Medical Assistant Career Diploma Course Details

Penn Foster’s online, self-paced Medical Assistant diploma program can help students prepare for industry-standard exams from home. Geared toward building foundational skills, you’ll cover courses from an Introduction to Medical Terminology to a Clinical Procedures lab to build your knowledge in the field.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

To provide students with the concepts and skills to gain employment in an outpatient setting. Students will be prepared to perform administrative and clinical duties under the direction of a physician, mid-level provider, or licensed nurse.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...
  • Explain the role, responsibilities, scope of practice, standards of care, and credentials of medical assistants
  • Using correct terminology, differentiate among the structures and their functions within the six levels of structural organization of the human body
  • Identify etiology, processes, symptoms, and treatments for common diseases
  • Apply ethical standards and legal responsibilities, including those related to the confidentiality of personal health information, to patient care
  • Describe basic medical administrative tasks using electronic medical record software
  • Perform clinical and laboratory procedures applicable to the role of a medical assistant in medical office and laboratory settings
  • Perform administrative duties applicable to the role of a medical assistant in medical office and laboratory settings

In this course, you’ll develop the necessary skills to ensure your success in the program. You’ll learn how you can improve your study skills, so you’re able to use a number of tools that will help you to be successful. This course will also introduce you to healthcare, the healthcare industry in the United States, and the roles that healthcare workers play in that industry.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify skills needed to be a confident and independent online learner
  • Describe the United States health care industry and the professional roles within it

In this course, you’ll learn how law affects healthcare practitioners, 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 healthcare information, and the laws regulating healthcare information collected and maintained by government agencies.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Interpret civil and criminal laws related to healthcare
  • Assess ethical issues healthcare professionals face today
  • Analyze confidentiality laws and regulations

This course introduces the reimbursement process and the various methodologies involved, such as fee-for-service and episode-of-care methodologies. The course also covers important information regarding payment systems, fee schedules, chargemasters, coding, and the internal audit process. Finally, the course explains the fundamentals and types of health insurance and provides test preparation for the certification exam.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Discuss various reimbursement methodologies and payment systems
  • Define health insurance

This course will familiarize you with various body systems including medical terms, structure, function, diseases, disorders, and treatments. You’ll also learn drug delivery systems, drug administration routes, drug classifications, and commonly used medications for various organ system disorders.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Define medical terms and regions and structures of the body by analyzing medical terms
  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, diseases, and treatments of the cardiovascular and hematologic systems
  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, diseases, and treatments of the respiratory and endocrine systems
  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, diseases, and treatments of the gastrointestinal, urinary, and reproductive systems

This course is a continuation of Body Systems and Medical Terminology 1. You’ll continue to learn about various body systems, drug delivery systems, drug administration routes, drug classifications, and commonly used medications for various organ system disorders. You’ll also learn basic medication calculations, storage, how to assist patients with administration, and proper documentation.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, and diseases and treatments of the integumentary and musculoskeletal systems
  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, and diseases and treatments of the sensory and nervous systems
  • Identify the anatomy, physiology, and diseases and treatments of the immune system

This course describes healthcare professionals who can identify the four subdivisions of pharmacology and different drug classifications, including vitamins and minerals. Pathology and Pharmacology will also prepare you to explain the causes of infectious disease and techniques used to stop its spread. Finally, you’ll review the basic etiology of common diseases and conditions.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe four subdivisions of pharmacology: pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, pharmacotherapeutics, and toxicology
  • Identify different drug classifications, including vitamins and minerals, which a patient may take for a variety of health conditions
  • Explain causes of infection, disease, and techniques used to stop the spread of infectious disease
  • Explain basic etiology of common diseases and conditions

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.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the contents of the Electronic Health Record, application of SimChart for the Medical Office, and security, privacy, and confidentiality associated with medical records
  • Explain the administrative and clinical roles in the medical office and functions within the EHR that are utilized routinely in these roles
  • Describe the billing and reimbursement process and the use of both patient portals and personal health records in continuity of patient care
  • Complete simulated health records in SimCharts

In this course, you’ll begin with an overview of coding concepts, terms, and procedures. You’ll explore the history of the ICD-10 coding system. You’ll code diagnoses in the ICD-10-CM and use the chapter-specific coding guidelines to code diseases and conditions with specific and unique rules. You’ll then learn how to code procedures in the ICD-10-PCS, rounding out your training in the basics of coding with ICD-10.

