Why Penn Foster?

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

Program Overview

Penn Foster College’s Associate Degree in Medical Assisting is an ABHES-accredited program and will qualify you to work as a medical assistant supporting a physician, and you will be eligible to sit for both the RMA (Registered Medical Assistant) and CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) examinations. Did you know that jobs for medical assistants are expected to increase 29%, much faster than average, in upcoming years?¹

Your accredited online learning program consists of 15 credits of General Studies for Medical Assistants courses and 50 credits (three semesters) of Medical Assistant core courses (65 total credits).

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Objectives

Program Goal

The Medical Assistant Associate's Degree program will provide students with the concepts and skills to gain employment in the out-patient setting. Students will be prepared to perform administrative and clinical duties under the direction of a physician, mid-level provider, or licensed nurse.

Program Objectives

General Orientation

  • Comprehend the current employment outlook for the medical assistant
  • Compare the allied health professions and understand their relation to medical assisting
  • Understand medical assistant credentialing requirements and the process to obtain the credential
  • Comprehend the importance of credentialing
  • Have knowledge of the general responsibilities of the medical assistant
  • Define scope of practice for the medical assistant and comprehend the conditions for practice with the state that the medical assistant is employed

Anatomy and Physiology

  • Comprehend and explain to the patient the importance of diet and nutrition. Effectively convey and educate patients regarding the proper diet and nutrition guidelines. Identify categories of patients that require special diets or diet modifications
  • Identify the body systems, their structure and functions, and common diseases, symptoms, and etiologies
  • Apply the knowledge of all body systems, their structure and functions, and common diseases, symptoms, and etiologies
  • Explain the disease processes and treatment modalities

Medical Terminology

  • Identify the basic structural parts of a word (i.e., root, prefix, suffix, combinations, spelling and definitions)
  • Build medical terms from roots/suffixes to understand the word element combinations that create medical terminology
  • Understand the various medical terminology for each specialty
  • Identify acceptable medical abbreviations

Medical Law and Ethics

  • Identify federal and state guidelines when documenting and releasing medical records or information
  • Follow established policies when initiating or terminating medical treatment
  • Identify the importance of maintaining liability coverage once employed in the industry
  • Explain risk management procedures
  • Comply with federal, state, and local health laws and regulations

Psychology of Human Relations

  • Define abnormal behavior patterns
  • Identify appropriate therapeutic communication skills when working/caring for patients with special needs
  • Identify common stages that terminally ill patients go through and list organizations/support groups that can assist patients and family members of patients struggling with terminal illness
  • Identify common stages that terminally ill patients go through and list organizations/support groups that can assist patients and family members of patients struggling with terminal illness
  • Identify means of advocating on behalf of family/patients, having ability to deal and communicate with family
  • Explain developmental stages of life
  • Analyze the effect of hereditary, cultural, and environmental influences

Basic Keyboarding/Computer Concepts

  • Perform basic keyboarding skills including
    • Locating the keys on a keyboard
    • Typing medical correspondence and basic reports
  • Demonstrate the proper use of office machines, computerized systems, and medical software such as:
    • Efficiently maintain and understand different types of medical correspondence and medical reports
    • Apply computer application skills using variety of different electronic programs including both practice management software and EMR software

Pharmacology

  • Demonstrate accurate occupational math and metric conversions for proper medication administration
  • Properly utilize PDR, drug handbook, and other drug references to identify a drug’s classification, usual dosage, usual side effects, and contradictions
  • Identify common abbreviations that are accepted in prescription writing
  • Identify legal aspects of writing prescriptions, including federal and state laws
  • Comply with federal, state, and local health laws and regulations

Medical Office Business Procedures/Management

  • Perform basic clerical functions
  • Prepare medical records
  • Schedule appointments
  • Apply concepts for office procedures
  • Locate resources and information for patients and employers
  • Schedule inpatient and outpatient admissions
  • Post entries on a day sheet
  • Perform billing and collection procedures
  • Perform accounts payable procedure
  • Perform accounts receivable procedures
  • Post adjustments
  • Process credit balance
  • Process refunds
  • Post non-sufficient funds
  • Post collection agency payments
  • Apply third-party guidelines
  • Obtain managed care referrals and pre-certifications
  • Perform diagnostic and procedural coding
  • Prepare and submit insurance claims
  • Use physician fee schedule
  • Use manual or computerized bookkeeping systems
  • Maintain medical facility
  • Perform routine maintenance of administrative and clinical equipment
  • Maintain inventory equipment and supplies
  • Recognize effective communication techniques
  • Communicate on the recipient’s level of comprehension
  • Serve as a liaison between physician and others
  • Use proper telephone techniques
  • Interview effectively
  • Use pertinent medical terminology
  • Receive, organize, prioritize, and transmit information expediently
  • Recognize and respond to verbal and nonverbal communication
  • Perform fundamental writing skills including correct grammar, spelling, and formatting techniques when writing prescriptions, documenting medical records, etc.
  • Adapt to individualized needs
  • Apply electronic technology

