Degree: Associate in Applied Science
HEGIS Code: 5214
Curriculum Code: 0602
Campus Location: North
Health Sciences Division
Pre-Admission Recommendations: Required 85% Average (High School), Biology, Keyboarding
Career Opportunities/Further Education: Physicians' Offices and Medical Health Care Facilities
Rapid changes in health care delivery have increased the demand for competent medical assistants. Graduates of the Medical Assisting curriculum are prepared for employment in a variety of medical and health care settings. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner's specialty. In small practices, medical assistants usually do many different kinds of tasks, handling both administrative and clinical duties and reporting directly to an office manager, physician, or other health practitioner. Those in large practices tend to specialize in a particular area, under the supervision of department administrators.
Medical assistants perform administrative tasks which may include updating and filing patients' medical records and filling out insurance forms. They also perform tasks less specific to medical settings, such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments and handling billing and insurance reimbursement.
Medical assistants also perform clinical duties which may vary according to what is allowed by state law. Some common tasks include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, preparing patients for examinations and assisting physicians during examinations. Medical assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies and sterilize medical instruments. They might draw blood, perform electrocardiograms, remove sutures and change dressings. Medical assistants also may arrange examining room instruments/equipment and purchase/maintain supplies and equipment.
The goal of this program is to produce graduates who possess the necessary knowledge of contemporary medical office practices and the skills to be an efficient medical assistant. Through a series of specialized courses, laboratory work and practical field experience, students acquire the competencies and standards of proficiency which are required for certification by the American Association of Medical Assistants. The program also provides a broad base of information which allows graduates to successfully continue their education in a related medical field.
This curriculum includes a 20.5 credit hour core of liberal arts, social science and science courses chosen from the areas of anatomy/physiology, microbiology, social science and English. The remainder of the coursework has been designed to build clinical and administrative skills. Lectures help students build a professional vocabulary of medical terminology and teach medical law and ethics for health care professionals, basic medical assisting theory and concepts. College laboratories are well-equipped with modern instrumentation to allow students extensive and varied training in a simulated office setting. Students learn clinical office assisting techniques and clinical diagnostic procedures on campus. Computers are used by the students in these laboratories for patient data recording and for retrieval of patient data. In office management and administration courses, computers are used for the word processing of written communications and for office billing procedures. Courses in medical transcription, medical coding and reimbursement provide additional useful skills. In the final semester, students participate in an off-campus supervised practicum. Each student is assigned to an approved physician's office for additional training for a minimum of 160 clock hours. Students shall not receive pay for the practicum experience.
Upon successful program completion, graduates may apply to take the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) national certification examination. Graduates passing this Certified Medical Assistant examination may use the credential CMA (AAMA).
Many graduates of the Medical Assisting Program immediately assume positions as medical assistants in private doctors' offices. Others work in various health care facilities. Graduates may continue their education for one additional semester at ECC in the Health Information Technology Program and obtain a dual degree and credentials in the area of (HIT) Health Information Technology. Students may then transfer to a four-year institution to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in HIT.
Admission Criteria includes:
- high school degree or GED;
- overall high school average of 85% within the last five years;
- an 85% final grade in high school general biology OR completion of Biology 147 achieving a minimal grade of "C-" within the last 5 years;
- a minimum placement test result at the Math 013 and English 110 level;
- a minimum college GPA of 2.5 within the last 5 years;
- completion of all required developmental English courses; and
- completion of developmental math course MT 006.
The student must maintain a minimum grade of "C" in all Medical Assisting (MA) courses. The student must receive a passing grade in all other coursework (BI, EG, EN, MR, PS).
All courses may be repeated only once if minimal grades are not attained or if the student has withdrawn (W) from the course.
A second failure in a repeated course (a grade below a "C" in MA courses; failing grade "F" in all other courses) or a second withdrawal (W) from that course will result in dismissal from the Medical Assisting Program. Because of the critical nature of the profession, deviations from professional conduct may adversely affect the patient's well-being. Therefore, the department reserves the right to immediately remove the student from didactic, laboratory and clinical course work and/or dismiss that student from the program if the department determines that the student has acted in an unprofessional manner or if the student is unable to provide safe laboratory practices.
MA courses are integrated and sequenced in a specific manner to enable students to attain program competencies.
- Lab coats must be worn and all safety protocol followed in all clinical office courses.
- Students are responsible for providing transportation to off-campus office practicum sites utilized for medical office training.
- Student accident insurance is available and highly recommended for part-time students.
- Students must complete all MA courses within a four year limit.
- For graduation, students must have an overall GPA of 2.0 and a minimum grade of "C" in MA courses.
Graduates of the MA Program are eligible to sit for the American Association of Medical Assistant Certified Medical Assistant Board Examination.
Medical assistants deal with the public; therefore, they must be neat, well groomed and have a courteous, pleasant manner and they must be able to put patients at ease and explain physicians' instructions. They must respect the confidential nature of medical information. Clinical and Administrative duties require a reasonable level of physical strength, manual dexterity and visual acuity in order to successfully perform required competencies. Medical assistants may have to handle several responsibilities at once.
SUNY Erie Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the unit of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities in the Middle States Region, which includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. MSCHE is located at 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, Phone (267) 284-500. The curricula of ECC are approved by the State University of New York (SUNY) and are registered by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED).
The Medical Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB).
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
1361 Park street
Clearwater, FL 33756
Health Science Report Form:
A physical examination including an immunization report is required to be submitted to ensure that matriculated students are in good physical and mental health and capable of completing the program requirements as well as providing immunization records. The immunization report strongly recommends that students entering the MA Program receive immunization against Hepatitis B. Students need to be tested annually for TB and must have a tetanus vaccination within the last 10 years. MA students must be compliant with the college immunization requirements as well. The department requires that this specific health information be on file before students complete MA 126 coursework. The immunization record is required to be current in order for the student to participate in an office practicum. The college reserves the right to deny progression in the MA Program when students have incomplete or unacceptable physical exam reports.
Upon graduation with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Medical Assisting, the graduate will be able to:
- demonstrate good telephone techniques and skills;
- act as receptionist and public relations liaison;
- handle incoming and outgoing correspondence;
- schedule appointments, meetings, surgeries and hospital admissions;
- maintain patient records and files;
- accurately complete insurance forms and reports;
- maintain records of accounts receivable/payable;
- handle emergencies;
- assist physician with patient procedures;
- participate in patient education;
- demonstrate proper sterilization/disinfection techniques;
- demonstrate skill in basic laboratory techniques;
- perform administrative duties;
- perform clinical duties;
- maintain an inventory of medical supplies and office supplies;
- use computer skills in performing administrative and clinical duties; and
- demonstrate behavior consistent with acceptable professional conduct standards, such as appearance, quality of work, quantity of work, human relation skills, leadership skills, written and verbal communications skills.
Information regarding scholarships is on file in the MA Department Office B613 and also is available through the ECC Foundation Office at (716) 851-1990 or at http://www.ecc-foundation.com/scholarships-fund.
Total Degree Credits: 66.5