Medical Assistant

Ms. Tracie Fuqua, Program Director

256.352.8321

tracie.fuqua@wallacestate.edu

Certificate (3 Semesters)

Associate in Applied Science Degree (4 semesters)

At a Glance

Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 18 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Medical Assistants are multi-skilled health professionals specifically educated to work in ambulatory setting performing administrative and clinical duties. The practice of medical assisting directly influences the public’s health and well-being, and requires 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.

Program Description

The Medical Assistant curriculum covers administrative duties including scheduling and receiving patients, preparing and maintaining medical records, performing secretarial skills, handling telephone calls and writing correspondence, serving as a liaison between the physician and other individuals, and managing practice finances. Clinical duties include preparing the patient for examination, taking patient histories and vital signs, performing first-aid and CPR, assisting the physician with examinations and treatments, performing routine laboratory procedures and diagnostic tests, preparing and administering medications as directed by the physician, and performing electrocardiograms and basic radiography (associate degree option includes basic radiography). The Medical Assistant curriculum is an integrated program of study. General education courses and Medical Assistant classes may be taken at the same time. 

The Wallace State Community College-Hanceville Medical Assisting Certificate Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, 9355 113 St. North, #7709, Seminole, FL 33775, (727) 210-2350. Graduates will be able to sit for the national certification examination for the Medical Assistant administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants Certification Board or the Registered Medical Assistant Examination administered by the American Medical Technologist in addition to other Medical Assistant credentialing examinations. AAMA Disciplinary Standards state that if a person is found guilty of a felony or has pled guilty to a felony, the individual will be ineligible to sit for the Certification Examination. The certifying board may grant a waiver based upon mitigating circumstances. After successful completion of the AAMA exam, the individual will be a Certified Medical Assistant CMA (AAMA).

The 2020 Medical Assistant graduates have a job placement rate of 95%.   

Retention for the August 2019 admission cohort is 81.82%. The job placement rate for the 2019 graduates is 93%. The credentialing exam pass rate for the 2019 graduates is 80%.

The five-year retention rate for the Wallace State Community College Medical Assistant program is 80%. The three-year employer and graduate satisfaction is 100%. The five-year combined pass rate for the students who graduated from the program on the Certified Medical Assistant Examination administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants and the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Exam (CCMA) administered by the National Healthcareer Association is 80%. This includes all graduates, including those who sat for an examination more than one time.

Goals and Objectives

  1. To prepare competent entry-level medical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge), psycho motor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains. 
  2. To prepare the student to work in a physician’s office or medical clinic where they can successfully utilize administrative and clinical skills and techniques. 
  3. To teach the student to be professional at all times.
  4. To teach the student in a manner that is applicable to “practical” work situations and encourage the development of critical thinking skills.
  5. To teach the student appropriate knowledge and attitudes concerning the legal and ethical responsibilities of the profession. 
  6. To teach the student how to function as a valuable member of the health care team.
  7. To encourage all students to sit for a nationally recognized credential such as the CMA (AAMA) or RMA.
  8. To encourage continuing education so the student will be aware of continuous changes in the health care field.

The Medical Assistant Program offers two alternatives for a student’s completion of classes: (NOTE: Actual program completion time may vary). 

  1. Three (3) Semester Certificate option: A student will matriculate through the program taking MAT courses and required general education classes required for the certificate option in 3 semesters. 
  2. Four (4) Semesters, Associate Degree program: Students will complete the Certificate option and then attend an additional semester to complete the other required classes for the Associate Degree. 

The Medical Assistant Program offers online/hybrid courses. 

Laboratory hours of all MAT classes must be completed on campus. Laboratory section assignments will be made based on space availability and may be day, afternoon, or evening. While lab section assignments are random, every effort will be made to avoid lab assignments that will conflict with other courses in which the student is enrolled. As a part of the program, students will be required to sit for a national credentialing examination and will also be enrolled as members of Skills USA.