Medical Office Clinical Procedures

  • Obtain chief complaint, recording patient history
  • Apply principles of aseptic techniques and infection control
  • Take vital signs
  • Recognize various treatment protocols
  • Recognize emergencies and treatments and minor office surgical procedures
  • Screen and follow up patient test results
  • Maintain medication and immunization records
  • Wrap items for autoclaving
  • Use standard precautions
  • Prepare oral and parenteral medications as directed by physician
  • Administer oral and parenteral medications as directed by physician
  • Prepare examination room and treatment area
  • Prepare patient for examinations and treatments
  • Assist physician with routine and specialty examinations and treatments
  • Assist physician with minor office surgical procedures
  • Perform
    • Electrocardiograms
    • Respiratory testing
    • Telephone and in-person screening
    • Sterilization techniques
    • First aid and CPR
  • Advise patients of office policies and procedures
  • Instruct patients with special needs
  • Teach patients methods of health promotion and disease prevention

Medical Laboratory Procedures

  • Practice quality control
  • Perform selected CLIA-waived tests that assist with diagnosis and treatment
    • Urinalysis
    • Hematology testing
    • Chemistry testing
    • Immunology testing
    • Microbiology testing
    • Kit testing
      • Pregnancy
      • Quick strep
      • Dip sticks
  • Dispose of biohazardous materials
  • Collect, label, and process specimens
    • Perform venipuncture
    • Perform capillary puncture
    • Perform wound collection procedures
    • Obtain throat specimens for microbiological testing
  • Instruct patients in the collection of a clean-catch mid-stream urine specimen
  • Instruct patients in the collection of a fecal specimen

Career Development

  • Perform the essential requirements for employment such as resume writing, effective interviewing, dressing professionally, and following up appropriately
  • Demonstrate professionalism by
    • Exhibiting dependability, punctuality, and a positive work ethic
    • Exhibiting a positive attitude and a sense of responsibility
    • Maintaining confidentiality at all times
    • Being cognizant of ethical boundaries
    • Exhibiting initiative
    • Adapting to change
    • Expressing a responsible attitude
    • Being courteous and diplomatic
    • Conducting work with scope of education, training, and ability

General Studies

Basic Skills Assessment

All degree applicants are required to complete two Basic Skills Assessments, one in reading and one in math, to determine the level of readiness for beginning their selected program. Additional studies may be required.

CSC104 Computer Applications 3 credits

This course will allow you to build your computer skills through a combination of reading and hands-on practice. You will navigate popular software tools such as Windows® and Microsoft® Office.

Objectives:

  • Create, edit, and illustrate Microsoft® Word™ documents.
  • Apply formulas and functions to large data sets in Microsoft® Excel.®
  • Incorporate useful charts and graphs to summarize data.
  • Add, delete, sort, and lay out table data.
  • Create presentations in Microsoft® PowerPoint® using advanced tools, tables, and charts.
SCI120 Introduction to Biology 3 credits

This course will allow you to explore the origin of life and the relationships among all living things.

Objectives:

  • Explain how organisms are structured and how they work.
  • Discuss the various forms of life and their processes.

Textbook: Essentials of Biology

SSC130 Essentials of Psychology 3 credits

This course will introduce you to the relationship between biology and behavior. You will learn about the human development throughout the life span.

Objectives:

  • Identify major psychological theories.
  • Discuss consciousness, memory, thought, and language.
  • Define intelligence, personality, and stress.
  • Analyze the role of gender in psychology.
  • Explain how community influences behavior.

Textbook: Psychology and Your Life

Arts and Humanities Elective (Choose one) 3 credits

HUM102-Art Appreciation

This course will provide you with the foundational knowledge needed to critique a variety of artwork.

