Medical assistant programs are offered in certificate, diploma or degree form. These medical assistant programs can be found at community colleges, online universities and vocational schools. In two years or less an individual will be eligible to take the CMA certification exam.
MAs will acquire a patient’s medical history, draw blood, take vital signs, and prepare a patient for an exam or other type of medical procedure and complete other types of clinical duties, under the supervision of nurses and doctors. The curriculum in this type of program will include medical office management, clinical studies, word processing, office procedures and other related topics.
The classwork will teach future MAs how to interact with patients, assist physicians in performing duties such as giving injections, updating medical records, managing the daily operations of a front office and working with insurance companies and bill collectors. In addition to the required classwork, these students will be required to complete an internship at a hospital or medical office, during the final six weeks of a program. To qualify for enrollment a program applicant will need to have either a GED or high school diploma.
The coursework will include studies in physiology, human anatomy, medical coding, medical terminology, lab procedures and patient documentation. Additional topics will include basic pharmacology and common medical procedures.
The program curriculum is designed to prepare students for positions working as a clinical or administrative medical assistant. The classes for this career field are offered through certificate or degree programs. Both programs will cover the same topics, however, the associate’s degree program will provide a student with a more in-depth look at this profession and will also feature a longer internship program.
Core Classes in an Accredited Program
The administrative office procedure class will provide students with the skills and knowledge necessary in order to work in an administrative position in a healthcare setting. A student will learn how to operate office technology, provide basic office management support, utilize basic word processing software programs, file medical records and obtain knowledge of legal and more issues that surround the medical industry.
The medical terminology class will involve studying the basic elements contained in medical terminology, such as suffixes, prefixes and root words, in order to learn how to define and interpret medical terms and words. In addition, the classwork will also cover the structure and pronunciation of words relating to common functions and abbreviations used to diagnose clinical procedures and oncology.
The health care law and ethics class will provide a more in-depth look at the study of the legal and ethical principles in the healthcare system. A student will become familiar with legal documents and medical forms that are used in the medical profession.
The exam room procedures class will teach students how to perform standard clinical exam room procedures. During the class a student will be trained to assist medical personnel with treatment and exams by preparing patients for the exam, updating medical records and checking vital signs. Additional topics in this class will include assisting nurses and doctors during an exam, how to educate patients and administer medication.
The clinical portion of the program will provide students with the opportunity to work in a real medical facility, under the supervision of certified medical assistants and physicians. The topics covered in a clinical rotation will generally be concurrent with the material that’s taught in class. A student will gain hands on experience in conducting medical exams, basic lab procedures and how to work as a member of a healthcare team. The length of the clinical rotations course will depend on whether a student is enrolled in a certificate or degree program.