Vail’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs provide students with opportunities to gain job skills, certifications, and even employment out of high school. And, the programs certainly set students up with a launching pad to pursue advanced certifications, degrees, and professions. Vail’s CTE programs are an integral part of helping students to create their own stories.

Andrada Polytechnic High School – Medical Assisting Program

APHS’s Medical Assisting program under the direction of Amy Link is the most successful medical assisting program in the state! The world will always need high quality healthcare professionals. Andrada Medical Assisting Pathway provides the opportunity for ANY high school student within district boundaries to learn skills necessary for state and national certifications. Andrada students are offered the pathway during the regular school day.

Andrada’s Healthcare Pathway including the medical assisting component was awarded the Golden Bell by the Arizona School Board Association in 2018 as well as the National School Board Association’s Magna Award in 2020 in large part because its students are being met with great success. Every single student in the MA program has earned passing scores on Arizona end of year assessments… every single year since Andrada opened in 2012… the only school in the state to do so. APHS students also take the national exams that adults take for certification. Adults having gone through training courses take the test an average of three times before passing. The national average pass rate is 51%. 91% of APHS MA students have passed it on their first attempt. The passing score on the national certifications increase employability and college entrance opportunities. And, Andrada’s students are consistently sought after by medical programs and various clinics around Arizona.

Alejandra Diaz – Current APHS Senior

Alejandra Dias is a current APHS senior working to wrap up her medical assisting program. She chose Andrada shortly after an 8th grade field trip to visit the school because she saw that she could actually DO something in the medical field at the age of 14! She has had so much fun at Andrada in part because of the relationships she has built with all of the teachers there. And, because Andrada is full of so many different kinds of people, it was easy to find where she fit in. She has loved the medical pathway because it has given her so much experience as a teenager doing things that almost no students get to experience that young. She certainly had the opportunity to really see if this was the profession for her!

Alejandra was surprised at how fast paced the program has been. Ms. Link expects a lot of her students as mistakes are not an option in the medical field… mistakes can literally mean life or death. She has certainly loved all of the hands-on opportunities from drawing blood, taking blood pressure, and more! Alejandra plans to pursue a nursing degree at the University of Arizona in the fall and hopes to work at a hospital in Tucson in Labor and Delivery or the NICU. Her advice to 8th grade students – “Everyone believes in you at Andrada so try new things, and remember that failure is often a good thing.” Great advice! We wish Alejandra the very best of luck!

Madison Hodges – 2016 graduate

Madison Hodges is a 2016 Andrada Polytechnic High School medical assisting graduate. She then went on to attend GCU in pursuit of a degree in nursing. She walked into some of her courses there feeling like the smartest student in the room! Two years later, she hit pause.

Madison always wanted to pursue medicine so Andrada was the natural jump start. She loved medical assisting at APHS. While she learned all of the medical components of the program and aced her certification tests, Madison says that the most valuable lessons she learned about the field were regarding people skills. Being able to reassure, calm, and comfort while providing the care to heal is fiercely rewarding.

Madison is now loving her life in Phoenix working as a medical assistant at an urgent care facility while saving money to head back to college to earn her degree in trauma nursing… a little different path than her original plans.

Madison’s advice to middle and high school students is, “If you know what you want to do, that’s great, but if not, go take the program, get the skills, and you still have LOTS of time to figure it out, make good money, and be happy. Andrada just gave me the tools that I needed before I needed them.”

Vail is so very proud of Madison for pursuing her passion and representing Andrada with such pride. Best of luck to you, Madison!

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