Moraine Valley Community College || Health Sciences || Medical Assistant

Medical Assistant—FAQs

Can I Transfer In?
At present, Moraine Valley Community College does not accept Medical Office Assistant transfer credit.

Where do medical assistants work?
Medical assistants may be employed in physicians' offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, occupational health centers, long-term care facilities, and offices of other practitioners such as chiropractors.

How long can I take to complete the program?
Of course, the faculty is committed to students' successful completion of the program and would like students to progress to completion as efficiently as possible. Because several of these courses develop clinical skills, the courses must be completed in a finite time frame. Therefore, students must complete the following courses within a 12-month timeframe or less: MOA-115, MOA-144, MOA-147, MOA-155, and MOA-156. The medical assistant externship (MOA 155) must be completed within one semester of completing MOA 147. MOA 155 must be completed within one year of completing MOA-115 and MOA-144.

What may be my salary?
In 2012 the mean annual salary for medical assistants in Illinois was $29,370 - Resource: Bureau of Labor Statistic, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012 Edition, Medical Assistants. Of course, salary is commensurate with skills and experience.

How does my future look in the job market?
Employment is projected to grow much faster than average, ranking medical assistants among the fastest growing occupations over the 2012-22 decade. Job opportunities should be excellent, particularly for those with formal training or experience, and certification.

Employment change. Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 29 percent by 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the healthcare industry expands because of technological advances in medicine and the growth and aging of the population, there will be an increased need for all healthcare workers. The increasing prevalence of certain conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, also will increase demand for healthcare services and medical assistants. Increasing use of medical assistants to allow doctors to care for more patients will further stimulate job growth.

Helping to drive job growth is the increasing number of group practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities that need a high proportion of support personnel, particularly medical assistants who can handle both administrative and clinical duties. In addition, medical assistants work mostly in primary care, a consistently growing sector of the healthcare industry.

Job prospects. Jobseekers who want to work as a medical assistant should find excellent job prospects. Medical assistants are projected to account for a very large number of new jobs, and many other opportunities will come from the need to replace workers leaving the occupation. Medical assistants with formal training or experience-particularly those with certification-should have the best job opportunities, since employers generally prefer to hire these workers. (Retrieved 01/01/11)

How will I practice my skills as a student?
Courses taught on campus will provide hands-on experience in the classroom and lab. In addition, students will complete 160 hours of an unpaid clinical externship at an affiliated ambulatory health care center. Clinical personnel will supervise student learning. Students will be apprised of the available clinical assignments and efforts will be made to accommodate requests. However, the ultimate decision for clinical assignments rests with the Program coordinators.

Can I work full time while attending classes?
If you are planning on a full-time course schedule it would be very difficult to work full time. However, you can take classes on a part-time basis. Students in the Medical Assistant Program are required to achieve a minimum grade of "C" in all prerequisite and required courses in order to progress within the Medical assistant Program. The number of hours spent in the classroom and amount of study time required outside class time is considerable to review and practice concepts. Students should plan to spend approximately 2 hours at home studying, reviewing and preparing assignments for every hour spent in class. The 160 unpaid Medical Assistant Externship must be completed on a full time basis.

Do I need a physical exam?
Yes, you will need a completed health history and physical examination form signed by a licensed physician. In addition you will need proof of required immunizations. Student History and Physical Forms will be distributed the semester before you begin your externship. Also, proof of health insurance will be required at this time.

Do I need a drug screen?
Yes, in order to comply with clinical affiliation requirements, students will be asked to submit a sample for drug screening prior to the start of externship. Positive drug screen results will prohibit a student from being placed in a clinical site.

Do I need a Criminal Background Check?
In order to comply with certain state statutes and/or clinical affiliation agreements, students will be asked to complete a criminal background check. Application forms for criminal background checks may be obtained through the Career Programs Subdivision Office (B150). For information on criminal background application procedures, please contact the Career Programs Subdivision Office at (708) 974-5708.

Do I need a CPR card?
A valid CPR Healthcare Provider card will be required prior to your externship assignment. Your instructor will provide you with a number of resources where you may obtain CPR training for healthcare providers, including resources available through Moraine Valley's Workforce Development Department. The Moraine Valley course number is AH8-039. Students are financially responsible for the CPR training required. For more information on CPR for healthcare providers, contact Aurora Zwick, Workforce Development, at (708) 974-5735.

Do I need to pass a certification exam before I can be employed?
Graduates may be employed without having formal credentials. However, the trend is toward certification and students are strongly urged to challenge a certification exam following graduation.

How do I become certified as a medical assistant?
Currently, graduates of the program are eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant certification examination through the American Association of Medical assistants. Information about this organization can be obtained from their Web site

In addition, the Registered Medical Assistant certification exam can also be challenged through the American Medical Technologists. Information about this organization can be obtained at