Objectives:

  • Understand artistic media.
  • Identify historical periods and artistic movements.
  • Explain the roles of the artist and the viewer

HUM-104-Music Appreciation

This course will allow you to understand and appreciate the art of music.

  • Explain the roles of the composer and the listener.
  • Describe music theory, instrumentation, and historical periods.
  • Distinguish various styles of music.

ENG115-Introduction to Literature

This course will allow you to develop your critical thinking skills and broaden your knowledge of literature.

Objectives:

  • Identify themes and forms of literature.
  • Define the main genres of literature--poetry, fiction, and drama.
ENG100 English Composition 3 credits

This course will allow you to polish and enhance your writing skills.

Objectives:

  • Effectively use free writing and brainstorming.
  • Perfect your ability to edit and revise your writing.
  • Apply techniques for getting the reader’s attention.
  • Write descriptive essays, first-person narratives, reflective essays, persuasive essays, and effective thesis statements.

Textbook: Successful College Writing
Supplement: The Little, Brown Essential Handbook

Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 1

HIT100 Introduction to Allied Health 1 credit

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program, and get an introduction to health care, the health information management industry, and the role that health information technicians play in that industry.

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.
  • 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.
ENG103 Information Literacy 1 credit

Get better at finding and using information!

Objectives:

  • Search the Internet more effectively.
  • Get tips about search engines and reliable websites.
  • Learn how to search libraries and other information centers for important, useful information.
HIT105 Law and Ethics in Medicine 3 credits

In this course, you’ll learn how law affects medical offices, the origin of law that affects medical professionals, and some basics about the process of litigation and its alternatives.

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.
  • Describe the public duties of health care professionals and workplace legalities.
  • Define and differentiate living will, health care proxy, DNR orders, and durable power of attorney.
  • Discuss legal and ethical issues at the beginning of life and childhood and those related to death and dying.
  • Describe health-care trends and the future of health-care delivery.

Textbook: Ethics for Medical Careers

HIT107 Medical Terminology 3 credits

This course covers the medical terms that you will encounter as a medical assistant. You will complete a research project at the end of the course.

Objectives:

  • Define word elements, roots, prefixes, suffixes, combining vowels, and combining forms.
  • Describe the basic rules for building a medical word.
  • Describe the uses and effects of drugs on the body.
  • Distinguish among generic drug names, official drug names, trade names, and chemical names.
  • Identify and spell word elements, names of diagnostic procedures, diagnoses, treatment procedures, and abbreviations related to the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems; cardiovascular system; the blood and lymph system; the respiratory system; the digestive and urinary systems; the reproductive system; the endocrine system; and the nervous system.
  • Define terms related to the psychology and psychiatry fields.
  • Identify and define terms associated with conditions of the eyes and ears.
  • Identify and define terms commonly used on operative reports.
  • Discuss the field of oncology and potential careers in the oncology field.
  • Identify diagnostic procedures related to radiology and nuclear medicine.

Textbook: Medical Terminology, A Living Language

SCI135 Anatomy and Physiology 1 3 credits

In this course, you’ll begin your study of anatomy and physiology. You’ll learn about general body terms, structures, functions, and processes as well as the skeletal and muscular system. Continue your studies with the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, the senses, and the endocrine system.

Objectives:

  • Define terms referring to location, position, direction, body planes, and sections.
  • Identify and describe the basic anatomical structures and major cavities of the human body.
  • Discuss the process and mechanics of homeostasis.
  • Explain how human anatomy and physiology are related.
  • List and discuss the organizational levels of the human body in order of increasing complexity and explain how these levels are related to each other.
  • Explain the structures, functions, and diseases of the skeletal, muscular, nervous, and endocrine systems in humans.

Textbook: Body Structures and Functions (with accompanying CD-ROM)

SCI136 Anatomy and Physiology 2 3 credits

This course will cover the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system, immunity, infection control, respiration, digestion, nutrition, the urinary system, the reproductive system, and genetics.

Objectives:

  • Identify and describe the components, functions, and disorders of blood, the circulatory system, the lymphatic system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the urinary system, the reproductive system, and genetics.
  • Describe the processes of inflammation and coagulation.
  • Explain the disease mechanisms involved in the human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
  • Describe different types of microorganisms.
  • Discuss the body’s defense mechanisms against infection.
  • Identify and describe the functions of water, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, trace elements, and vitamins.
  • Explain the principles of healthy nutrition and describe nutritional disorders.
  • Identify and explain the functions of the reproductive system.
  • Describe the disorders of both male and female reproductive systems.
  • Define genetics, mutation, and lethal genes.
  • Describe selected genetic disorders.
  • Explain the potential of genetic engineering.
MAT106 Mathematics for Business and Finance 3 credits

This course will hone your math skills so you are able to successfully use them in business and finance industries.

