The Medical Assistant Certificate Program prepares its graduates to begin careers as members of a multi- disciplinary health care team within an ambulatory care setting. Students develop skills in accordance with the American Association of Medical Assistants entry-level competencies in order to perform administrative and clinical procedures. Additionally, the program will instill a code of professional ethics coupled with a foundation in skills that are needed to assist physicians in caring for patients. The program is intended to lead to employment. Medical assistant positions are available as full or part time opportunities. Graduates are eligible to take a national certification exam upon course and externship completion.
Nature of Work—Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors and other health care practitioners running smoothly. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office depending on the size, location and the practitioner's specialty. In small practices, medical assistants usually are generalists, 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. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, greeting clients, maintaining medical records, coding and filling out insurance forms, arranging for diagnostic testing and referrals, handling correspondence, and performing billing and bookkeeping procedures and using computer applications.
Clinical duties vary by state. They may include conducting medical histories, explaining treatment procedures, preparing clients for examinations and assisting the physician during the exam. Medical assistants may also collect and prepare laboratory specimens for testing and may also perform waived laboratory testing. They instruct clients about medication and diets, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy as directed, take electrocardiograms, and change dressings.
Medical assistants help patients to feel at ease in the doctor's office and to understand physicians' instructions. They respect the confidential nature of medical information and promote patient privacy.
Employment Outlook—Medical assisting is expected to grow 31% from 2010-2020, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment growth will be driven by the increased number of physicians’ offices and outpatient care facilities. Technological advancements and the growing number of elderly Americans who need medical treatment are also factors for the increased demand for medical assistants. The earnings of medical assistants vary depending on their experience, skill level, and location. Median annual wages of wage-and-salary medical assistants were $30,170 in May 2011. The middle 50 percent earned between $24,670 and $35,000. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $20,880, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $40,810. Resources: Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Association of Medical Assistants website, 2010-2011 www.bls.gov/oco (Medical Assistant)
The median salary in Chicago for medical assistants is $31,817. Salaries range between $26,401 to $37,505. Source: Salary.com.
Students must achieve a minimum grade of "C" in all prerequisite and required courses in order to advance within the program.
Gainful Employment Information—The college provides information about the number of semesters and expected costs to complete this program, as well as the current job outlook. Visit morainevalley.edu/programs/employment.htm.