The Medical Assistant program is designed to prepare men and women to function as members of the health care delivery team and perform administrative and clinical procedures. This most often occurs in ambulatory settings such as medical offices and clinics.
NIACC’s classrooms include the latest in computers, office, and laboratory equipment. The NIACC Medical Assistant Diploma program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org), 9355 113th Street N., #7709, Seminole, FL. 33775 (phone: (727) 210-2350), upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) of the American Association of Medical Assistants Endowment (AAMAE). The NIACC Medical Assistant program for the 2020 graduates boasts a job placement rate of 80%.
Students are encouraged to meet with the counselor prior to program enrollment to arrange for assessment in keyboarding, reading, writing, and math to determine if additional course work is required to promote success. Keyboarding competency at a rate of 35 or more words a minute with 3 or fewer errors on a 3-minute timed writing is recommended. A preadmission test will be administered to assist in eligibility to the program. Basic Life Support (BLS) certification is required upon acceptance to the program. A physical examination providing evidence of current immunization and sound physical and mental health is also required prior to Clinical Procedures I. Criminal background checks and adult/dependent/child abuse checks will be required. Drug testing may also be required by individual agencies. Results of these checks will be used by contracted clinical facilities to determine clinical eligibility. Costs for requirements will be the responsibility of the student.
Students must attain a grade point average of 2.00 (C) in program courses to proceed to the practicum. (A minimum grade of C- is allowed in Medical Office Procedures, Clinical Procedures I and II, Body Structure and Function (or Anatomy and Physiology I and II), and a minimum grade of C is required in Medical Terminology I and II.)* All first term courses must be successfully completed as stated above prior to entering into the second term. In addition, students must meet all course requirements prior to beginning the practicum. The student may be required to travel a distance for the practicum. Practicums are randomly assigned to the student and available sites are dependent on the permission of the specific agency. No remuneration is provided during the practicum experience.
Further information regarding progression in the program and specific program policies is provided to the MA student in the individual program handbook. Students are provided this handbook during the first MA class day. Students are referred to this handbook throughout the program.
Learn more about the Medical Assistant Partner Program with MercyOne North Iowa Medical Center.
Eligible for the Future Ready Iowa Last Dollar Scholarship.
Medical Assistant is one of the nation’s fastest growing careers through 2018, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This can be attributed to a predicted surge in the 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.
Administrative duties include scheduling and receiving patients, preparing and maintaining medical records, performing basic secretarial skills and medical transcription, handling telephone calls, writing correspondence, serving as liaison between the physician and other individuals, and managing practice finances.
Clinical duties include asepsis and infection control, taking patient histories and vital signs, performing first aid and CPR, preparing patients for procedures, assisting the physician with examinations and treatments, collecting and processing specimens, performing selected diagnostic tests, and preparing and administering medications as directed by the physician.
Medical Assistants work in offices for:
Medical Assistants work with:
- Medical equipment such as x-ray and EKG machines
- Lab samples and equipment
- Telephones, computers, and other office equipment
- Patient medical records
- Insurance forms and other papers
Upon successful completion of the Medical Assistant curriculum with a grade point average of 2.00 (C) or higher and a minimum overall cumulative college grade point average of 2.00 (C), the student is awarded a Diploma. In addition, the student is eligible for the national certification examination to become a CMA-AAMA (Certified Medical Assistant). Certification requires identification with a social security number and government issued identification.
Beginning with the January 2001 administration of the Certification Examination, a student with a felony record may not be eligible for Certification Examination unless the AAMA Certifying Board grants a waiver based on one or more of the mitigating circumstances listed in the Disciplinary Standards. The student can verify certification eligibility prior to entering the program by contacting the AAMA Certifying Board at the following address: AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants), 20 North Wacker Drive, Ste. 1575, Chicago, IL 60606-2903.
In accordance with the Iowa Core Performance Standards for Health Programs, developed by Iowa Community College Health leaders and the Medical Assisting standards, NIACC’s technical standards are as follows:
Every student in the Medical Assistant diploma program must possess the physical, mental, and emotional capabilities required to successfully complete the program and gain employment in the field.
These are the technical and health standards for the Medical Assistant program. All MA students must be capable of meeting these standards with or without reasonable accommodation.
The prospective medical assistant student must possess sufficient strength, motor coordination, and manual dexterity to:
- Assist patients on and off the examination table, assisting them in various positions.
- Perform finite motor skills.
- Move equipment, examination tables, chairs, and assist in lifting patients.
- Walk and/or stand for extended periods of time.
The prospective medical assistant student must:
- Possess sufficient eye/hand coordination skills related to reading charts, using medical supplies and instruments and documenting in an electronic/paper health record.
- Be able to use senses (vision, hearing, smell, and touch) to recognize changes in patient conditions and needs.
- Be able to hear, understand, and react quickly to verbal instructions and patient needs.
- Be able to perform EKG procedures according to established standards.
- Be able to prepare and administer injections and perform venipunctures.
- Be able to perform vital signs for all patients.
- Be able to perform CPR.
- Wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and gloves for extended periods of time.
The prospective medical assistant student must be able to consistently demonstrate emotional, mental, and physical health in order to:
- Meet the demands of the position including handling stressful situations related to technical and procedural standards and patient care situations.
- Exhibit social skills necessary to interact effectively and respectfully with patients, families, supervisors, and coworkers of the same or different cultures.
- Maintain composure while managing multiple tasks simultaneously.
- Maintain personal hygiene consistent with close personal contact associated with patient care.
- Carry out all assigned duties.
The prospective medical assistant student must demonstrate effective communication skills in order to:
- Communicate clearly in English with patients, family members, and medical staff.
- Elicit accurate information from patients, family members, and medical staff.
- Utilize professional medical terms when documenting a patient’s electronic health record.
Applicants to the Medical Assistant Technology Program are responsible for determining their own eligibility in light of these qualifications, for informing the college of any potential problem areas, and for notifying the Disability Services Department to discuss potential accommodation requests. Students with disabilities who enter the program do so with the understanding that they will be expected to meet course requirements with any reasonable accommodations that may be provided by the college.
Crisis Response Statement
During a time of crisis, NIACC reserves the right to transition any individual course, academic semester portion of a course, or portion of any academic semester to an alternative mode of delivery including virtual delivery, hybrid, or online. As circumstances around a crisis unfold, NIACC reserves the right to transition any individual course, academic semester, portion of a course, or portion of an academic semester back to 100% roster capacity and class time in the face-to-face classroom.
MA Occupational Risks
Medical Assisting is a profession with many rewards, as practitioners can perform both administrative and clinical services, filling several roles in a variety of healthcare environments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics clearly outlines that it is a growth field, with an anticipated 18% growth from 2020 to 2030.
Medical Assistants work directly with providers and patients, with the goal of providing healthcare and ensuring patient safety. It is a position with a great deal of responsibility.
As with any healthcare position, there are certain occupational risks that come into play with being a medical assistant, and those hazards include the following:
- Exposure to infectious diseases
- Sharps injuries
- Bloodborne pathogens and biological hazards
- Chemical and drug exposure
- Ergonomic hazards from lifting, sitting, and repetitive tasks
- Latex allergies
At the same time, there are protections set up with the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and those protections are particularly important within a healthcare environment. OSHA has a series of standards that protect the safety of healthcare workers and patients.
Accredited medical assisting programs are required to teach students about the hazards that they face on the job and the protocols that can be put into place to ensure a workplace culture that prioritizes safety.