Medical Administrative Assistant Program | Penn Foster Career School

Medical Administrative Assistant

Why Penn Foster Career School?

  • Regionally & Nationally Accredited
  • Self-Paced
  • Supportive
  • Low monthly payments

Program Overview

Prepare to take the CEHRS certification exam.

You can finish the Penn Foster Career School Medical Administrative Assistant online training program in as little as seven months. The healthcare industry is booming and medical administrative assistant and secretary jobs are expected to increase as much as 36% over the next several years!¹ You’ll learn from our dedicated faculty members with real world experience. Penn Foster Career School's Medical Administrative Assistant program can provide training to help you read and understand medical terminology, manage and update patient records, and perform basic office procedures—all at a pace that's right for you.

Our Medical Administrative Assistant online program can help you prepare for the National Healthcareer Association² CMAA (Medical Administrative Assistant Certification) and CEHRS (Electronic Health Records Specialist Certification) exams. Get started today!

Curriculum Details

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

The Medical Administrative Assistant career diploma prepares students for a career as an entry-level medical administrative assistant. Students will gain basic knowledge in office procedures as well as medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology. Students will develop written and oral communication skills, and they will apply their new knowledge and skills in their final course, Electronic Medical Records.

Program Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in analytical and quantitative problem-solving
  • Demonstrate computer and information literacy
  • Understand laws and regulations regarding HIPAA and confidentiality in electronic health records
  • Comprehend basic medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology
  • Understand basic pharmacology
  • Perform basic medical administrative tasks by using Electronic Medical Record software

Course 1

Starting Your Program

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


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


  • 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.

Course 2

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.


  • 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 3

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.


  • 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 4

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.


  • 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 5

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.


  • 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 6

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.


  • 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 7

CSC102 Word™ and Excel®

This course teach you how to use Microsoft® Word™ 2013 to create, edit, and illustrate documents, and how to use the most widely used spreadsheet program, Microsoft® Excel.®


  • Locate a file, open a recently used document, and retrieve a file that has been recently deleted.
  • 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 8

ENG010 Business English

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


  • 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 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.


  • Discuss the history of electronic health records
  • Perform administrative health information management functions
  • Build an electronic health record
  • Enter information into an electronic health record
  • Utilize templates to increase productivity
Additional Course Materials

Textbook: The Electronic Health Record for the Physician's Office with SimChart for the Medical Office

Simulation: SimChart for the Medical Office

Learning Aid: Certification Test Prep

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need high-speed internet access to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 7® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running OS X® or later, and an email account to participate in and complete your program.

Transfer Credits & Graduate Sooner!

Students can receive advanced academic credit for Business English and Microsoft® Word and Excel within this program. Learn more about our transfer credit policy.

Sample Lesson

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

Medical Administrative Assistant Program Credits and Lessons

Our Medical Administrative Assistant online program can help you take the next step towards your new medical career, and students may be able to receive some college credit with Penn Foster College for selected courses. Penn Foster College is licensed in the state of Arizona.

State Licensing Information

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered by your Penn Foster Program. You should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where you plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in your Program. Please click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Medical Administrative Assistant

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

Penn Foster has really changed my life, not just career-wise, but self-esteem wise. I have the motivation and the confidence that I never had before, and I owe it all to Penn Foster. I had an amazing experience with Penn Foster.

- D. Davis, Medical Administrative Assistant Graduate

Anyone who is looking to better his/her career — Penn Foster is the school for you. This school is fair and honest with their students. I am very excited to begin my new career as a Medical Administrative Assistant. Thank you Penn Foster. This was the best thing I could have done for my self. I wish I'd done this sooner in life, but I'm so grateful to have found Penn Foster Program in time for my much needed career skills. You all have been very kind and helpful all through my learning journey.

- M. Everit, Medical Administrative Assistant Graduate

Your program includes:

  • Customized payment plans with 0% interest
  • Books, learning aids, and electronic medical records software
  • Goal-setting and progress-tracking tools
  • Instructional support from our experienced faculty
  • Access 24/7 to Penn Foster’s online community, 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 do medical administrative assistants work?

Medical administrative assistants 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.

Can I transfer previously earned credits to the Penn Foster Career School Medical Administrative Assistant Career Diploma program?

Yes, you may be able to receive advanced academic credit for some courses within the program, which means you can move through your curriculum faster and earn your certificate or diploma sooner. Learn more about Penn Foster Career School's transfer credit policy.

More FAQs >

¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook," 2014-15 Edition, Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, on the Internet here. Statements found in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook are not a guarantee of any post-graduation salary, in part because the data used to create the Occupational Outlook Handbook includes workers from differing educational backgrounds, levels of experience, and geographic areas of the country.

² Copyright© 2016 Assessment Technologies Institute®, LLC. All rights reserved.

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