9 Best Medical Assistant Programs in Pennsylvania | 2024

Prepare for entry-level healthcare roles with the best Medical Assistant programs in Pennsylvania. Programs

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Discover the best Medical Assistant programs in Pennsylvania, including detailed information about their prerequisites, requirements, salary expectations after graduation, and more. Whether you'd like to apply to a program today or just generally curious about the role, you've come to the right place.

What Is a Medical Assistant Program in Pennsylvania?

Medical Assistant programs in Pennsylvania combine classroom instruction with practical clinical training to equip students with the necessary skills to support healthcare professionals in various medical settings. Graduates are trained to perform a wide range of duties, including administrative tasks, patient care, and basic clinical procedures. The goal is to prepare competent medical assistants who can contribute effectively to the healthcare team, enhancing patient care and improving the efficiency of healthcare facilities.

Medical Assistant Coursework

The coursework for a Medical Assistant program in Pennsylvania typically includes a mix of foundational medical knowledge, administrative skills, and clinical techniques. Here's a list of common coursework components:

  • Anatomy and Physiology: Understanding the structure and function of the human body.
  • Medical Terminology: Learning the language of medicine to communicate effectively with healthcare professionals and patients.
  • Clinical Procedures: Training in basic clinical tasks such as taking vital signs, administering injections, and assisting with minor surgical procedures.
  • Pharmacology: Basics of medication, including types, uses, and administration.
  • Medical Law and Ethics: An overview of legal and ethical considerations in healthcare.
  • Medical Billing and Coding: Introduction to the coding systems used for billing and insurance purposes.
  • Patient Relations: Developing skills for effective communication and interaction with patients.
  • First Aid and CPR: Certification in emergency care procedures.
  • Computer Applications in Healthcare: Using software for patient records and office management.

Medical Assistant Clinical Training

Clinical training is an essential part of a Medical Assistant program, providing hands-on experience in a real-world medical setting. This training typically includes:

  • Patient Care: Assisting with patient examinations, taking medical histories, and preparing patients for procedures.
  • Diagnostic Testing: Performing basic laboratory tests, EKGs, and preparing blood samples for testing.
  • Medical Office Procedures: Scheduling appointments, managing patient records, and handling billing and insurance processing.
  • Infection Control: Applying proper sterilization and disinfection techniques.
  • Clinical Externship: A supervised placement in a healthcare facility, allowing students to apply their skills and knowledge in a practical setting.

Best Medical Assistant Programs in Pennsylvania - Online & On-Campus

The following schools have been selected based on allnurses' methodology of surveying our readers to understand what they value most, with the addition of graduation rates, student-faculty ratio, price, mode, duration, and admission rates of hundreds of the most prominent nursing schools in the United States.

1. YTI Career Institute

YTI Career Institute offers a comprehensive Medical Assistant training program designed to equip students with the necessary skills for a successful career in the healthcare profession. The program emphasizes the importance of learning medical terminology and phrases, which is essential for effective communication within the healthcare environment.

Program Highlights:

  • A focus on both administrative and clinical duties of medical assistants.
  • Training that emphasizes the importance of medical terminology.
  • Financial aid available for those who qualify, with a team of Educational Funding Specialists to assist students in determining eligibility and managing the cost of their education.
  • Federal, institutional, and private programs to make career training more affordable, along with grant and scholarship opportunities.
  • Dedicated Career Service Advisors to assist with job placement, resume and cover letter writing, and interviewing skills. While employment is not guaranteed, the Career Services Department actively networks with prospective employers to match businesses with YTI graduates.

2. Pennsylvania Institute of Technology

The Pennsylvania Institute of Technology offers a Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) Certificate program designed to prepare students for employment in various clinical positions within the healthcare field. This program emphasizes hands-on clinical education alongside college-level classroom instruction, delivered in small classes by experienced healthcare professionals. Students are equipped with the skills necessary to complete certifications for EKG Technician, Phlebotomy, Patient Care Technician, and Clinical Medical Assistant.

Program Highlights:

  • Comprehensive training to communicate effectively, follow directions from senior medical staff, and understand the structure of the medical field.
  • Coverage of medical law and ethics, health information management, and the anatomy and physiology of human body systems.
  • Preparation for performing a wide range of tasks, including patient charting, phlebotomy, medical administrative assistance, and EKG technician duties.
  • The program is structured into three 11-week terms, allowing for rapid acquisition of essential skills and knowledge.

