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Why Penn Foster?

  • Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

Start your career as a Medical Administrative Assistant in as little as six months, and at 98% less in cost than the average traditional school. The health care industry is booming and Medical Administrative Assistant and secretary jobs are expected to increase as much as 36% over the next several years!* We'll help you succeed with expert instruction from dedicated faculty members with real world experience. Penn Foster's Medical Administrative Assistant school will provide all the training you need to read and understand medical terminology, manage and update patient records, and perform basic office procedures—all at a pace that's right for you.

Curriculum Details

Course 1

HIT100 Introduction to Allied Health

This course gives an introduction to health care, the health information management industry, and the role that health information technicians play in that industry.

Objectives:

  • Describe reimbursement systems and the role health information management technicians play in reimbursement.
  • Describe how technology is used in health information management.
  • Discuss different professional organizations and certifications for health information management technicians.
  • Explain the different roles, opportunities, and settings for health information management technicians.
Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.

Objectives:

  • Understand how to use your Student Portal, including your My Homepage and My Courses pages.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.

Course 2

BUS090 Office Procedures

This course is designed to help you develop professional relationships in the workplace and professionally administer and manage office communications and procedures, and provides a review of basic math operations.

Objectives:

  • Understand and explain the components of communication, both verbal and nonverbal.
  • Develop effective listening and observation skills.
  • Recognize prejudice in interpersonal relations.
  • Describe personal traits essential for successful interpersonal relations.
  • Understand important aspects of good human relations.
  • Professionally answer and place telephone calls within an office.
  • Handle incoming and outgoing mail and email.
  • Analyze where your time is spent and identify common time wasters.
  • Calculate discounts and series discounts.
  • Calculate cash discounts and shipping charges.
  • Change decimals and fractions to percentages and vice versa.
  • Use a calculator to solve or check math problems.

Course 3

ALH028 Law, Ethics, and Confidentiality in Allied Health

In this course, you’ll learn how law affects medical offices, the origin of law that affects medical professionals, the basics of the process of litigation and its alternatives, the common-law basis for the confidentiality of health-care information, and the laws regulating health-care information collected and maintained by government agencies.

Objectives:

  • Describe civil and criminal law, sources of law, and the steps of litigation.
  • Distinguish between liability, negligence, and malpractice and explain how they relate to medical assistants.
  • Explain defenses against medical malpractice and against criminal charges.
  • Identify the various ethical issues that health-care professionals face.
  • Explain the uses and content of medical records.
  • Describe the legal significance of confidentiality obligations.
  • Explain the core concepts of HIPAA’s final Privacy Rule.
  • Summarize the role of peer review in confidentiality issues.
  • Describe confidentiality and security issues related to electronic medical records.

Course 4

CSC102 Word™ and Excel®

This course will help you get used to the computer by walking you through the first steps of using your PC. You’ll learn about the many ways that Windows® can help you complete your daily tasks, the vast world of information that exists on the Internet, how to use Microsoft® Word™ 2010 to create, edit, and illustrate documents, and how to use the most widely used spreadsheet program, Microsoft® Excel.®

Objectives:

  • Set up a computer system.
  • Navigate in the Windows® environment.
  • Consult on-screen Help for answers to questions.
  • Use the programs contained in the Windows® Accessories and the System Tools for Windows.®
  • Customize your computer display and input devices to suit your preferences.
  • Create notes, documents, and drawings using Windows® Accessories.
  • Locate a file, open a recently used document, and retrieve a file that has been recently deleted.
  • View and organize files and folders on your local disk.
  • Use search engines and email.
  • Identify the best Internet providers and services for your needs.
  • Upload and download files from the Internet.
  • Create, edit, format, and merge Word™ documents.
  • Add graphics and tables.
  • Use the basic elements of Microsoft® Excel.®
  • Add, delete, and sort data.
  • Create and use formulas, charts, and graphs.

Course 5

ENG010 Business English

In this course you’ll learn the skills you need to become more confident in your writing.

Objectives:    

  • Know the parts of speech.
  • Use pronouns and modifiers properly and effectively.
  • Explain subject-verb agreement.
  • Use end marks, commas, and other common punctuation marks.
  • Use capitalization correctly.
  • Explain common spelling rules and use them in your writing.
  • Cite research sources.
  • Compose a variety of sentence structures.
  • Construct unified, coherent paragraphs.
  • Connect paragraphs to build a well-organized, logical document.
  • Identify your audience, medium, and purpose.
  • Focus and organize your ideas.
  • Plan both informal and formal writing projects.
  • Revise, edit, and proofread to make your final copy accurate and professional.
  • Write well-structured, professional letters.
  • Format business letters, memos, and emails.

Course 6

ALH016 Body Systems/Terminology 1

In this course, you’ll become familiar with the medical terms that you'll hear on a daily basis in your new career, examine the organization of body systems, and examine the cardiovascular system, blood, the respiratory system, and the digestive system.

Objectives:

  • Explain how root words (and their combining forms), prefixes, and suffixes function in medical terms.
  • Define many of the most common roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
  • Determine the meaning of a given medical term by analyzing its parts.
  • Identify the anatomical position and directional terms, as well as the three planes, four quadrants, and nine regions of the body.
  • Describe the body sciences of nutrition and homeostasis.
  • List types of pathogens, outline the chain of infection, and suggest methods to break the chain of infection.
  • Analyze the concept of immunity and differentiate between natural and acquired immunity.
  • Describe the organization and formation of the human body from cells to body systems.
  • Explain the anatomy and function of the integumentary system and musculoskeletal system.
  • List diseases of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems.
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems.
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to cellular anatomy, the integumentary system, and the musculoskeletal system.
  • Explain the anatomy and function of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
  • List diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive systems.