Students should indicate on the program application, the option that they would like to choose to complete their degree. 

Admission Requirements

  1. Unconditional admission to the college – College application must be submitted by the program application deadline. The MAT Program admits one time per year in fall (June 1 deadline). Applications are available beginning March 1st
  2. Student must be in good standing with the college.
  3. Receipt of complete program applications accepted between March 1 and June 1 for fall entry. Applications received after the deadline will be considered on a space available basis.
  4. The MAT program online applications are located on the program’s webpage at: https://www.wallacestate.edu/programs/health-division/medical-assistant/matcapplication
  5. Online application instructions are under the Application to Program tab. All applicants are required to upload all necessary documentation for consideration. 
  6. Official transcripts from each college attended must be provided to the Admissions Office and all unofficial transcripts must be uploaded.
  7. Student must meet the essential functions and technical standards required for the program as documented on the required WSCC physical form at www.wallacestate.edu-see Physical Form Essential Functions. 
  8. A minimum of 17 ACT composite score (National or Residual) is required for admission consideration. Proof of score must be uploaded.
  9. Must possess a minimum 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale for attempted general required program courses.

Selection and Notification

  1. The Medical Assistant Program admits one time per year in the fall. 
  2. Students are selected on the basis of completion of all program requirements prior to the deadline. If the number of qualified applicants exceeds the number of spaces available in the Medical Assistant program, the composite ACT score and GPA of general required program courses, equally weighted, will be used to rank applicants for admission.
  3. Program applications will be reviewed for completion of program admission requirements. Written notification of program acceptance status will be sent to each applicant via information supplied on the program application. 
  4. Following acceptance into the program, students must respond confirming their intent to enroll by using the internet link provided on their letter, by the deadline indicated on the letter. A student who fails to respond will forfeit his/her place in the class
  5. Students selected for acceptance should attend the mandatory orientation session. Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of their space in the class. 

Program Expectations

Students admitted into the Medical Assisting program are expected to comply with the Health Science Program Regulations and Expectations as published in the Programs of Study section of the Wallace State College Catalog.

Required Competencies

  1. Administrative competencies (perform clerical functions, perform bookkeeping procedures, process insurance claims)
  2. Clinical competencies (fundamental procedures, specimen collection, diagnostic testing, patient care)
  3. General competencies (professional communications, legal concepts, patient instruction, operational functions)
  4. A complete list of competencies (cognitive, psychomotor, and affective) is available in the MAT Student Handbook. 

Upon Admission

  1. Medical Assistant students are required to submit an annual physical examination form, including proof of Hepatitis B and other vaccinations by the designated deadline in order to be allowed into clinical facilities. 
  2. Students are required to submit proof of current CPR certification before they will be allowed into clinical facilities. Only CPR courses that provide certification for Basic Life Support (BLS) Provider will be accepted. 
  3. Accident and liability insurance, available through the College, is required of all Medical Assistant students.
  4. Medical Assistant students are required to undergo Background Screening and Drug Testing according to Health Science Division policy.
  5. Medical Assisting students must comply with the Alabama Infected Health Care Worker Act.
  6. Students are required to submit proof of personal health insurance during the semester prior to clinical practicum rotation and to maintain coverage while performing their clinical rotation.

Career Path 

The Medical Assistant curriculum prepares students to function as allied-health professionals in a physician’s office or outpatient clinic. Other career opportunities include medical office management, administrative work in hospitals, insurance claims associate, teaching and research.

Medical assistants work primarily in outpatient settings, a rapidly growing sector of the health care industry. In view of the preference of many health care employers for trained personnel, job prospects should be best for medical assistants with formal training or experience, particularly for those with certification. Earnings vary, depending on experience, skill level, and location. The median annual wage for medical assistants was $35,850 in May 2020. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics) The WSCC Medical Assisting Program courses will be accepted for transfer to Athens State University in the Bachelor Degree in Health Science and the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management. Please consult STARS transfer guide for the latest information.

