2019 - 2020 Student Catalog 
    Jun 15, 2024  
2019 - 2020 Student Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Medical Assistant, A.A.S.

Contact Information

Program Requirements

Typical Program

Degree/Certificate:   Associate in Applied Science
HEGIS Code:           5214
SUNY Code:            0574
Major Code:            MEDA

The Career

Medical assistants are multi-skilled allied healthcare professionals who perform a wide range of roles in physicians’ offices, clinics, hospitals, HMOs, medical insurance agencies and other healthcare settings. They are cross-trained and proficient in a multitude of administrative and clinical duties. Their versatility makes them employable and they are viewed by doctors as vital members of the healthcare delivery team.

The duties of medical assistants differ from office to office, depending, in part, on size. In smaller practices, medical assistants are usually “generalists.” They handle both administrative and clinical duties. In larger practices, medical assistants tend to be “specialists.”

Administrative Duties:

  • Answering phones
  • Greeting patients
  • Updating and filing patient medical records
  • Completing insurance forms
  • Preparing correspondence, scheduling appointments
  • Arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services
  • Handling billings and bookkeeping
  • Purchasing and maintaining supplies and equipment

Clinical Duties:

Although clinical duties vary according to state law, they generally include the following:

  • Taking and recording vital signs and medical histories
  • Explaining treatment procedures to patients
  • Preparing patients for examination
  • Assisting during the examination
  • Collecting and preparing lab specimens or performing basic lab tests
  • Disposing contaminated supplies
  • Sterilizing medical instruments
  • Instructing patients about medication and special diets
  • Preparing and administering medications as directed by a physician
  • Authorizing drug refills as directed by the supervising physician
  • Telephoning in prescriptions to pharmacies
  • Drawing blood
  • Preparing patients for X-rays
  • Taking EKGs
  • Removing sutures
  • Changing dressings
  • Arranging examining room instruments and equipment

NCCC Approach

Because of the profession, course work consists of studies in clinical and administrative procedures. The student will complete an externship in medical offices or a healthcare facility. The student is responsible for transportation to the externship site.

Clinical course work focuses on Human Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Physicians Office Laboratory Techniques, Phlebotomy, Medical Ethics, OSHA/CLIA Regulations, Patient Communication, Basic EKG, Medical Terminology and Patient Care.

Administrative course work focuses on Medical Office Procedures; Medical Coding, Billing and Insurance; Medical Office Communication; Introduction to Computer Applications in the Medical Office; Medical Records Management; Medical Informatics and Information Processing.

Graduates are qualified for a career involving entry-level clinical and administrative medical office procedures.

Certification in Basic Life Support For Health Care Professionals or CPR for Professional Rescuer is required prior to entering MED 137 and must remain current throughout the remainder of the program. This requirement must be fulfilled through successful completion of HED 214 or an equivalent program offered by the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, or National Safety Council. If the Basic Life Support requirement is successfully completed through an equivalent American Red Cross or American Heart Association program, a minimum of 2 credit hours in Health/Physical Education is still required unless successfully challenged.

Policy procedures and competencies for the Medical Assistant program are available from the program coordinator.

Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the certification exam for Medical Assistant given by the AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants). Passing this examination provides the medical assistant with the title CMA (certified medical assistant). Today, most employers are now requiring that graduates have the CMA title.  Students are required to complete 160 supervised practicum hours in a health care setting, this is an unpaid practicum.

The Niagara County Community College Medical Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). 

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
25400 US Highway, 19 North, Suite 158
Clearwater, FL 33763
(727) 210-2350

Admission and Curriculum Change Requirements

Students admitted in fall, spring and summer.

Because of the sequencing of courses, it may take more than four semesters of full-time study if a student begins this program in a spring or summer semester.

All applicants must meet the following admissions requirements:

  1. High school diploma or equivalency diploma. 
  2. Final acceptance into the Medical Assistant program depends upon the student submitting and the Wellness Center approving the physical exam prior to the student entering MED 103L, Phlebotomy, and MED 137N, Medical Assistant Externship. Health records must remain current during this period of enrollment. The student is responsible for the costs associated with the physical examination report.
  3. In order to meet the objectives of the Medical Assistant program, certain essential technical standards must be met. These essential technical standards are available from the Wellness Center. The student must meet technical standards based on the results of the physical examination.
  4. Certification in Basic Life Support or CPR for professional rescuer is required prior to entering MED 137, Medical Assistant Externship, and must be current throughout the program.
  5. If college-level courses were completed prior to the student starting in the Medical Assistant program and these courses are to be used to fulfill degree requirements, a minimum program GPA of 2.0 is required.


