We can train entry level employees as Apprenticeship Model as Medical Assistants, Administrative Assistants, Billing Coding Specialists, Electronic Health Records Specialists, or Community Health Workers.

First, download the work process schedule (below) for the job category of interest. Make sure the wage scale will work for your organization.

How do I interpret the wage scale listed on the Appendix A or “details of the apprenticeship” document?

As a part of the Apprenticeship agreement, the employer must pay their Apprentice at least the amount listed on the wage scale to start and at the end of the Apprenticeship. All Apprentices must get an increase in pay midway through their Apprenticeship.

View each apprenticeship below to download a sample course syllabus and the details of the apprenticeship (also known as work process schedule) for each job category

Certified Medical Administrative Assistant - CMAA

As a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (also called a Medical Office Secretary or Medical Office Assistant), you’ll keep healthcare offices running efficiently and effectively. This is a highly-rewarding profession – and not only monetarily. Medical assistants are often the first to greet and help patients, and can help set the stage for a patient’s experience.

Community Health Worker - CHW

Community health workers (CHWs) are frontline public health workers who have a close understanding of the community they serve. They serve as a liaison between healthcare services and their community. They often help link people to needed health information and services.

Electronic Health Records Specialist - CEHRS

As the demand for security, completeness and accuracy of patient data increases, the need for Certified Electronic Health Record Specialists (CEHRS) is on the rise. This certificate will help give both employees and employers confidence in data management knowledge.

Direct Support Professional - DSP

A Direct Support Professional (DSP) has a vital role when it comes to patient care. A DSP cares for those with physical and/or intellectual disabilities and helps them with activities of daily living. A DSP has strong people skills and can work with patients with varying levels of ability. Compassion and attention to detail are crucial in this role.

Certified Pharmacy Technician – CPhT

A pharmacy technician is one who generally assists and supports licensed pharmacists in a wide variety of activities including, but not limited to, ordering, stocking, and packaging prescription and over-the-counter medications, inventory control, maintaining records, preparing medication labels, and preparing insurance claims.


Medical Assistants (CCMAs) are a vital part of clinical patient care. Because CCMAs are trained to perform so many different tasks, they are in great demand in the workforce.


Billing & Coding Specialists have an expansive range of opportunities for employment. The skills learned through the NHA CBCS certification are essential to hospitals, physician offices, surgery centers, nursing homes, dental offices, home healthcare agencies, mental health facilities and even insurance companies and consulting firms.


A dental assistant helps with a variety of health care tasks, from taking dental x-rays and caring for patients, to helping file records and appointment scheduling.

For questions about the APCA Apprenticeship Program, contact:

Louise Crago, Health Professionals Program Manager

Request for proposal - apprenticeship & training data system