Jul 16, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog

Medical Assisting, A.A.S.

Location(s): North Campus

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Degree & Certificate Programs

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

Health Sciences Division

Pre-Admission Requirements: Successful completion of developmental English and math, college-level anatomy & physiology with lab, and medical terminology (or proficiency exam)
Career Opportunities/Further Education: Physician Offices and other Healthcare Facilities

Program Description

Medical assistants are multi-skilled health professionals specifically educated to work in a variety of healthcare settings performing clinical and administrative duties. The practice of medical assisting necessitates mastery of a complex body of knowledge and specialized skills requiring both formal education and practical experience that serve as standards for entry into the profession. These versatile allied health professionals perform the cognitive objectives, psychomotor competencies and affective behaviors as identified by the CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines and the MAERB Core Curriculum Competency Requirements for Medical Assisting Educational Programs in a variety of healthcare settings in the contemporary healthcare community.

Clinical medical assisting courses are conducted in our simulated on-campus medical assisting skills laboratory classroom, equipped with modern supplies and equipment that mirrors the contemporary healthcare environment to provide instruction, demonstration and competency evaluations that assess student learning. Although clinical duties may vary by healthcare facility and depending on what is allowed by state laws, instruction ranges from recording medical histories and vital signs to preparing patients for examinations and assisting physicians during patient assessments. Students are also prepared to collect laboratory specimens and perform CLIA-waived hematology, chemistry, urinalysis, immunology and microbiology tests, properly dispose of bio-hazardous material and medical sharps waste and sterilize medical instruments. Other clinical skills include phlebotomy and capillary punctures, electrocardiography, spirometry, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and basic first aid procedures. Medical Assisting students also complete training in Blood Borne Pathogens and Infection Control, Laboratory Safety, and HIPAA and OSHA compliance.

The administrative portion of this program focuses on building a professional vocabulary of medical terminology, and understanding medical law and ethics for healthcare professionals, including healthcare competency, equity, cultural competence and patient navigator concepts. Additionally, a foundation is built for navigating the MEDENT Electronic Health Record (EHR) Practice Management System to learn the standards and features of an EHR system, appointment scheduling, administrative and financial processes for the medical practice, physician office coding and reimbursement procedures including ICD-10-CM, CPT, HCPCS II, managed care, revenue cycles and remittance advices.

In their final semester of the Medical Assisting AAS degree program at SUNY Erie Community College, students participate in an assigned, supervised Practicum Experience* of at least 160 contact hours of applied learning activities observing and/or performing the clinical and administrative skills acquired throughout the duration of the program in a practical application setting, bridging the gap between student and allied healthcare professional and providing an opportunity for professional interaction with other members of the healthcare team. Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from individually assigned off-campus externship site locations.

Upon successful program completion, graduates earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree and apply to take the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) national certification examination and graduates passing this Certified Medical Assistant examination may use the credential CMA (AAMA)®.

In addition to being accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the CMA (AAMA)® Certification Program is accredited by the International Accreditation Service (IAS), making the CMA (AAMA)® Certification Program one of ten (10) healthcare certifications and the only medical assisting certification program with international recognition. Many graduates of the Medical Assisting AAS Program are employed by their host site upon completion of their Practicum Experience, while other healthcare facilities upon or soon after graduation.

In addition to coursework and externship experiences designed to build clinical and administrative skills specific to medical assisting, the program curricula includes general education core courses in basic communication, English, humanities, mathematics, natural and social science, and equips students with 28 General Education credits, a broad base of information and the necessary skill set to successfully continue their education in a related allied health field and/or apply credits toward another degree.

The goal of the Medical Assisting AAS program is to prepare medical assistants who are competent in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains to enter the profession. Through participation in various classroom, laboratory and externship experiences, students are able to demonstrate competency in program objectives through project-based assessments, competency evaluations, assignments, quizzes, tests and exams that map to required CAAHEP and MAERB standards and requirements and include variations of questions commonly asked on the national CMA (AAMA) certification exam.

A career in Medical Assisting can provide personal fulfillment and build professional experience while working alongside physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, other medical assistants and various additional allied health professionals to become valued members of the allied healthcare team. Medical Assistants who prefer providing direct patient care may wish to pursue further education in nursing or other patient-facing healthcare careers, while those who prefer the administrative aspects of this field may seek to advance their career in health information management, health informatics and cybersecurity, or healthcare administration.

The evolving landscape of healthcare delivery has increased the demand for competent Certified Medical Assistants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 18% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations. On average, approximately 104,400 new medical assisting job openings are projected for each of the next ten years to replace workers who transfer to different occupations, exit the labor force and/or retire.

Admission Requirements

Admission Criteria include:

  • high school degree or HSE (High School Equivalency)

  • completion of all developmental English and math courses

  • completion of BI 147 and BI 148 (or equivalent courses) within the past 5 years achieving a minimum grade of C-

  • completion of MA 115 (or proficiency exam) achieving a minimum grade of C

  • minimum college GPA of 2.5 within the last 5 years (if applicable) OR minimum high school average of 85%


Students 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 clinical practices.