Objectives:

  • Use percentages, discounts, and interest formulas.
  • Analyze present worth and sinking funds.
  • Understand how to buy in installments and price merchandise.
  • Explain depreciation, insurance, equations, and formulas.
  • Discuss an overview of investments and statistics.

Textbook: Practical Business Math Procedures

Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 2

ALH201 Pharmacology 3 credits

This course offers important information that’s essential for your health-care career. You’ll cover drug classifications, dosage calculations, mechanisms of action, therapeutic effects, and adverse reactions of drugs commonly used in medical offices.

Objectives:

  • Utilize the Physicians’ Desk Reference.
  • Discuss pharmacology basics.
  • Calculate basic pharmacology mathematics and dosages.
  • Explain medication administration.
  • Describe pharmacology for multisystem application.
  • Describe medications related to different body systems.

Textbook: Pharmacology: Principles and Applications; PDR Nurse’s Drug Handbook

ENG121 Business and Technical Writing 3 credits

This course will cultivate your writing style allowing you to effectively create business compositions, documents, and presentations.

Objectives:

  • Develop sentences and paragraphs.
  • Format memos, letters, and emails.
  • Conduct research and correctly site sources.
  • Use proper grammar, capitalization, and punctuation.
  • Organize and prepare technical and business reports and proposals.
HIT203 Medical Coding 1 3 credits

This course begins with an overview of coding concepts, terms, and procedures. Explore the system that will replace the ICD-9 in late 2013, the ICD-10, and why it’s important to understand the ICD-9 before learning the new system. You’ll learn how to use the CPT manual and Level II National Codes (HCPCS) in general. Learn the codes for anesthesia, general surgery, the integumentary system, the musculoskeletal system, cardiology, obstetrics/gynecology, radiology, pathology, laboratory, and internal medicine.

Objectives:

  • Work directly with the ICD-9-CM manual; look up codes; and use them to create medical reports.
  • Discuss the components of government and private health care payer systems
  • Apply HIPAA regulations.
  • Describe the major components of the ICD-10 system, CPT manual, and Level II HCPCS manual.
  • Analyze key components for and apply Evaluation and Management coding.
  • Use CPT codes to describe procedures involving anesthesia and general surgical treatments.
  • Identify major diagnoses, procedures, and codes for the integumentary system, the musculoskeletal system, cardiology, maternal care and delivery, female genitals, and radiology.
  • Differentiate between types of pathology codes.
  • Differentiate between inpatient and outpatient reporting guidelines.

Textbooks:

  • Step-by-Step Medical Coding
  • ICD-9-CM Manual
  • CPT Manual

Supplement: Transition to ICD-10-CM/PCS

HIT115 Reimbursement Methodologies 3 credits

In this course, you’ll learn about the different insurance types, what rules govern the submission of claims to each type of insurance, and how to manage outgoing claims and incoming reimbursements.

Objectives:

  • Discuss managed care organizations, government insurance, and workers’ compensation plans.
  • Practice correct ICD-9-CM, CPT, HCPCS, and place of service coding techniques.
  • Describe auditing concepts and implement internal auditing.
  • Differentiate between physician and hospital billing concepts.
  • Explain electronic claims submission, payment adjudication, refunds, and appeals.

Textbook: Comprehensive Health Insurance

HIT207 Medical Transcription 1 3 credits

In this course, you’ll get started with your transcription work by learning how to use the foot pedal and software provided with the course.

Objectives:

  • Operate the transcription hardware and software provided with the course.
  • Identify the types of medical reports you will be transcribing.
  • Transcribe without editing.
  • Proofread your reports after you’re finished and correct any errors.
  • Flag material, if needed.
  • Identify various types of transcription reports.
  • Transcribe reports related to the fields of dermatology, otorhinolaryngology, and ophthalmology.
  • Transcribe reports related to the fields of pulmonary medicine, cardiology, hematology, gastroenterology, endocrinology, urology, nephrology, obstetrics, and gynecology.
  • Transcribe reports related to the fields of orthopedics, neurology, psychiatry, pathology, and radiology.