Then, you’ll concentrate on the diagnoses or procedures that don’t seem to fit into any specific coding category. You’ll also learn about general coding guidelines for inpatient and outpatient procedures and physician office coding using CPT, HCPCS Level I, and HCPCS Level II procedure coding.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain how to use the ICD-10-CM to assign codes for medical diagnoses
  • Identify the purpose of the ICD-10-PCS and how it’s used
  • Outline the procedure for assigning codes from the E/M and Anesthesia sections of CPT
  • Outline the types of services and procedures described in the CPT
  • Explain the types of procedures coded in the hemic, lymphatic, digestive, reproductive, and urogenital systems
  • Describe the procedures coded in the endocrine, nervous, ocular, auditory, radiology, pathology, and medicine sections of the CPT
  • Identify codes pertaining to the respiratory, orthopedic, digestive, and circulatory systems

This course, Clinical Procedures Theory, will provide you with the theoretical principles and clinical skills that are essential to working as a medical assistant. These tasks range from greeting patients and getting information from them to administering injectable medication and teaching patients about special procedures and their plan of care. An applied learning approach to the role of the medical assistant is threaded throughout each unit of the textbook.

The specific tasks assigned to you as a medical assistant depends upon many different factors, including the following:

  • The laws of the state in which you work
  • The policies that apply in the medical setting in which you work
  • The physician or physicians for whom you work
  • Your own level of skill and professionalism

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Categorize the concepts of professional communication with safe practice of OSHA standards of infection control
  • Analyze therapeutic communication, vital signs, and other skills required for successful patient interactions
  • Point out the procedures used when assisting with medication
  • Compare the essential diagnostic procedures and the skills needed to perform them
  • Categorize the procedures used when analyzing blood and urine
  • Prepare a handout for an in-servicing training

This course focuses on clinical lab procedures. The first thing to take care of while working in a clinical lab is safety. The spread of infection and diseases can compromise the specimens and the people who work in the labs. As you plan on taking the responsibilities associated with the healthcare setting, you must understand that discipline is extremely important to analyze and perform the tasks related to labs. This course will not only provide you with tasks to practice your skills in the field, it will also help you understand the effective techniques used to ease the lab processes. Read the lessons carefully and apply the knowledge on completing the tasks assigned in the course to be a successful healthcare professional.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Analyze the processes related to infection control, asepsis, and inhalation medication
  • Categorize the various lab procedures and the methods related to them
  • Apply knowledge of medicine administration by completing a drug calculation exam

The medical assistant externship provides you with hands-on training in a primary care clinic, an urgent care clinic, or a medical practice. The goal of this externship is to provide you with the hands-on experience necessary for developing your skills as a medical assistant. You'll practice under the direct supervision of a certified medical assistant, nurse, physician assistant, or medical doctor. This externship consists of 160 hours of clinical experience. You're required to complete and submit weekly timesheets signed by your externship preceptor.

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Demonstrate the skills and abilities required of a medical assistant through an externship experience

Competencies:

  • Measuring vital signs
  • Practicing standard precautions
  • Taking a medical history
  • Administering medication
  • Administering injections
  • Scheduling patients and displaying office skills
  • Performing coding, billing, and collections in the office setting
  • Obtaining pediatric growth measurements
  • Obtaining lab specimens
  • Performing venipuncture and capillary puncture
  • Assisting a physician during an exam
  • Performing sterile technique
  • Operating an autoclave
  • Teaching patients’ self-examination and providing patient education

Additional Details

  • 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 in the Penn Foster College Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Penn Foster College Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster College has been nationally accredited for over 40 years, and has met the high standards of integrity and performance set by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC) in Washington, D.C. Penn Foster College has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations and licensing. We also participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

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A Committed Support System

While you can study independently, you’re not alone! With a dedicated Student Services department, the Student Community, and instructors just a call away, you’ll have access to the support you need.

Webinars

Over the course of the Penn Foster Medical Assistant program, you will have the opportunity to attend recorded webinars to help you better understand your lessons. The webinars will allow you to ask our instructors questions in real time.

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Progress Tracking and Goal Setting Tools

Our customizable goal-setting tools will help you create a schedule and stick to it. Need some extra time to complete a lesson? Not a problem — you can adjust your study plan at any time to set a pace that works for you.

Student Community

Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers — as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff — to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.

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Sample Medical Assistant Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, with materials broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what your medical assistant classes would look like.

Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, Microsoft® Office 2019 or Microsoft 365®, and an email account to complete this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.