3. Northampton County Area Community College

Northampton County Area Community College offers a Medical Assistant Specialized Diploma designed to quickly prepare students for clinical medical assistant roles in various healthcare settings. This program, tailored to meet the needs of local medical offices, is available at the Fowler Southside Center and Pocono campuses in Pennsylvania. Graduates are qualified to work alongside physicians, performing a range of tasks from taking patients' medical history to executing routine procedures and tests.

Program Highlights:

  • Eligibility to take the Registered Medical Assistant certification exam through American Medical Technologists (RMA-AMT) upon completion.
  • A fast-paced curriculum that can be completed in just one calendar year of full-time study, including a final externship, or part-time for those needing a more flexible schedule.
  • A comprehensive externship in the final semester, providing hands-on experience in a real-world setting, enhancing skills in diagnostic procedures among other competencies.
  • Coursework covering medical terminology, healthcare reimbursement fundamentals, patient record documentation, medication administration, phlebotomy, and EKGs.

4. All-State Career School

All-State Career School offers a Medical Assisting program designed to equip students with the necessary skills and knowledge for a successful career in the healthcare field. Available in Maryland and Pennsylvania, this program focuses on a range of essential medical assisting tasks, including checking patient vital signs, scheduling and monitoring appointments, maintaining medical records, performing billing and collection procedures, preparing and maintaining exam rooms, and implementing proper infection-control and sterilization techniques. Graduates serve as a crucial liaison between the physician and patient, ensuring a smooth operation within healthcare settings.

Program Highlights:

  • Comprehensive training in both administrative and clinical aspects of medical assisting.
  • A diploma upon graduation, preparing students for entry-level positions in various healthcare environments such as chiropractor's offices, physical therapist's offices, anesthesiologist's offices, outpatient clinics, or laboratories.
  • Employment assistance services provided by dedicated instructors, including interview techniques, job leads, career fairs, and training on how to effectively search and apply for jobs.

5. Pennsylvania Highlands Community College

Pennsylvania Highlands Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in Medical Assisting Technology, designed for individuals passionate about working in the medical field and assisting in patient care and office management. This program equips students with the necessary skills to support doctors through both administrative and clinical tasks, including office management, medical billing, and insurance coding procedures.

Program Highlights:

  • Comprehensive training that prepares students to perform administrative and clinical duties in various healthcare settings.
  • Development of entry-level skills in coding, insurance billing, finance, and office procedures.
  • Enhancement of computer literacy and familiarity with software applications.
  • Cultivation of interpersonal and team participation skills, critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and the application of legal and ethical standards in practice.
  • Eligibility to apply for and take the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) exam upon graduation.

6. South Hills School of Business & Technology

South Hills School of Business & Technology offers a 13-month Online/Hybrid Diploma Program in Medical Assisting designed to prepare students for the Certified Medical Assistant credential. This program is available at the Altoona and State College Campuses and is tailored for individuals looking to start a rewarding healthcare career.

Program Highlights:

  • An online/hybrid format that requires only 2 days per week of in-class time.
  • Instructors with real-world healthcare experience.
  • Small class sizes ensuring individualized attention.
  • A curriculum reviewed yearly by working medical professionals, designed to prepare students for numerous career path opportunities.
  • A mentored "in field" internship before graduation.
  • Preparation for the Certified Medical Assistant credential.
  • Job placement assistance upon graduation.

7. Esperanza College of Eastern University

Esperanza College of Eastern University offers an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Medical Assisting, designed to prepare graduates for a fulfilling career in the healthcare industry. This program equips students with the necessary skills to support doctors and other health professionals by performing critical clinical and administrative tasks. Training encompasses basic medical functions, patient care, medical insurance, billing procedures, and technical skills essential for any working environment.

Program Highlights:

  • A solid scientific background with laboratory and class activities aimed at aspiring healthcare professionals.
  • Preparation for nationally recognized certifications, including the Certified Medical Assistant exam and Safety and First Aid Certification.
  • A comprehensive curriculum that provides general education and a heavy concentration of critical courses, preparing students for academic rigor in medical sciences.
  • A mandatory 160-hour clinical externship in an outpatient or inpatient setting, offering hands-on experience with key clinical and administrative skills.
  • Externship partnerships with notable healthcare organizations, allowing students to practice administering injections, billing, coding, and documenting electronic medical records.

