Medical Assisting
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Program Description

Rapid changes in health care delivery have increased the demand for competent medical assistants. Graduates of the Medical Assisting curriculum are prepared for employment in a variety of medical and health care settings. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner's specialty. In small practices, medical assistants usually do many different kinds of tasks, 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.

Medical assistants perform administrative tasks which may include updating and filing patients' medical records and filling out insurance forms. They also perform tasks less specific to medical settings, such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments and handling billing and insurance reimbursement.

Medical assistants also perform clinical duties which may vary according to what is allowed by state law. Some common tasks include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, preparing patients for examinations and assisting physicians during examinations. Medical assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies and sterilize medical instruments. They might draw blood, perform electrocardiograms, and change dressings. Medical assistants also may arrange examining room instruments/equipment and purchase/maintain supplies and equipment.

The goal of this program is to produce graduates who possess the necessary knowledge of contemporary medical office practices and the skills to be an efficient medical assistant. Through a series of specialized courses, laboratory work and practicum experience, students acquire the competencies and standards of proficiency which are required for certification by the American Association of Medical Assistants. The program also provides a broad base of information which allows graduates to successfully continue their education in a related medical field.

This curriculum includes a 20.5 credit hour core of liberal arts, social science and science courses chosen from the areas of anatomy/physiology, microbiology, social science and English. The remainder of the coursework has been designed to build clinical and administrative skills. Lectures help students build a professional vocabulary of medical terminology and teach medical law and ethics for health care professionals, basic medical assisting theory and concepts. College laboratories are well-equipped with modern instrumentation to allow students extensive and varied training in a simulated office setting. Students learn clinical office assisting techniques and clinical diagnostic procedures on campus. Computers are used by the students in these laboratories for patient data recording and for retrieval of patient data. In office management and administration courses, computers are used for the word processing of written communications and for office billing procedures. Courses in medical transcription, medical coding and reimbursement provide additional useful skills. In the final semester, students participate in an off-campus supervised practicum. Each student is assigned to an approved physician's office for additional training for a minimum of 160 clock hours. Students shall not receive pay for the practicum experience. If a student is not in compliance with a requirement of the site, it is not the department's responsibility to re-assign the student.

Upon successful program completion, graduates may apply to take the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) national certification examination. Graduates passing this Certified Medical Assistant examination may use the credential CMA (AAMA).Many graduates of the Medical Assisting Program immediately assume positions as medical assistants in private doctors' offices. Others work in various health care facilities.


SUNY Erie Community College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), the unit of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities in the Middle States Region, which includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. MSCHE is located at 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, Phone (267) 284-500. The curricula of ECC are approved by the State University of New York (SUNY) and are registered by the New York State Department of Education (NYSED).

The Medical Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accrediation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
1361 Park street
Clearwater, Fl 33756


Information regarding scholarships is on file in the MA Department Office B613 and also is available through the ECC Foundation Office at (716) 851-1990 or at

Degree: Associate in Applied Science
Hegis: 5214
Curriculum Code: 0602
Campus Location: North
Health Sciences Division

Available at:

Pre-Admission Recommendations:
85% High School Average

Career Opportunities/Further Education:
Physicians' Offices
Medical Health Care Facilities


Did You Know?

A significant number of courses have been renumbered as part of the State University of New York's policies which promote student mobility, through transfer of academic credit, to other SUNY institutions. All courses should be numbered at the 100-200 levels. The Listing Reference contains both the old and new numbers which should aid students in their choice of courses.


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