Course Sequencing Policy

All prerequisite Medical Assistant courses must be successfully completed before progressing to the next sequential Medical Assistant course.

Individuals graduating from Medical Assistant programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) must demonstrate knowledge of the subject matters required for competence in the profession. Students must successfully incorporate cognitive (C) objectives into, and demonstrate competency in performance of psychomotor (P) and affective (A) competencies in required academic subjects. 

Within the medical assistant curriculum all (100%) of psychomotor and affective competencies must be successfully completed with a passing score of 85% in order to earn a passing grade within a course.  Only two attempts per competency is allowed. A grade of C or better is required to earn a passing grade in MED courses where cognitive objectives are assessed.

MED 160 Basic Patient Care Trigger Course

MED 160 Basic Patient Care is the identified NCCC MAERB CAAHEP Trigger Course for Medical Assistant students. Students must successfully pass MED 160 to progress forward in the Medical Assisting program. Failure to successfully complete MED 160 prevents students from taking any MED courses past the Trigger Course semester and until MED 160 is completed successfully according to program policy and procedures.

“The trigger course is the first course in the medical assisting program curriculum in which the student is taught and achievement measured on any psychomotor and/or affective competencies within the MAERB core curriculum. The formal admission cohort will be the group of students who have successfully completed the trigger course. If any of the psychomotor and/or affective competencies are taught and achievement measured in other courses outside of medical assisting courses prior to the start of that trigger course, the competencies must be re-assessed and/or re-evaluated during the progression of the MAERB core curriculum prior to practicum.” (MAERB Policy & Procedures, August 2015, pg 25.)

Grade Policy

Grading Policy for Medical Assistant (MED) Courses Lecture, Laboratory,  Practicum Courses:  A minimum grade of C is required in all Medical Assistant (MED) courses. Major Medical Assistant courses have multiple components: lecture (theory), laboratory, and practicum (clinical). A student must earn a minimum C grade in lecture, laboratory, and practicum courses to be successful and progress in the medical Assistant curriculum. 

Grading Policy for Anatomy & Physiology, Advanced First Aid & CPR, Microbiology, Biotechniques, and Pharmacology Courses for Medical Assistant Students: A minimum grade of C in BIO 213E/L (Anatomy and Physiology I), BIO 214 E/L (Anatomy and Physiology II), HED 214E (Advanced First Aid & CPR), BIO 240 E/L (Biotechniques), BIO 221 E/L (Microbiology), and PHA 250 (General Pharmacology) must be earned to be successful and progress in the Medical Assistant curriculum.

Matriculated Status

Students must maintain continuous registration in Medical Assistant courses including prerequisite and co-requisite courses to remain matriculated in the Medical Assistant Program.

Unsafe Clinical Practice

Unsafe care is defined as “placing the patient/family/provider in clear and present danger.”  When a student is unable to provide safe patient care and/or does not meet the ethical standards within the larger healthcare industry and the Medical Assistant profession, the program coordinator, upon recommendation from the medical assistant clinical faculty, will remove said student from the clinical/practicum educational component of said Medical Assistant course (MED 103L/PHL 100, and/or MED 137).  A grade of “F” will be awarded.  The student is not eligible for re-admission into the Medical Assistant program.

Dual Major Option

Medical Assistant and Phlebotomist Certificate

Students interested in a dual major in medical assistant and phlebotomist certificate programs may apply for dual enrollment through the office of Student Development.  To be eligible for dual enrollment, students must have a 2.0 average or above, and have successfully completed BIO213/213L, BIO 214/214L, and MED 103L (PHL100) at the time of application.

Dual Major Course Requirements

Dual-major students must successfully complete required medical assistant program courses AND the following courses to be eligible to graduate with both a Medical Assistant (AAS) and a Phlebotomist Certificate.