Assignments:

  • Transcribe practice reports
  • Complete a research project

Textbooks:

  • Medical Transcription Fundamentals and Practice
  • Medical Dictionary

Supplements:

  • HIV/AIDS Awareness
  • Career Development

Learning Aid: Foot pedal and Transcription software

ALH209 Clinical Procedures Theory 1 1 credit

In this course, students are introduced to clinical procedures theory. Topics include an overview of the medical assisting profession, healthcare settings and the healthcare team, the history of medicine, therapeutic communication skills, coping skills for the medical assistant, the therapeutic approach to the patient with a life-threatening illness, legal considerations, ethical considerations, emergency procedures and first aid, infection control and medical asepsis, the patient history and documentation, vital signs and measurements, the physical examination, basic pharmacology, the calculation of medications, and dosage and medication administration.

Objectives:

  • Identify principles of infection control including hand washing, sanitization, and disinfection
  • Identify and specify OSHA regulations, specifically the blood-borne pathogen standard
  • Name and describe the vital signs, tell how they are assessed, and identify the normal ranges
  • List and define the six methods of examination
  • Name and describe the various patient positions used for different types of examinations
  • Describe the sequence followed during a physical examination
  • Demonstrate correct calculation of drug dosages
  • List the six “rights” of proper drug administration
  • Describe and identify site selection for the administration of injections

Textbook: Clinical Medical Assisting

MAS204 Clinical Procedures Lab 1 1 credit

Students will be initiated into the clinical aspects of medical assisting, vital signs, and medical asepsis and receive a clinical skills kit that will allow them to receive the hands-on training for those required skill sets. Students will demonstrate competencies in each clinical skill by recording themselves performing the skill or performing the skill under the supervision of an approved proctor. Each skill must be successfully demonstrated and approved by Penn Foster faculty in order to earn credit for the course and advance to the externship. All costs associated with the procedures lab course are the responsibility of the student. These costs are not included in the tuition.

Objectives:

  • Measure blood pressure, a radial and apical pulse, and respiratory rate, as well as an oral temperature using a digital thermometer
  • Identify and locate pulse sites
  • Don and remove sterile gloves and personal protective equipment
  • Demonstrate aseptic hand washing
  • Withdraw medications from a vial
  • Identify and locate intramuscular and subcutaneous injection sites
  • Administer oral medications
MAS219 Externship 1 1 credit

At this point in the Medical Assistant program, the student will complete 40 clinical hours in a variety of settings, such as a family practice, in order to perform all the required skills. The student will be required to complete a daily journal of his/her experiences and document how he/she is completing the course objectives.

Objectives:

  • Vital signs
  • Practice Standard Precautions
  • Taking a medical history
  • Medication administration
  • Administer injections
  • Patient scheduling and office skills
Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

Semester 3

SCI140 Nutrition 3 credits

This course will allow you to develop a healthier lifestyle by making smarter nutritional decisions.

Objectives:

  • Explain the various components of nutrition as a science.
  • Describe nutrition from a global viewpoint.
  • Understand the importance of water and exercise.
  • Identify the basics of human growth and aging.
  • Discuss food safety procedures.

Textbook: Nutrition for Life

Core Elective (Choose one) 3 credits

ALH215-HIPAA Compliance

In this course, you’ll learn about the history, implementation, and enforcement of HIPAA transaction standards and code sets.

Objectives:

  • Recognize the scope of the law for health-care providers as well as the insurance industry.
  • Understand the reasons for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
  • Discuss the importance of protected health information.
  • Differentiate between privacy, confidentiality, and security.
  • Describe the Security Rule and its impact, safeguards, and challenges.
  • Review HIPAA transactions and code sets.
  • Define the role of the Office of HIPAA Standards (OHS) and Office of the E-Health Standards and Services (OESS).

Textbook: HIPAA for Health Care Professionals

HIT204-Medical Coding 2

In this course, you'll learn about general coding guidelines for inpatient and outpatient procedures and physician office coding using ICD-9-CM, HCPCS Level I, and HCPS Level II procedure coding.

Objectives:

  • Identify diagnoses and procedures contained on medical reports.
  • Discuss HCPCS procedural coding for different settings.

NTR203-Sports Nutrition

Learn the essential knowledge and skills about sports nutrition.

Objectives:

  • Discuss the latest research and information on caloric needs.
  • Create and manage a dietetic regiment for optimizing performance.

