Associate in Applied Science
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.”
- Answering phones
- Greeting patients
- Updating and filing patient medical records Completing insurance forms
- Completing insurance forms
- Preparing correspondence, scheduling appointments
- Arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services
- Handling billings and bookkeeping
- Purchasing and maintaining supplies and equipment
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
Because of the profession, course work consists of studies in clinical procedures and office technology. 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, clinical laboratory techniques, phlebotomy, medical ethics, OSHA regulations, patient communication, basic EKG, medical terminology and patient care.
Office technology course work focuses on medical office procedures, billing, insurance coding, communication, typing, machine transcription and information processing.
Graduates are qualified for a career involving entry-level clinical and medical office procedures.
Certification in Basic Life Support 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 or American Heart Association. 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.
The program is also approved by the National Association for Health Professionals and students are eligible for National Registry Certification in Medical Assisting, Phlebotomy, EKG, Administrative Health Assistant and Coding Specialist.
The Medical Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB), 35 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, Ill. 60601, (312) 553-9355.
Admission and Curriculum Change Requirements
Students admitted in September and January.
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 semester.
All applicants must meet the following admissions requirements:
- High school diploma or general equivalency diploma (GED).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Program Goals and Objectives
- To graduate quality students into the field of medical assistants.
- To graduate entry-level professionals into the field of medical assistants.
- To prepare students in administrative, clinical and trans-disciplinary areas of medical assistants through competency-based educational assessment.
- To prepare students to take the Certified Medical Assistant (C.M.A.) exam and become a certified medical assistant, as per accreditation standards (American Association of Medical Assistants).
- To prepare and provide students the opportunity to take the National Association for Health Professionals Certification (N.H.P.) exams in: Certified Medical Assistant, Administrative Health Assistant, ECG Technician, Phlebotomy Technician and Coding Specialist.
Student Learning Outcomes
The student will, upon completion of all courses, successfully complete all of the American Association of Medical Assistants Endowment Entry-Level Educational Competencies for Administrative, Clinical and Transdisciplinary Competencies. (See the Medical Assistant Handbook available from the program coordinator in the Life Sciences Division)