What is the Professional Development Academy?

The Professional Development Academy is dedicated to providing tailored training programs to foster career growth for targeted staff groups and to support Duke's staffing needs. The goals of the Academy include improving retention and strengthening workforce commitment, developing the skills and capabilities of staff, and supporting Duke's commitment to diversity.

Why were office staff jobs chosen as a program of the Academy, and what is the goal of the program?

The continuing demand for skilled and committed office staff to handle critical administration responsibilities is reflected in Duke's weekly job vacancy listing. Even with vacancy management, the number of vacancies in office staff positions has consistently remained at a high level due to growth within Duke University and Duke Health programs and restructuring of departments' needs. Duke frequently finds itself competing in the local market to attract well-qualified and experienced staff for these key positions.

These job levels were also targeted because they span across Duke University and Duke Health and because short-term, intensive training would help qualify participants for higher-level jobs. The goal of the Foundational Skills Program is to provide participants with the necessary competencies to transition successfully within Duke from job level 2-5, B1 and B2.

What topics will be included in the training?

During the 36 weeks of the program, participants will take courses on topics related to one of two administrative tracks focused for Health or University administrative career paths:


  • Articulate roles and responsibilities
  • Understand medical office function
  • Formatting medical reports
  • Knowledge of various types and purposes of medical insurance
  • Interpreting information on patients’ insurance cards
  • Demonstrating an awareness of HIPPA Compliance, Confidentiality Laws, PHI.


  • Office equipment operation & troubleshooting
  • Computer basics, software & keyboarding
  • Business writing & correspondence
  • Soft skills & leadership
  • Career & work readiness
  • Work experience
  • Developmental meetings with peer coaches and PDA staff

Who will teach the classes?

Duke and Durham Technical Community College instructors will teach classes.

How long will it take to complete the program?

  • The class is scheduled to begin May 30, 2023.
  • For more information about training time commitments, click here.
  • Participants will be paid for training time per week.
  • Wages will be paid by the department to the participant. The Professional Development Academy will reimburse a department for 50% of the training time.

Will participants get paid for hours spent in training?

Yes, participants will be paid for time spent in training. The Professional Development Academy will reimburse the department for 50% of the training time.

Where will the classes be held?

Classes will be held in a convenient location on campus that allows for adequate parking.

How does someone qualify for this program?

For selection criteria for the Foundational Skills Program, click here.

What types of jobs will graduates qualify for upon completion of the program? Will graduates be guaranteed a promotion or new job once they complete the program?

Although graduates are not guaranteed a promotion or new job upon completion of the program, they will possess the necessary skills to qualify for jobs at Duke in levels 5, 6 and 7 and B2 and B3, such as Administrative Clerk, Appointment Coordinator, and Patient Service Associate.

Will participants have to pay back any of the financial support provided to staff by Duke?

In return for the financial assistance provided for training, participants must agree to work at Duke for 24 months after completion of the program. If participants drop out of the program or leave Duke prior to fulfilling their 24-month commitment, they will be required to repay a portion of the educational costs for instruction, books and supplies.

For more information, please contact Marjorie Siegert at the Professional Development Academy by email at marjorie.siegert@duke.edu.