Nov 30, 2022  
Spring 2020 Catalog 
Spring 2020 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Medical Assisting, A.A.S.

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Degree: Associate in Applied Science
HEGIS Code: 5214
Curriculum Code: 1967
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


Program Description

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, 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 practicum 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 , specifically, courses such as anatomy/physiology, clinical microbiology, psychology, math of dosage, 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. If a student is not in compliance with a requirement of the site, it is not the department’s responsibility to re-assign the student.

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.

Admission Requirements

        Admission Criteria include:

  • high school degree or HSE (High School Equivalency);
  • 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 college GPA of 2.5 within the last 5 years;
  • completion of all developmental English and math courses


The student must maintain a minimum grade of “C” in all Medical Assisting (MA) courses and a minimum grade of “C-” in all other required courses. 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; or grade below a “C-” in all other required courses), or a second withdrawal (W) from that course will result in dismissal from the Medical Assisting Program.

All courses may be repeated only once. 

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.

Note: A felony conviction may impede a student from completing degree requirements, such as practicum required for degree completion, the ability to sit for the AAMA CMA examination and attaining the AAMA CMA credential. Failure to meet requirements from the medical offices may also preclude completion of the program.

Department Notes

  • 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 who have previously taken a medical terminology course at another institution or who have had experience working in the medical field, may elect to schedule a proficiency test to obtain credit for Medical Terminology I (MA 115) and/or Medical Terminology II (MA 125).  Upon successful passing of the Medical Terminology I (MA 115) proficiency test, the student may elect to take the Medical Terminology II (MA 125) proficiency test. Any interested student should call the department secretary at 716-851-1554 to schedule an appointment to take the test.           Note: Students MUST take the proficiency tests PRIOR to attending the respective courses.

  • MA courses are integrated and sequenced in a specific manner to enable students to attain program competencies.

Graduation Requirements

  • 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.

Essential Functions

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, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The curricula of SUNY Erie 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 ( upon the recommendation of Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

25400 US Highway 19 N Ste 158

Clearwater, FL 33763


CAAHEP accreditation guidelines require that a procedure be established for determining that the applicants’ or students’ health will permit them to meet the technical standards of the program. In compliance with this provision, a medical health examination is required of all applicants after acceptance to the program. Medical office affiliates require that this health information be current and on file before students are placed for their medical office practicum experiences.

Health Science Report Form:

A Health Science Health Report Form is required to be submitted to ensure that students are in good physical and mental health and capable of completing the program requirements. In compliance with this provision, a physical examination and specific immunization records are required of all students prior to acceptance into the program. In addition to the college immunization requirements, the SUNY system highly recommends that students handling fluids that have been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as directly linked to the transmission of HBV or HIV (blood, blood products, body fluids, etc.)be vaccinated against Hepatitis B. Students need to be tested annually for TB (PPD test) and must have a tetanus vaccination within the last 10 years. Students must also have documentation of either a history of Varicella (chicken pox); two dates of VZV immunizations; or VZV titer results. The MA department requires that this specific health information be on file before students complete MA 126 coursework. Furthermore, the NYS Department of Health mandates that all students participating at practicum sites receive the Influenza vaccine or, if declined, the students must wear a mask during office practicum rotations.

Note: The immunization record is required to be current in order for the student to participate in an off-site practicum. The college reserves the right to deny progression in the MA Program when students have incomplete or unacceptable physical exam reports.

Program Competencies

Upon graduation with an Associate in Applied Science degree in Medical Assisting, the graduate will be able to:

  • perform administrative duties; such as handling incoming and outgoing correspondence, demonstrating good telephone techniques, acting as a receptionist and public relations liaison;
  • schedule appointments, meetings, surgeries and hospital admissions, and maintain records of Accounts Receivable/Payable;
  • maintain an inventory of medical and office supplies;
  • perform clinical duties; such as assisting physician with patient procedures, participating in patient education, and demonstrating proper sterilization/disinfection techniques;
  • demonstrate skill in basic laboratory techniques;
  • demonstrate behavior consistent with acceptable professional conduct standards while performing administrative and clinical duties; such as appearance, quality of work, quantity of work, human relation skills, leadership skills, computer skills, and written and verbal communications skills; and
  • perform skills for choking, as well as, simple airway maneuvers, CPR/defibrillation, bleeding control, bandaging, and splinting.

Program Effectiveness:

An Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree is granted to each student who successfully completes all coursework and the MA practicum experience. Upon graduation from the program, an individual is eligible to apply for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants) Certification examination.

MA (CMA) Certification Examination Outcomes

The Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) has established > 60% as the passing outcome threshold for the CMA examination. The chart below reflects the SUNY Erie MA (CMA) Examination outcome results for 2013-2017. Each year, from 2013-2017, the SUNY Erie CMA Examination Pass Rate is above the MAERB threshold. Furthermore, the three-year average SUNY Erie CMA Examination pass rate is 85% which is well above the 60% MAERB passing outcome threshold.



Total # Who Took an Exam Total # Passing CMA (AAMA)


CMA Exam Pass Rates


6 6 100%


4 4



24 19



14 13



22 17 77.3%
Total 70 59 84.3%
    Threshold 60%


MA Job Placement Outcomes

As of 2019, Positive job placement rates reflect the number of MA graduates employed as an MA or in a related field based on Calendar Year of Graduation. The Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) has established > 60% as the job placement outcome threshold for all CAAHEP-accredited Medical Assisting Programs. The chart below reflects the SUNY Erie MA Graduate Job Placement Rate for 2018 at 75% which exceeds this threshold.

Calendar Year
of Graduation
Total Number
of SUNY Erie
MA Graduates
Number of SUNY Erie MA Grads Employed in as a Medical Assistant or in a related field Number of SUNY Erie MA Grads who continued their education or
enlisted in the military
Number of SUNY Erie MA Grads whose job status is unknown Positive
2018 8 6 0 2 75%
        MAERB Threshold: 60%


MA Job Placement Outcomes

Prior to 2019, positive job placement rates reflected the number of MA graduates employed as an MA or in a related field based on Calendar Year of Admission. Positive job placement rates reflect the number of MA graduates employed as an MA or in a related field. The Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) has established > 60% as the job placement outcome threshold for all CAAHEP-accredited Medical Assisting Programs. The chart below reflects the SUNY Erie MA Graduate Job placement rate. The four-year average rate for SUNY Erie MA Graduate Job Placement from 2014-2017 is 78.6% which exceeds the MAERB threshold.

Calendar Year Admitted

Total Number of SUNY Erie MA Graduates

Number of SUNY Erie MA Positive Placements

Number of SUNY Erie MA Grads Employed in as a Medical Assistant or in a related field

SUNY Erie MA Graduate Placement Rate


8 7 5 87.50%

















78 60 56


      Threshold 60%



Information regarding scholarships is on file in the MA Department Office B613 and also is available through the SUNY Erie Foundation Office at (716) 851-1990 or at


Total Degree Credits: 60

Second Year, Second Semester


* Students will work under supervision in an approved physician’s office or health care facility as part of the course requirement. Students shall not receive pay for the externship experience.

NOTE: This is a recommended sequence. Many courses have prerequisites and/or co-requisites. Student should consult his/her academic adviser prior to registering.

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