Off-Campus Participation

This program requires students to participate in college sponsored off-site activities. According to SUNY policy #3200 (Admissions of Persons with Prior Felony Convictions), SUNY Erie must inquire if a student has a prior felony conviction before the student can participate in any college sponsored off-site activity. Screening may be completed at tinyurl.com/ErieBoxedOut.

Note: Failure to complete this screening will affect the completion of the Medical Assisting program and a felony conviction may impede a student from completing degree requirements, such as the practicum experience component required for degree completion and the ability to sit for the CMA (AAMA) examination.

Department Notes

  • Lab coats must be worn and all safety protocol followed in all clinical and laboratory courses.

  • Students are responsible for providing transportation to off-campus clinical sites assigned for the practicum experience to observe and/or perform clinical and administrative skills for 160 hours in a practical setting.

  • 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 email the Department Chair at sylviab@ecc.edu to schedule an appointment to take the exam. 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

  • once accepted into the program, students must complete all Medical Assisting courses within a four-year time period

  • for graduation, students must have an overall GPA of 2.0 and a minimum grade of C in all Medical Assisting courses

  • upon completing all required coursework for the Medical Assisting program, students must apply for graduation at www.ecc.edu/graduate

  • earning an Associate of Applied Sciences Degree in Medical Assisting does not constitute certification

  • the issuance of an Associate of Applied Sciences Degree in Medical Assisting is not contingent upon passage of any external certification examination

  • graduates of the Medical Assisting Program are eligible to sit for the national Certified Medical Assistant examination sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants; upon passing the certification examination, students will hold the CMA (AAMA) credential

Technical Standards

Medical Assistants are patient-facing healthcare professionals, and in addition to presenting to the public in a courteous, pleasant and well-groomed manner to place patients at ease and explain physician instructions, they must also possess the physical and mental standards required to effectively accomplish the skills and behaviors needed to achieve the educational goals of the program.

Duties assigned to medical assistants require a reasonable level of physical strength, manual dexterity and visual acuity in order to successfully perform required competencies. Medical assistants are often called upon to multi-task and may have to handle several responsibilities at once.

In order for students to achieve the essential functions of the Medical Assisting profession, the Medical Assisting student must meet the following technical standards:

  • Visual Acuity: The Medical Assisting student must be able to read charts and graphs, discriminate colors, read instrument scales, observe microscopic materials and record results.

  • Speech and Hearing: The Medical Assisting student must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively in order to assess both verbal and non-verbal communication and share information with other members of the health care team.

  • Observation and Communication: The Medical Assisting student must possess the ability to communicate effectively and read, write and use the English language to communicate detailed information verbally and in writing with individual patients, families, visitors and other members of the healthcare team and complete required medico-legal documentation. Additionally, students must functionally use all senses: vision, touch, hearing, and smell which are essential in assessing patients and maintaining safety.

  • Sensory/ Motor Functions: The Medical Assisting student must possess the physical strength and stamina necessary to execute the clinical and administrative tasks delegated to medical assistants, such as obtaining and recording vital signs, manipulating instruments and equipment, preparing patients for physician examination, collecting specimens, performing clinical procedures such as phlebotomy or CLIA-waived laboratory tests, transferring patients, and responding to emergency situations.

  • Psychological Stability: The Medical Assisting student must demonstrate the emotional health required for full utilization of the applicant’s intellectual abilities. The student must be able to handle stress and take appropriate actions when emergency situations arise.

  • Affective Behaviors: In addition to meeting the safety and technical requirements of the program, Medical Assisting students must also possess emotional stability and flexibility to develop the ability to think critically, exercise sound judgment, function effectively in stressful situations, accept constructive criticism, adapt to change, maintain confidentiality, and demonstrate appropriate behavior toward patients and other members of the healthcare team

Occupational Risks

The occupational risks associated with working as a medical assistant include incidental exposure to blood-borne pathogens and biological hazards, ergonomic hazards from lifting, supporting and moving patients and repetitive tasks, and workplace violence.

Academic Grievance Process

Students can resolve grievances of academic decisions by following the processes outlined in the Student Grievance of Academic Decision Policy.


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

9355 - 113th Street North, #7709

Seminole FL 33775-7709



Health Science Division Student Health Report Form

The Commission on Accreditation of Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) accreditation guidelines require that a procedure be established for determining that the health status of an applicant or student will permit them to meet the essential physical functions and technical standards of the program without posing any public health threat to affiliated communities of interest.