Textbooks:

  • Clinical Coding Workout
  • ICD-9-CM Manual
  • CPT Manual
HUM106 Interpersonal Communication 1 credit

Learn how to improve your use of words, gestures, tone of voice, facial expressions, listening skills, and overall physical appearance to better communicate your message. This course is designed to help you develop professional relationships in the workplace.

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.
HIT130 Electronic Medical Records 3 credits

In this course, you’ll be introduced to billing cycles and how health information technology is used in medical offices. You’ll also learn about basic accounting transaction terminology and apply this information to enter patient charges and payments.

Objectives:

  • 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.

Textbook: Computers in the Medical Office
Software: Medisoft®

ALH211 Clinical Procedures Theory 2 3 credits

Students will finish the final portion of Clinical Procedures Theory. Topics covered include obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, gerontology, male reproductive system, examinations and procedures of body systems, assisting with office/ambulatory surgery, diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation and therapeutic modalities, nutrition in health and disease, electrocardiography, safety and regulatory guidelines in the medical laboratory, introduction to the medical laboratory, phlebotomy, venipuncture, capillary puncture, hematology, urinalysis, basic microbiology, specialty laboratory tests, the medical assistant as an office manager, the medical assistant as a human resource manager, preparing for medical assisting credentials, and employment strategies.

Objectives:

  • Medical Assistant’s role in assisting with specialty examinations and procedures
  • Medical Assistant’s role in assisting with minor office/ambulatory surgeries.
  • Define surgical asepsis and list the basic rules to follow to protect the sterile areas
  • Name four methods of sterilization List the supplies and equipment necessary to achieve surgical asepsis when using an autoclave
  • Identify the storage measures and expiration periods for autoclaved items
  • Identify a variety of surgical instruments and their intended uses
  • Identify various positions used during X-ray procedures
  • List X-ray procedures that require special patient preparation
  • Identify the importance of correct posture and body mechanics as well as safety precautions and techniques used when helping a patient to ambulate and when pushing a wheelchair
  • Identify various treatment modalities used in patient rehabilitation
  • Distinguish between water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins List various therapeutic diets and describe the theory of how each can help to control or prevent particular disease processes
  • Identify the importance of nutrition at various stages of life
  • List reasons that a patient may need an electrocardiogram (ECG) and what are artifacts and how to prevent them from occurring.
  • Identify the 12 leads of an ECG and what area of the heart each of the leads represents
  • List various types of ECGs and their capabilities
  • Identify the components of the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment of 1988 (CLIA) and the importance of CLIA to the medical assistant
  • Describe the medical assistant’s role in phlebotomy and the venipuncture technique for drawing blood using a syringe, vacuum tube system, butterfly, or capillary puncture
  • Identify proper collection and preservation and quality control when working with specimens
  •  Explain how to safely handle microbiology specimens
  • Identify the role of the human resources manager
  • Explain the function of the office policy manual
  • Describe the purpose of professional certification and the various credentials available
  • Differentiate between being certified and registered

Textbook: Clinical Medical Assisting (received during the shipment of ALH209)

MAS206 Clinical Procedures Lab 2 1 credit

In this course, students will continue to use the materials required to complete the skills from the clinical skill kit provided to them for Clinical Procedures Lab 1 and demonstrate competencies in each clinical skill by recording themselves performing the skill or performing the skill under the supervision of an approved proctor. Each skill must be successfully demonstrated and approved by Penn Foster faculty in order to earn credit for the course and advance to the externship. All costs associated with the procedures lab course are the responsibility of the student. These costs are not included in the tuition.

Objectives:

  • Sterilize and disinfest surfaces and equipment
  • Recognize appropriate site placement for EKG leads
  • Identify veins for venipuncture
  • Collect a sputum specimen
  • Understand the regulations of OSHA and CLIA
  • Provide patient education for a mid-stream urine specimens and metered dose inhalers
  • Perform pediatric mensuration
MAS221 Externship 2 2 credits

In the last course of the Medical Assistant program, the student will complete 160 clinical hours in a variety of settings (such as cardiology, ambulatory surgery, neurological, OB/GYN, pediatrics, gastroenterology, family practice, and urgent care) in order to be able to get all of the required skills completed. The student will be required to complete a daily journal of his/her experiences and document how he/she is completing the course objectives.

