Medical Assistant

What is a Medical Assistant?

Medical assistants work alongside physicians, mainly in outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, such as medical offices and clinics.

CMA (AAMA) Certification:

Many employers of allied health personnel prefer, or even insist, that their medical assistants are CMA (AAMA) certified.

What is a CMA (AAMA)?

The CMA (AAMA) credential designates a medical assistant who has achieved certification through the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The CMA (AAMA) is becoming the allied health professional of choice for ambulatory health care delivery settings.

CMA (AAMA) Education:

The CMA (AAMA) is the only medical assisting certification that requires graduation from a postsecondary medical assisting program. The RVCC Medical Assisting program is CAAHEP accredited. The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs is the largest programmatic accreditor of the health sciences professions. After completing the program, RVCC students are immediately eligible to sit for the CMA (AAMA) National Exam. 

In Demand:

Employment of medical assistants is projected to increase 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than average for all occupations (7 percent).

You can see this data and more concerning the job outlook for medical assistants on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Job Responsibilities:

Medical assistants are cross-trained to perform administrative and clinical duties. Overview of duties (these may vary from office to office depending on location, size, specialty, and state law):

Administrative Duties

(may include, but not limited to):

  • Using computer applications
  • Answering telephones
  • Greeting patients
  • Updating and filing patient medical records
  • Coding and filling out insurance forms
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services
  • Handling correspondence, billing, and bookkeeping

Clinical Duties

(may include, but not limited to):

  • Taking medical histories
  • Explaining treatment procedures to patients
  • Preparing patients for examination
  • Assisting the physician with procedures
  • Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
  • Performing basic laboratory tests
  • Instructing patients about medication and special diets
  • Preparing and administering medications as directed
  • Authorizing prescription refills
  • Drawing blood
  • Taking electrocardiograms
  • Removing sutures and changing dressings

Patient Liaison:

Medical assistants are instrumental in helping patients feel at ease in the medical office and often explain the provider’s instructions.

PCMH Team Member: 

Medical assistants are essential members of the Patient-Centered Medical Home team. According to a survey by the Healthcare Intelligence Network, medical assistants ranked as one of the top five professionals necessary to the PCMH team.

Admission Requirements

  • Meet the college requirements for admission

Program Requirements

  • Have manual dexterity, hearing, and visual abilities, that meet technical standards for a medical assisting career.
  • Participate in a personal interview with the Program Director.
  • Students will be required to submit documents for practicum that may include: proof of immunizations, a criminal background check, BEAS report, drug screening, and others as requested by the workplace based learning site.
  • Students that have been found guilty of a felony, pleaded guilty to a felony, or had a professional license, registration, or certification denied, revoked, suspended, or subjected to probationary conditions by a regulatory authority or certification board are not eligible for the CMA (AAMA) Exam. The Certifying Board may grant a waiver based upon mitigating circumstances.

Applicants must submit a Request for a Waiver- forms are available online.

  • Students who have misdemeanor or felony charges involving theft, abuse, or drugs may be prevented from participating in required courses to complete the Medical Assistant Certificate.
  • Students must earn a minimum grade of “C” in all required courses to progress within the program, register for Practicum, and graduate.

The River Valley Community College Medical Assistant Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon the recommendation of Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs 9355 113th St N, #7709 Seminole, FL 33775 (727) 210-2350,

The MA Practicum is an unpaid, supervised on-site work experience consisting of a 160 hour clinical rotation in an ambulatory healthcare setting, performing psychomotor and affective competencies. Transportation to the site is the student’s responsibility.

Medical Assistant students may choose to dual major in the Medical Administrative Assistant Program. The MA curriculum may also be applied towards earning a General Studies Associate in Science Degree. 


This program of study is designed for a full-time student who completes all requirements within 4 semesters. This plan will vary for any student who has transfer credits or plans on completing the program over a period greater than 4 semesters. Please consult with your Program Director for additional information.