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Medical Assistant Degree FAQs

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Medical assistants perform essential functions for doctor’s offices and clinics for allied health. At Bryan University, we offer an associate in applied science degree for medical assistants.

Today, we answer several FAQs for obtaining a medical assistant degree.

What kind of degree should a medical assistant have?

A medical assistant degree should offer enough training to help you pass a certification exam. 

How long does it take to become a medical assistant?

Depending on the degree, anywhere from nine months to two years. At Bryan University, you can obtain an associate in applied science degree in medical assisting in 70 weeks (one year and five months).

What certification does a medical assistant require before obtaining a job? 

Certification for medical assistants depends on the requirements of each allied health employer.

A few national credentialing agencies certify for medical assisting. Bryan University’s associate in applied science degree prepares you for the certification exam of American Medical Technologists (AMT).

Masked medical assistant talking on the phone in front of a computer

How does a medical assistant degree prepare you for the workplace?

An associate in applied science degree in medical assisting from Bryan University provides you with the necessary skills to function in a medical office environment for both the front and back-office areas.

What skills do you need to become a medical assistant?

Medical assistants need to become proficient in several skills to perform their jobs, including:

  • Oral and written communication
  • Computer and data entry
  • Records management
  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Mail organization
  • Telephone usage

What will I learn while pursuing a medical assistant degree?

Courses for a medical assistant degree run the gamut of specialized knowledge you need to help run the day-to-day operations of a medical office.

You will learn:

  • Medical terminology
  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Legal requirements associated with the medical field
  • How to measure vital signs
  • Administering medications
  • How to perform diagnostic and laboratory tests.

What courses are required for a medical assistant degree?

Bryan University offers an associate in applied science degree for medical assistants that takes 90 quarter credit hours and 1,205 contact (in-class instruction) hours to complete.

You must take three support courses and five general education courses as part of your degree program.

You will complete 12 core courses at 4.5 quarter credit hours each:

  • Medical terminology
  • Two courses on anatomy and physiology
  • Medical law & ethics
  • Medical office administration
  • Electronic medical records management
  • Pathophysiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical
  • Laboratory
  • Medical insurance & billing procedures
  • Externship at a medical office.

This knowledge base prepares you for certification through American Medical Technologists (AMT) for medical assisting.

Smiling medical assistant typing on a laptop computer

What are some advanced courses I will take for a medical assistant degree?

At Bryan University, some advanced courses for medical assisting include the following:

MAA250 Pathophysiology. Pathophysiology represents the study of how the disease alters normal physiology processes. You will study the causes of disease, neoplasms, congenital diseases, diseases that affect all body systems, childhood diseases, pain management, and holistic health. You must take and pass courses on medical terminology and anatomy and physiology before taking this course.

MAA260 Pharmacology. You will discuss and study various types of drugs and become familiar with the forms by which allied health professionals administer medications to patients. Students will learn to identify the most common medications by classification and the body system they are most commonly used for. You must take and pass courses on medical terminology as well as anatomy and physiology before taking this course.

MAA270 Clinical. This course prepares you to perform routine medical procedures found during a medical exam. You will learn to take vital signs and measurements, administer aseptic techniques, drape a patient for medical exams, and document someone’s medical history. Pupils will also study how to assist with minor surgical procedures, perform EKGs, administer injections using subcutaneous, intradermal, intramuscular, and Z-track techniques. You will become certified to perform CPR, perform procedures according to the instructor’s competency standards, and learn how to handle potential office emergencies. You must have a 2.0 cGPA in all completed core courses before taking this course.

MAA280 Laboratory. Students learn about various pathological agents that cause disease in humans. Diagnostic testing will include several common laboratory tests you will need to know about in a medical office setting, such as culturing and staining for identification, staining of white blood cells for differentiation counts, performance of hematocrit and hemoglobin lab tests, as well as blood testing for antigens, antibodies and glucose. Urine will be tested and stained for microscopic sediments. You must have a 2.0 cGPA in all completed core courses before taking this course.

What daily duties do medical assistants perform?

Medical assistants perform several duties at a medical office throughout the day, including administrative and clinical tasks.

You will be expected to perform the following administrative tasks:

  • Greet patients upon arriving
  • Instruct new patients to fill out forms
  • Update patient medical records
  • Fill out and code insurance forms correctly
  • Schedule future appointments
  • Answer telephones
  • Respond to and send emails
  • Arrange for hospital admissions and laboratory services.

Medical assistants may also perform the following clinical duties related to a patient’s medical care:

  • Record medical histories
  • Take vital signs
  • Explain treatments and medical procedures to patients
  • Prep patients for examinations done by clinical staff
  • Assist physicians during examinations
  • Collect and prepare laboratory specimens
  • Mail and receive medical test samples and results
  • Instruct patients on medication and special diets as prescribed by doctors
  • Handle prescription refills as directed by a physician
  • Draw blood from a patient
  • Care for a wound
  • Change a dressing
  • Perform electrocardiograms
  • Prepare and administer medications such as injections, oral, and transdermal medications.

Medical Assistant talking on the phone in front of a computer

Where do medical assistants work?

Medical assistants work in doctor’s offices and clinics.

What jobs do medical assistants get after obtaining a degree and certification?

Medical assistants typically get entry-level jobs in medical offices after earning certification as a medical assistant.

How do I apply for acceptance into a medical assistant degree program?

You can apply online through Bryan University’s enrollment portal.

To qualify for admission to any program at Bryan University, you must meet seven basic requirements.

  1. Provide evidence of one of the following items: high school diploma, completion of a homeschooling program, or GED certificate or equivalent.
  2. Be 18 years of age or beyond the age of compulsory school attendance.
  3. Complete an interactive interview with Bryan University’s admissions staff (face-to-face or web-based).
  4. Complete and submit our application for admission.
  5. Complete the Assessment for Distance Education Programs/Courses and Online Student Orientation (if required).
  6. Submit an application fee (if required).
  7. Acknowledge that the presence of any adverse background activity or an adverse drug screen may prevent you from participating in externships, career services activities, and/or license and certification eligibility.

Once you meet these basic requirements for admission, you may need to fulfill these prerequisites for the School of Allied Health.

For the associate in applied science degree, you must:

  1. Achieve the required threshold score or higher on the Wonderlic Scholastic Level Examination administered by Bryan University.
  2. Official ACT composite score of at least 17 or SAT score of at least 460 on both sections of the exam.
  3. A minimum of 13.5 quarter credit hours (9 semester credit hours) earned from an accredited institution recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

What help can I get when applying for a medical assistant job?

Bryan University’s career services staff helps you with several aspects of trying to find a medical assisting job following graduation.

We will help you with updating resumes, job referrals, job search strategies, and interviewing skills.

Earn a Medical Assistant Degree at Bryan University

Are you interested in jumpstarting a career as a medical assistant? Contact us or call 1-855-862-9755 for more information.

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