Practicum 

Students of the Medical Assistant Program will not receive payment or compensation in any form, monetary or otherwise, for experiences performed during the practicum/preceptorship. Students will be supervised while taking the Medical Assistant Preceptorship course.

Progression

Students must maintain a grade of “C” or better in all major required courses and the general required Math course to progress in the Medical Assisting courses. Math must be completed prior to taking MAT 214 Medical Assisting Pharmacology. A student who “stops out” from the program must return to complete courses within 15 months of stopping out, or will have to re-apply to the program and be accepted in addition to repeating MAT courses in order to stay up to date in the field of study. 

Readmission to Program

Students who withdraw or are dismissed from the program must apply for re-admission. Students will be readmitted one time only. If 15 months have elapsed since the students last coursework was completed, MAT courses must be repeated to stay up to date in the field. 

Advance Placement Policy

Work experience college credit is not awarded for medical assisting courses.  There is no advanced placement in Medical Assisting. Transfer credits are awarded according to Wallace State Community College Transcript Credit Policy as published in the catalog.   

NOTE: All courses with the HIT prefix must be completed at WSCC.

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

MAT 101 : Medical Terminology

This course is designed for medical assistants, student nurses, and others in medically related fields. The course will focus on the more common prefixes, roots, and suffixes used to construct medical terms with these word parts to determine the meanings of new or unfamiliar terms. The student will learn a system of word building which will enable them to interpret medical terms. CORE As needed.

Credits

3

MAT 102 : Medical Assisting Theory I

A description of anatomical descriptors and the cell introduces the student to and serves as an overview of the body’s systems. The structure and function of the nervous, sensory, integumentary, muscular, skeletal, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems are taught with the diseases related to these systems presented. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a basic working knowledge of these body systems. CORE

Credits

3

MAT 103 : Medical Assisting Theory II

The structure and function of the digestive, urinary, reproduction, endocrine, and immune systems are presented. Disease processes that are related to these systems will be included. Basic concepts of reproduction, growth and development, and nutrition are taught. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a basic working knowledge of these body systems. CORE

Credits

3

MAT 110 : Introduction to Healthcare

This interdisciplinary course focuses on topics in healthcare which are common to healthcare disciplines. Content will include healthcare delivery systems, members of the healthcare team, safety, ethical/legal issues, professionalism, and employability. Students can explore career choice options available in the healthcare field. 

Credits

3

MAT 111 : Clinical Procedures I for the Medical Assistant

This course includes instruction in clinical examining room procedures. Topics include asepsis, infection control, assisting with examination, and patient education. Upon completion, students will be able to demonstrate competence in exam room procedures. CORE

Credits

3

MAT 122 : Basic Concepts of Interpersonal Relationships

This course is designed to assist students in health occupations to learn basic principles of human behavior. Activities for developing effective interpersonal relations are included. Exploration of self-concept and the negative effect of poor self-concept as they relate to one's health are presented. Upon completion, students should be able to apply these concepts to the work setting. 

Credits

3

Prerequisites

As required by the college

MAT 123 : Medical Business Practices I

This course introduces practices expected of the medical assistant in a healthcare business setting. Topics include but are not limited to inputting patient data, utilizing practice management software to include scheduling, routine maintenance of administrative and/or clinical equipment, and sensitivity when managing client needs. Upon completion, students should be able to perform basic medical business skills. CORE

Credits

2

MAT 124 : Medical Business Practices II

This course introduces medical business practices not covered in medical business practices I. Topics include but are not limited to fiscal management practices to include paper and/or electronic book keeping, banking, and payroll procedures. This course also includes concepts of insurance and third-party reimbursement, eligibility requirements required for filing insurance claims. Concepts of outpatient procedural and diagnostic coding will be included in this course of study. Upon completion students should be able to manage the medical business and insurance procedures at an intermediate level. CORE