PHL 101 - Phlebotomy II - 2 Cr.
PHL 102 - Phlebotomy Practicum - 4 Cr.

Important Notes: 

PHL 101 Phlebotomy II and PHL 102 Phlebotomy Practicum are offered in Spring Semester. Upon successful completion and graduation, students will be eligible to sit for medical assistant and phlebotomist national certification tests.

Student must consult with Financial Aid regarding impact of dual major enrollment.  Enrollment in dual major option may delay graduation from the medical assistant program.

Medical Assistant Program Mission

The mission of the Niagara County Community College Medical Assistant program is to give students the educational means to become academically, clinically, and administratively competent in the profession of Medical Assistant.

Program Goals

Upon successful completion of the NCCC Medical Assistant program, graduates will demonstrate employment-ready proficiency in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains set forth by programmatic accreditation standards and guidelines necessary to function as a knowledgeable and competent entry-level Medical Assistant. Specific goals of the program include:

  • Graduate quality entry-level professionals into the field of Medical Assistant
  • Prepare competent entry-level medical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains
  • Prepare students to sit for a nationally recognized Medical Assistant exam and become a certified medical assistant per accreditation standards

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the NCCC Medical Assistant program will be able to:

  • Perform clinical tasks such as vital signs, exam room preparation, patient data collection, CLIA-waived lab tests, phlebotomy, and EKGs             
  • Perform administrative tasks such as reception, data-entry, insurance billing and coding procedures, record and basic office management
  • Demonstrate the knowledge skills and behaviors necessary to function within the legal and ethical standards of the profession of Medical Assistant
  • Demonstrate appropriate communication skills using both the written and spoken word
  • Demonstrate proficient critical thinking skills
  • Communicate appropriately with providers, supervisors, patients and their family members, and professional colleagues utilizing effective interpersonal skills
  • Assist provider with patient education related to pharmacology, disease prevention, and nutrition within the legal and ethical standards of the profession of Medical Assistant
  • Demonstrate an appreciation and awareness of varied perspectives necessary to meet the needs of diverse populations
  • Discuss the value of lifelong learning, professional development, and active membership in professional societies

Program Requirements (MEDA)

  1. A total of at least 64-credit hours with a minimum curriculum grade-point average of 2.0. Academic Foundations courses do not count toward the degree.
  2. Medical Assistant: A minimum of 35-credit hours to include:
    MED 101 - OSHA/CLIA Regulations  
    MED 134 - Medical Terminology  
    MED 261L - Basic Patient Care I Lab  
    MED 262L - Basic Patient Care II Lab 
    PHA 250 - General Pharmacology  
  3. Biology: A minimum of 18-credit hours to include:
    BIO 213 - Human Anatomy and Physiology I  *
    BIO 213L - Human Anatomy and Physiology I Lab  *
    BIO 214 - Human Anatomy and Physiology II  
    BIO 214L - Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab II  
    BIO 221 - Microbiology  
    BIO 240 - Biotechniques  
  4. Health/Physical Education: A minimum of 2-credit hours to include:
    HED 214 - Advanced First Aid and CPR  
  5. Humanities: A minimum of 6-credit hours to include:
    ENG 101 - Writing I *
    ENG 102 - Writing II & Introduction to Literature  
  6. Social Sciences: A minimum of 3-credit hours to include:
    PSY 110 - Introduction to Psychology  

Typical Program

Total Credit Hours: 17

Total Credit Hours: 14

Total Credit Hours: 18

Total Credit Hours: 15


* Dependent upon the fulfillment of Academic Foundations requirements.

**Externships are non-paid experiences.

F = offered fall semester

S = offered spring semester

SU = offered summer session

Additional Costs

Students must purchase a uniform, name tag and profession-specific equipment. Detailed information can be obtained by contacting the program coordinator in the  Nursing and Allied Health Department at 614-5940.

Scholarship Opportunities

There are several scholarships available to NCCC students.  Scholarship deadline dates vary each semester.  For more information, please visit the scholarship webpage at www.niagaracc.suny.edu/scholarships. The NCCC Scholarship Office is located within the Financial Aid Complex, A-114 or by phone (716) 614-6205.