In compliance with this provision, and in addition to the student health form needed for admission to the College retained in the Student Health Office, a separate Health Science Division Student Health Report Form is required of all applicants after acceptance to the program and prior to placement at college sponsored external clinical rotation experiences, including MA 223: MA Practicum Experience. The Health Science Division Student Health Report Form provides evidence of a recent medical examination, demonstrating that matriculating students are in good physical and mental health, capable of completing course requirements and have received the following required screening and immunizations:

  • most recent negative PDD (Purified Protein Derivative) Mantoux test (MUST be within a year)

*students with a history of positive TB exposure must have a negative chest x-ray within two years

  • COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2) Vaccination (MUST provide vaccine record with BOTH dates for two-dose series or date of single-dose vaccine and proof of booster within 30 days of eligibility)

  • BOTH dates for MMR (Measles (Rubeola), Mumps, Rubella); (or positive titer results)

  • BOTH dates for Varicella Vaccine (Chicken Pox); (or positive titer results)

  • date of most recent Tetanus Vaccine (MUST be within 10 years)

  • most recent Influenza Vaccine (MUST be within a year)

  • all THREE dates for Hepatitis B Vaccine (or positive titer results, or declination form)

All screening and immunization documentation must include the name of whom and address where the vaccine was ordered and/or administered as well as the date of vaccination.

Health Science Division Student Health Report Form completed in full and signed by a physician or other qualified representative of the physician office must be received by the instructor prior to the first day of class for MA 221. Only after all complete, signed Health Science Division Student Health Report Forms have been received, can placement at affiliated clinical rotation sites be requested or considered. Students who are not in compliance or who submit incomplete or otherwise unacceptable physical exam reports will not be eligible to participate in the Medical Assisting Practicum Experience and will not be eligible for graduation or certification.

Licensure Compliance Statement

The SUNY Erie Community College Medical Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB), and its curricula and program of study meets current CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines, MAERB Core Curriculum competency requirements, and has been approved by the State University of New York (SUNY) and New York State Education Department (NYSED) to award an Associate in Applied Science Degree (AAS) with a major in Medical Assisting. MAERB is a Committee on Accreditation (CoA) of the CAAHEP.

Upon successful program completion, graduates apply to take the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) national certification examination and graduates passing this Certified Medical Assistant exam may use the credential CMA (AAMA). In addition to being accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the CMA (AAMA) Certification Program is accredited by the International Accreditation Service (IAS), making the CMA (AAMA) Certification Program one of ten (10) healthcare certifications and the only medical assisting certification program with international recognition.

Program Competencies

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

  1. identify human body systems, recognizing their structure, function, organization, and common pathologies; especially as they relate to nutrition and medication administration;

  2. perform clinical skills, including anthropomorphic vital signs, specimen collection, CLIA-waived laboratory tests, medical asepsis, basic wound care and dressing changes, and other clinical procedures, including phlebotomy and capillary punctures, electrocardiography, pulmonary function testing, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic first aid procedures, proper biohazardous material and medical sharps waste disposal, standard precautions for bloodborne pathogens, and proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE);

  3. perform administrative skills, including EMR data entry and organization, appointment scheduling, insurance verification, accounts receivable procedures, patient account adjustments, day sheet preparation and end-of-day reconciliations and telehealth procedures;

  4. perform mathematical computations to solve pharmacological equations, calculate proper dosages, and convert units among measurement systems;

  5. identify and reply to verbal and nonverbal communication, recognize and overcome communication barriers, including those related to diversity, equity and inclusion relative to patient care, demonstrate professional telephone techniques, and compose office correspondence using appropriate medical terminology, correct grammar, usage and mechanics;

  6. identify attributes of revenue cycles as they relate to managed care, recognize third-party reimbursement procedures for patient referrals, precertification, prior authorization, insurance claims and remittance advices and perform current procedural and diagnostic coding (ICD-10-CM, CPT, HCPCS II), using medical necessity guidelines;

  7. identify scope of practice, standard of care, licensure and certification, healthcare regulations, public health statutes, and criminal and civil law as they apply to medical assistants and use applied ethics theories to evaluate contemporary bioethical issues and their impact on the contemporary healthcare environment, recognizing social responsibility as it applies to healthcare and cultural competency in terms of literacy, equity, disparity and the role of the medical assistant as patient navigator; and

  8. demonstrate competency in the cognitive objectives, psychomotor competencies and affective behaviors necessary to enter the medical assisting profession and apply appropriate knowledge, skills and abilities consistent with acceptable professional conduct standards while performing clinical and administrative medical assisting procedures, including quality assurance practices in healthcare.

Medical Assisting Program Outcomes

Certification and Licensure Rates are found on the program’s website page.


SUNY Erie offers scholarship opportunities through its Foundation; a complete listing of scholarship opportunities can be found on the college website at www.ecc.edu/about/foundation/index.html.

Additional Medical Assisting Program scholarship information for the Maxine Williams (AAMA) and Dorothy Ross (NYSSMA) scholarships is available from full-time Medical Assisting Faculty members.


Total Degree Credits: 62.0


* Students will participate in supervised externships in approved physician offices, laboratory services or other healthcare facilities as part of MA 129 and MA 223 course requirements and are responsible for their own transportation to and from assigned off-campus externship hours at assigned SUNY Erie affiliated locations.

This is a recommended sequence; many courses have prerequisites and/or co-requisites, and students should consult their academic adviser prior to registering.​

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Academic Degree & Certificate Programs