Objectives:

  • Perform coding, billing, and collections in the office setting.
  • Obtain pediatric growth measurements
  • Obtaining lab specimens
  • Perform venipuncture and capillary puncture
  • Assisting the physician during exam
  • Perform sterile technique
  • Operate an autoclave
  • Teaching patients self-examination and providing patient education
Proctored Examination

You will be required to complete a proctored exam on selected courses each semester. These assessments will evaluate the knowledge and skills that you learned during the semester. You choose the time, the location, and the qualified exam supervisor.

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.

Graduation Requirements

  • Complete the General Studies for Medical Assistants courses and all 3 semesters of Medical Assistant core courses.
  • Pass all courses.
  • Achieve a cumulative Quality Point Average (QPA) of 2.0 or higher.

NOTE: Advanced standing student shipments may vary from the above schedule.
Although this outline covers the General Studies for Medical Assistants courses and all three semesters of your program, you receive lesson materials for each semester as you enroll.
Credits earned in Penn Foster programs may transfer to some, but not all, learning institutions. If you are planning to continue your education with another school after you earn your degree from Penn Foster, you should check with that school regarding credit transfer policies
This program requires the student to complete an externship in both Semester 2 and Semester 3. Students will be required to obtain professional liability insurance, health insurance, and complete a health verification form prior to the start of their externships. All costs associated with the externships are the responsibility of the student. Students are expected to complete a total of 200 hours of practice. It is the responsibility of the student to secure a site for the field placement(s).
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Residents of Minnesota will receive the Associate of Applied Science upon completing this program.
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Sample Lesson

To view a Medical Assistant sample lesson, click here.

Medical Assistant Program Details

Penn Foster will help you gain the knowledge and skills you need:

  • Record patient histories and process billing information
  • Schedule patient appointments and manage electronic health records
  • Help the physician with patient examinations

Medical Assistants schedule patient appointments, measure patient vital signs, and manage health records in hospitals, insurance companies, or for government agencies. Here are a few qualities that effective medical 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 welcome and relaxed in potentially stressful situations.
  • Reliable: Patients and doctors can rely on you to work hard and perform consistently.

After working as a medical assistant for years, I decided to earn my degree at Penn Foster College. It was a personal achievement that I felt I needed and after my employer found out, I received a nice raise! The personal fulfillment and professional reward in finishing school far exceeds anything else you can possibly do! You will not regret it. Penn Foster revolves around all of your other responsibilities so there's no excuse! Day or night, you can study on your time to achieve your goals. Penn Foster was my dream school come true. I'm so glad I started and so proud to have completed my degree! Penn Foster has given me the motivation to successfully complete two programs, given me a significant pay increase, and now I'm registering for nursing school. Let Penn Foster show you just how much of a success you can be! Penn Foster is challenging and in return, it's highly rewarding. Talk about an ego boost.

- Tayha C., Medical Assistant graduate

Having a degree will increase my chances of being put at the top of the promotion list. I suggest Penn Foster programs all of the time to my coworkers. I am in the military, and Penn Foster is a very military-friendly school. I got all of my materials shipped to me while I was overseas for deployment.

- Amy G., Penn Foster College graduate

After earning my degree I received a pay increase and a promotion to a supervisor position. The instructors are superb, helpful, and are there with you every step of the way. Also, the student services representatives are courteous and understanding; they are there to answer any questions you may have. After each assignment I completed, the staff of Penn Foster always had encouraging statements that helped me to stay on course. Congrats to Penn Foster College on being the best and bringing the best out of me.

- Shawn C., Penn Foster College graduate

We make sure you have everything you need:

  • Graduate debt free with 0% interest
  • Books and learning aids, including Venitech IV Trainer, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and video camera
  • Upgrade to a Ren-Lor stethoscope with the Penn Foster logo, and receive 15% off your purchase. Look for the Penn Foster stethoscope under the Colleges section!
  • 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 Assistant academic group
  • Your personalized online student homepage and learning portal
  • Additional resources such as our online library and career guidance from Career Cruising

What certifications are available to students of the Medical Assistant Associate Degree Program at Penn Foster?

You’ll be eligible to sit for both the RMA (Registered Medical Assistant) and CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) examinations.

More FAQs >

¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook," 2014-15 Edition, Medical Assistants, on the Internet here.

This program requires the student to complete an externship in both Semester 2 and Semester 3. Students will be required to obtain professional liability insurance, health insurance, and complete a health verification form prior to the start of their externships. All costs associated with the externships are the responsibility of the student. Students are expected to complete a total of 200 hours of practice. It is the responsibility of the student to secure a site for the field placement(s).

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