8. Great Lakes Institute of Technology

The Medical Assistant program at Great Lakes Institute of Technology is meticulously designed to equip students with the essential knowledge and hands-on skills needed for a flourishing career as a medical assistant or patient care assistant. This comprehensive program ensures students are adept at performing in both clinical and administrative capacities within physicians' offices, hospitals, or personal care facilities.

Program Highlights:

  • Extensive practice in clinical procedures, laboratory techniques, and administrative responsibilities within a realistic setting.
  • Classes covering medical terminology, office accounting practices, record keeping, and other vital healthcare administration topics.
  • Clinical training areas furnished with exam tables, EKG machines, phlebotomy chairs, and standard medical office equipment to hone various patient procedures and clinical test skills.
  • A concluding externship at a local medical facility, providing valuable hands-on working experience and enabling students to immediately contribute to medical teams upon graduation.

9. Montgomery County Community College

Montgomery County Community College (Montco) offers a Medical Assisting Certificate that integrates both administrative and clinical aspects of medicine. This credit program prepares students to take on various medical assistant roles in physicians' offices, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities.

Program Outcomes:

  • Demonstrating the knowledge, skills, behaviors, values, and competencies necessary to function as entry-level Medical Assisting practitioners in line with nationally accepted standards.
  • Utilizing problem-solving methods, critical thinking skills, and interpersonal communication techniques for personal and professional growth through competency demonstration and credential attainment.

Medical Assistant Prerequisites & Requirements

Medical Assistant programs in Pennsylvania come with various prerequisites and requirements, ensuring students are ready for the challenges and rigors of the program and career.

Prerequisites of Medical Assistant Programs in Pennsylvania

  • High School Diploma or GED: Applicants must have completed high school or possess a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
  • Minimum Age Requirement: Some programs may require students to be at least 18 years old at the time of enrollment or by the time they start their clinical externship.
  • Health Immunizations: Up-to-date immunizations are typically required, including Hepatitis B, MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella), Varicella (Chickenpox), and a TB test. A flu shot may also be required.
  • Background Check: A clean criminal background check is often necessary to ensure the safety of patients and to comply with healthcare facility requirements for clinical training.
  • Drug Screening: Applicants may need to pass a drug screening test as part of the admission process.

Requirements of Medical Assistant Programs in Pennsylvania

  • Completion of Coursework: Students must complete all required coursework with a minimum grade, often a "C" or better, in both clinical and administrative subjects.
  • Clinical Practicum/Externship: Successful completion of a clinical practicum or externship is required. This hands-on training is completed in a healthcare setting, providing real-world experience under supervision.
  • Certification Exam: While not always a requirement of programs, many employers prefer or require certification. After completing the program, graduates are eligible to sit for certification exams, such as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam.
  • CPR Certification: Students must obtain CPR certification from a recognized organization like the American Heart Association or the Red Cross, which is often a requirement before starting clinical training.
  • Technical Skills Assessment: Some programs may require students to demonstrate proficiency in basic technical skills related to healthcare, such as using medical software, understanding privacy laws (HIPAA), and performing basic clinical tasks.

Medical Assistant Salary Expectations in Pennsylvania

According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for Medical Assistants in the state is $38,720, or $18.40 per hour. This is slightly lower than the average for Pennsylvania, which is $38,950.

Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 14 percent from 2022 to 2032, which is much faster than the average for other occupations.

While these figures are directional, it's important to consider the various factors that affect salary expectations, such as geography, years of experience, employer, level of education, and more.

The top-paying states include:

  • Washington: $50,350
  • District of Columbia: $50,020
  • Alaska: $49,400
  • California: $47,850
  • Minnesota: $47,330

Are Medical Assistant Programs Worth It in Pennsylvania?

Deciding whether Medical Assistant programs in Pennsylvania are worth it requires considering their various advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Medical Assistant Programs in Pennsylvania

  1. Growing Job Market: The healthcare industry in Pennsylvania is expanding, leading to an increased demand for medical assistants. This growth translates to more job opportunities and job security for graduates.
  2. Fast Training: Most Medical Assistant programs can be completed in about one to two years, allowing graduates to enter the workforce relatively quickly compared to other healthcare professions that require more extensive education.
  3. Versatile Skill Set: Graduates gain a wide range of clinical and administrative skills, making them versatile employees who can perform various tasks within a healthcare setting. This versatility can lead to greater job satisfaction and opportunities for advancement.
  4. Certification and Professional Recognition: Completing a program from an accredited institution in Pennsylvania allows graduates to sit for certification exams like the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) or RMA (Registered Medical Assistant), enhancing their employability and potentially leading to higher wages.
  5. Pathway to Further Education and Specialization: For those interested in advancing their healthcare careers, experience as a medical assistant can serve as a stepping stone to more specialized fields or further education in nursing or healthcare administration.