Credits

4

MAT 126 : Medical Laboratory Practices

This course introduces clinical procedures used by the medical assistant for medical office and ambulatory settings. Topics include but are not limited to obtaining specimens and performing CLIA waived laboratory tests. Limited theory of pertinent microbiology to include gram-positive/gram-negative theory, hematology, and phlebotomy practices for the medical business practice are discussed. Upon completion, students should be able to perform basic lab procedures and patient instructions on specimen collection on course topics. CORE

Credits

4

MAT 128 : Medical Law and Ethics for the Medical Assistant

This course provides basic information related to the legal relationship of patient and physician. Topics to be covered include creation and termination of contracts, implied and informed consent, professional liability, invasion of privacy, malpractice, tort, liability, breach of contract, and the Medical Practice Act. Upon completion, students should be able to recognize ethical and legal implications of these topics as they relate to the medical assistant. CORE

Credits

3

MAT 205 : Clinical Specialties for the Medical Assistant

This course will build upon previous knowledge and skills in the clinical practice setting with advanced topics which include but are not limited to assisting with specialty examinations, vital signs, client teaching, and components of the medical records to include formats, types, and documentation. This course also includes management and response to medical office emergencies. Upon completion, students should be able to recognize and manage specific emergencies in the office setting and assist with specialty procedures. CORE

Credits

4

Prerequisites

MAT 111 or Permission of Instructor

MAT 214 : Medical Assisting Pharmacology

This course familiarizes the student with frequently administered and commonly prescribed drugs used in the medical office. Theory includes components of the drug profile to include calculation, preparation, and administration of the medication. Additional topics include special populations and nutritional requirements, documentation, and basic concepts of prescribing practices to include e-scribing. Upon completion, students should be able to prove competency in safe medication administration and calculations. CORE

Credits

3

Prerequisites

MTH 116 or higher, MAT 111, MAT 205

MAT 217 : Microscopy for the Medical Office

This course introduces microscopy in the medical office. Setting up slides and preparing slides for examination will be included. Urine sediment and correlation to dipstick analysis results will be included. Normal peripheral blood smears will be examined and counted for differential.

Credits

2

Prerequisites

MAT 219 : Radiology for the Medical Assistant

This course will provide the student with an overview of radiography and its role in the health care delivery. Topics will include patient and medical assistant safety and protection. The student should be able to perform and process basic radiographs of the chest, abdomen, pelvis, sinus and extremities.

Credits

3

MAT 222 : Medical Transcription I

This course introduces dictating equipment and typical medical dictation. Emphasis is placed on correct punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Upon completion, students should be able to transcribe physician’s dictation.

Credits

2

Prerequisites

As required by the college

MAT 227 : Special Topics in Medical Assisting

This course includes specialized study on current topics and issues in the field of medical assisting. Emphasis is placed on personal and occupational responsibilities, and developing problem-solving skills encountered in the medical office. Upon completion, students should be able to apply problem-solving skills to medical office situations. As needed.

Credits

1

MAT 228 : Medical Assistant Review Course

This course includes a general review of administrative and clinical functions performed in a medical office. The course will assist the student or graduate in preparing for national credentialing examination. As needed.

Credits

1

MAT 230 : Medical Assistant Preceptorship

This course is a medical assisting capstone course. The student is expected to apply administrative, clinical, and laboratory knowledge while under the supervision of a designated preceptor. The student performs administrative, clinical, and laboratory skills while displaying positive affective behaviors expected of a medical assistant in the medical setting. The total number of contact hours must be a minimum of 160 hours in length. The content of the course is aligned with standards and guidelines from the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) in collaboration with CAAHEP. CORE.

Credits

2

Prerequisites

MAT 102, MAT 103, MAT 128, MAT 101 or HIT 110, MAT 111, MAT 205, MAT 123, MAT 124, MAT 126, MAT 214