Course 7

ALH017 Body Systems/Terminology 2

In this course, you’ll examine the sensory organs, nervous system, endocrine system, excretory system, reproductive system, and immune and lymphatic systems. You’ll also take a closer look at oncology, radiology, surgery, pathology, and genetics.

Objectives:

  • Explain the anatomy and function of the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
  • List diseases of the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the sensory organs, the nervous system, and the endocrine system.
  • Explain the anatomy and function of the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
  • List diseases of the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
  • Identify tests and procedures to diagnose and treat diseases of the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
  • Use combining forms to build and analyze terms related to the excretory, reproductive, and lymphatic systems.
  • Differentiate between tumor types and explain how cancer develops.
  • Classify cancers and describe the major methods of cancer treatment.
  • Identify radiographic procedures and outline the types and uses of nuclear medicine tests.
  • Summarize surgical methods and pathological processes.
  • Describe the application of genetics to the study of diseases.

Course 8

ALH021 Basic Pharmacology

This course describes health-care professionals who are licensed to prescribe medications for the treatment of disease and illness, reference material most often used by pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, and pharmaceuticals that are designed to alleviate or repair any sort of malfunction in the body.

Objectives:

  • Define the medical specialties presented in this course, the conditions that each treats, and some of the drugs prescribed.
  • Identify health-care providers other than physicians who are licensed to prescribe drugs, the types of drugs that each prescribes, and the condition for which each type of drug is prescribed.
  • Name five prominent health-care professionals who aren’t licensed to write prescriptions.
  • Explain the main types of reference information and their sources.
  • Discuss various delivery methods of drug information available to pharmacists and technicians.
  • List various drug information sources that may be required by law to be present in a pharmacy.
  • Identify various journals and newsletters available to pharmacists and technicians.
  • Describe the most referenced sources of drug information used in pharmacy practice.
  • Discuss pharmacology basics.
  • List the four types of drug names, several major drug references, and the two agencies of drug regulation and enforcement.
  • Describe the routes and forms of drug administration.
  • Define drug action and effect, and explain the effect of drugs according to specific classifications.
  • Calculate basic pharmacology mathematics and dosages.
  • Identify medications related to different body systems.

Course 9

HIT130 Electronic Medical Records

This course is designed to help you understand the reimbursement process and the various methodologies involved. You’ll be introduced to billing cycles and how health information technology is used in medical offices, and learn about basic accounting transaction terminology and apply this information to enter patient charges and payments.

Objectives:

  • Describe prepaid health plans and commercial insurance plans.
  • Identify characteristics of retrospective and prospective payment systems.
  • Discuss the different government sponsored health-care programs.
  • Explain how managed care works.
  • Describe fee-for-service and episode-of-care reimbursement methodologies.
  • Outline the Medicare acute care prospective payment system.
  • Describe the Medicare skilled-nursing facility prospective payment system.
  • Discuss the different outpatient prospective payment systems. Review the medical billing cycle.
  • Explain how computers are used for medical billing.
  • Use Medisoft® software to perform medical office procedures.
  • Perform charge and payment transactions for patient services.
  • Post payments.
  • Create standard reports, collection letters, and reminders.
  • Set up patient appointments, input office hours, and create schedules.

Computer Specifications
You will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. You will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows® 7 or later, Microsoft® Office 2013, and an email account to complete your program with Penn Foster.

We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft, Windows, and Excel are registered trademarks and Word is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Medisoft is a registered trademark of McKesson Corporation in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.

Sample Lesson

To view a Medical Administrative Assistant sample lesson, click here.

Medical Administrative Assistant Program Credits and Lessons

Our accredited Medical Administrative Assistant program includes everything you need to start your new career, and students may receive some college credit with Penn Foster College for selected courses.

* Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook," 2014-15 Edition, Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, on the Internet here (visited January 29, 2014).

Here are a few qualities that dependable medical administrative assistants have in common:

  • Sociable: Spending time with others is fun and rewarding.
  • Detail oriented: It’s important to have a sharp eye and check things twice.
  • Friendly: You make others feel welcomed and relaxed in potentially stressful situations.
  • Reliable: Patients can rely on you to work hard and perform consistently.

Penn Foster was the one school that I found where I could work at my own pace while being a mom with a busy and active schedule, and holding down employment. With Penn Foster, I was able to tell my children that while they were doing their homework, I was going to do mine. I was also able to take my courses with me when I traveled or went to the library. It was nice not to be stuck in a classroom.

- Lauri T., Medical Administrative Assistant Graduate

I am so happy that I made a career change with the help of Penn Foster. Penn Foster makes it easy, and they are always supportive and encouraging to you. Whenever I had a question, I just gave my instructors a call, and they were very helpful and easy to talk with. The online testing made it convenient, and my shipments always arrived right on time.

- Christine R., Penn Foster Graduate

Penn Foster is a great place to learn. The instructors are only a phone call away if you need any help. They are friendly and eager to assist. It is a truly great way to get an education. I even met a few new friends online who were taking the same program that I was. We were able to help each other when needed. I plan on taking another program from Penn Foster.

- Karen M., Penn Foster Graduate

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Graduate debt free with 0% interest
  • Books, learning aids, and electronic medical records software included
  • Study Planner App to customize your study plans and keep track of your progress
  • Instructional support from our world-class faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online campus, plus immediate membership in the Medical Admin Assistant academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

Where can I expect to work as a medical administrative assistant?

As a medical administrative assistant, you can work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, insurance companies, or public health clinics. There are also opportunities as a medical records or admissions clerk, a medical office manager, or a chance to work in a pharmacy, pathology lab, or in medical records.

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