Cons of Medical Assistant Programs in Pennsylvania

  1. Cost of Education: The cost of completing a Medical Assistant program can be a significant investment. While less expensive than many four-year degree programs, the cost can still be a barrier for some individuals.
  2. Physical and Emotional Demands: The role of a medical assistant can be physically demanding, requiring long hours on your feet. It also involves dealing with patients in distress, which can be emotionally taxing.
  3. Limited Scope of Practice: Medical assistants have a defined scope of practice, which can limit the procedures they are allowed to perform. Some individuals may find this aspect of the job less fulfilling if they seek more direct involvement in patient care.
  4. Job Competition: In certain areas, especially urban centers with numerous training programs, the job market for medical assistants can be competitive, making it harder for some graduates to find positions immediately after completing their program.
  5. Continuing Education Requirements: To maintain certification and stay current with healthcare practices, medical assistants may need to complete continuing education, which can be time-consuming and sometimes costly.

Ultimately, whether a Medical Assistant program in Pennsylvania is worth it depends on your goals and financial situation.

Importance of Picking an Accredited Medical Assistant Program in Pennsylvania

Choosing an accredited Medical Assistant program in Pennsylvania is crucial for several reasons:

  • Quality Education: Accreditation ensures the program meets high standards for curriculum, faculty, and student resources, providing a quality education that prepares students for the workforce.
  • Certification Eligibility: Graduates from accredited programs are eligible to sit for national certification exams, such as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam, which is often required by employers.
  • Employment Opportunities: Employers prefer hiring graduates from accredited programs, recognizing their comprehensive training and readiness for the medical assisting role.
  • Transfer Credits: Credits from an accredited program are more likely to be accepted by other institutions if you decide to pursue further education.

The primary accrediting bodies for Medical Assistant programs are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Medical Assistant Programs Near Me

Discover the best Medical Assistant programs in the following states:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can I complete a Medical Assistant program in Pennsylvania on a part-time basis?

Many Medical Assistant programs in Pennsylvania offer part-time options to accommodate students who may have work or family commitments. Part-time programs allow students to complete coursework and clinical training at a pace that suits their schedule, although it may take longer to complete the program compared to full-time enrollment.

Q: What kind of job placement assistance can I expect after completing a Medical Assistant program in Pennsylvania?

Many Medical Assistant programs in Pennsylvania offer job placement assistance to help graduates find employment in the field. This assistance may include resume writing workshops, interview preparation, job search strategies, and connections with local healthcare employers. Some programs also have strong relationships with outpatient clinics, hospitals, and medical offices, which can facilitate job placement for graduates.

Q: How important is medical coding knowledge for a Medical Assistant, and is it included in the curriculum?

Medical coding knowledge is very important for Medical Assistants who perform administrative duties, as it involves accurately coding diagnoses, treatments, and procedures for billing and insurance purposes. Most Medical Assistant programs in Pennsylvania include medical billing and coding as part of the curriculum to ensure graduates are competent in this essential skill.

Q: Are Medical Assistant students in Pennsylvania trained in phlebotomy, and can they perform it as part of their clinical duties?

Medical Assistant students in Pennsylvania are typically trained in phlebotomy as part of their clinical training. This training enables them to perform blood draws and prepare specimens for laboratory testing. The ability to perform phlebotomy is a valuable skill for Medical Assistants, especially those working in outpatient care settings where blood work is a common procedure.

Q: What financial aid options are available for students enrolling in Medical Assistant programs in Pennsylvania?

Students enrolling in Medical Assistant programs in Pennsylvania may be eligible for various financial aid options to help cover the cost of their education. These options can include federal and state grants, scholarships, work-study programs, and student loans. Prospective students should contact the financial aid office of their chosen institution to explore available financial aid packages and eligibility criteria. Additionally, some programs may offer specific scholarships for students pursuing careers in healthcare.

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