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Medical Assistant

Medical Assistant student inserting needle in another student's veinMedical Assistant Program

Medical Assistant Program - Certificate
Medical Assistant Program - AAS Degree
The Medical Assistant program provides a balanced blend of administrative and clinical courses to prepare students for entry-level medical assisting in doctors' offices and clinics.

Students can take either the one-year Certificate program or the two-year Associate in Applied Science Degree program. 

This program provides a blend of administrative and clinical courses to prepare the students for entry-level medical assisting. This allied health care profession offers work primarily in ambulatory settings such as medical offices and clinics. Supervised practicums at physicians' offices are required. Prior to placement, the student must submit evidence of good health which includes a physical exam, up-to-date immunizations, tuberculin screening results, and CPR certification. A background check may also be required. A medical assistant's responsibilities may include but are not limited to, scheduling patients, maintaining medical records, obtaining medical codes, submitting insurance forms, taking vital signs, assisting with minor office surgery, medication reconciliation, taking a medical history, performing office laboratory procedures and tests, obtaining EKG readouts, giving injections, drawing blood, and assisting patients with understanding treatment instructions.

Students will study a variety of course work covering areas such as anatomy and physiology, psychology, medical terminology, office coding, insurance billing, office procedures, computer applications, medication application, clinical practice, medical ethics, medical law, and associated electives.

The 1-year certificate focuses on occupational specialty courses. Upon successful completion of the certificate, the student is able to apply for employment and register for one of many available medical assistant credentialing exams. Complete of the AAS degree requires continuation to the second year of courses for a total of 60 hours of credits that include a mixture of program-specific courses and general education courses. 

This allied health care profession offers work primarily in ambulatory settings such as medical offices and clinics. A supervised internship at a physician’s office is required. Prior to placement the student must be CPR certified and submit evidence of good health, including up-to-date immunizations and tuberculin screening results. A background check may also be required, and any person that committed a felony will not be allowed to write the credentialing exam.

Program Facilities

You will learn in a dedicated lab featuring equipment you will use on the job such as EKG machine, blood pressure cuff, and AED trainer. You will also test your skills with several computer simulation programs.

Preparation

An interest in helping people, strong organizational skills, and attention to detail are personal qualities that successful students bring to this program. The ability to handle several tasks at one time is important, as well as possessing strong written and oral communication skills and computer skills. Before starting the program, your academic background and assessment scores or testing results are reviewed to determine the right courses to take. Review classes are also available to prepare you to meet the academic requirements of ACC’s Medical Assistant program.

Career Options

As a medical assistant, your duties will vary from office to office, depending on your employer’s location, size, and specialized work. In a smaller practice, you may be expected to perform both clerical and clinical work while reporting to the office manager. In larger practices, however, you will often specialize in a particular area and report to a department supervisor.

Your job responsibilities will include many clerical duties. These may include handling correspondence, scheduling patients, updating and filing medical records, and maintaining billing and bookkeeping records.

Clinical duties vary according to state law and may include taking medical histories and vital signs, sterilizing instruments, performing routine laboratory procedures, preparing patients for examinations or x-rays, removing sutures, or conducting electrocardiograms. You may also be required to instruct patients regarding medications or special diets and prepare and administer medications under a physician’s supervision.

Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 19% through the year 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be best for medical assistants with formal training or experience, particularly with a credential. Your average annual salary depends on your employer and your experience and skill level. Median annual earnings for medical assistants were $35,850 in 2020.*

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2019-20 Edition, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh (visited May 10, 2021)

Contact the Program StaffKimberly Salziger, CMA (AAMA), CMSA, M.Ed.
Medical Assistant Program Director
989.358.7341
salzigek@alpenacc.edu

Lisa Brege
Program Secretary
989.358.7217
bregel@alpenacc.edu