Medical Assisting Degree


Program Description

The Medical Assisting Program provides the administrative and clinical knowledge and skills necessary for employment as a Medical Assistant.  Program graduates assist physicians and other healthcare practitioners on many aspects of medical practice, including patient care management, administrative, and clinical procedures.  Clinical procedures include: assisting with physical examinations, phlebotomy (blood draw), administering injections, performing electrocardiograms (EKGs) and instrument sterilization.  An experienced Medical Assistant might serve as an office administrator.

The Medical Assisting Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 25400 U.S. Highway 19 North, Suite 158, Clearwater, FL 33756, (727) 210-2350,, on recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB),

CAAHEP requires all Medical Assisting Programs make public one or more measurable program outcomes. In compliance with this rule, South Puget Sound Community College would like to make public the following 5-year weighted average on program outcomes:

  • 95.52% Exam Passage rate
  • 97.87% Employer satisfaction rate
  • 97.44% Graduate satisfaction rate 

Career Opportunities

Graduates may be hired in a variety of settings to perform routine administrative and clinical tasks to keep healthcare delivery running smoothly.  The duties of Medical Assistants vary from office to office, depending on office location, size, and specialty.  In small practices, Medical Assistants are usually generalists, handling both administrative and clinical duties and reporting directly to an office manager, physician, or other health practitioner.  Those in large practices tend to specialize in a particular area under the supervision of department administrators.  Upon successful completion of the Medical Assisting Program an Associate in Applied Science degree, graduates are eligible to take the national certification exam offered through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).  Upon satisfactory completion of the exam, they will be qualified to use the credentials of Certified Medical Assistant CMA (AAMA).  The CMA credentials are recognized nationally; however, each state mandates the scope of practice for Medical Assistants. See Health and Wellness » Medical Assisting for more career and employment information.

Program Outcomes

At the completion of the Medical Assisting Program, the successful student will be able to:

  • Effectively, independently, and efficiently perform supportive services that may be performed by a medical assistant-certified in Washington State
  • Measure, record, interpret, and report data in both clinical and office settings
  • Adjust communications techniques to interact effectively with colleagues and patients who have diverse backgrounds, expectations, and needs
  • Engage in processes that support continual improvement

Additional Program Information


Special Admissions

Program Requirements

Based on placement testing, students may need to complete basic skills and/or pre-college English and math prior to enrollment in courses coded MED. All MED courses must be completed with a “C" or better to continue in and complete the program, and no MED courses completed more than 5 years prior to completion of the program will be accepted as part of the program. Students must provide proof of current provider-level CPR certification through the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association prior to beginning their externship (MED 159). Keyboarding skills of 45 wpm are required prior to graduation.  

AAS Degree Requirements

An Associate in Applied Science degree will be awarded upon successful completion of a minimum of 90 credits in courses numbered 100 or above.  All core and general education distribution requirements must be met, with any additional credits to be selected as electives. 

Program Advising

It is recommended that students schedule an appointment with program faculty to discuss progression in the program once they reach ENGL& 101 and MATH 094 eligibility or completion.

Health and Safety

Prior to the beginning of their second quarter in the program, students registered in the Medical Assisting Program are required to have started the Hepatitis B vaccination series and to have received a recent Tuberculosis (TB) skin test (within 60 days prior to the start of the quarter).  Documentation for each of these requirements must be presented by the first day of class in the second quarter of the program.


Entry into the Medical Assisting Program does not guarantee students a job placement, nor does it guarantee a practicum placement in Thurston County. Practicum placements require successful interviews and background checks.  Due to increased competition for practicum placements with other schools in Washington State, South Puget Sound Community College cannot guarantee that the practicum will be in the last quarter of the program or that it will be located within Thurston County.

Additional Costs (dollar values are approximate and subject to change):

Hepatitis B, MMR, DTap immunization, Varicella and Influenza vaccinations $350.00
Tuberculosis clearance $30.00
Malpractice and general liability insurance $18.00
Lab fees $80.00
Name tag $15.00
Uniforms, shoes and equipment $250.00
Textbook and supplies $800.00
Provider-level CPR certification $80.00
National certification exam $165.00
Washington State Patrol background check $10.00
7 hour online HIV training $35.00
Clinical Placements Northwest (externship) $50.00



Educational Plan

Medical Assisting

Associate in Applied Science Degree 
90-92 credits 

Core Requirements

FAID151 Basic First Aid and CPR 1 Credit Search Schedule
Basics of first aid including CPR and the use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Includes information related to trauma and medical, environmental, and pediatric emergencies as well as issues of home safety and disaster preparedness. Designed to meet or exceed the standards for first aid training: Washington Department of Labor & Industries, OSHA, and US Department of Transportation. CPR is taught to American Heart Association standards. Prerequisite: None.
or current first aid card
OFTEC136 Microsoft Word I 5 Credits Search Schedule
Overview of MS Word for Windows software using a personal computer. Basic document creating, editing, and assembly; text formatting, tables, columns, macros, templates, styles, and mail merge. The ability to keyboard by touch 20 words a minute recommended. This course was formerly known as CIS 136. Prerequisite: OFTEC 108 (formerly CIS 108) or OFTEC 100 (formerly CIS 100).
BIOL&175 Human Biology w/ Lab 5 Credits Search Schedule
Covers elementary anatomy and physiology of the human body. Appropriate for non-majors (not for Nursing or Biology majors). Core requirement for the Medical Assisting program. Prerequisite: None.
BIOL&241 Human A & P 1 5 Credits Search Schedule
The study of the structure and function of the human body. Topics include cellular organization, metabolism, histology, integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. (Four lecture, three lab hours weekly) This course was formerly known as BIOL 205. Prerequisite: CHEM& 121 (formerly CHEM 101) or higher with a "C" or better.
BIOL&242 Human A & P 2 5 Credits Search Schedule
A continuation of BIOL& 241. Systems covered: endocrine, reproductive, cardiovascular, respiratory, lymphatic, urinary (including fluid and electrolytes) and digestive. (Four lecture, three lab hours weekly) This course was formerly known as BIOL 206. Prerequisite: BIOL& 241 (formerly BIOL 205) with a "C" or better.

MED102 Medical Law, Ethics and Bioethics 2 Credits Search Schedule
Examines how ethics are derived from culture, religion, education, and environment, and then applies to medical ethics and bioethics. Includes, professionalism, risk management, and scarcity of resources. Explores health occupations, local community resources, and death and dying issues. Legal guidelines for healthcare employees and knowledge of federal and state healthcare legislation and regulations are also explored. Prerequisite: None.
MED103 Medical Terminology I 3 Credits Search Schedule
Study and construction of medical terms by learning and combining word roots, suffixes and prefixes. Emphasis on construction usage, definition, pronunciation and spelling. Prerequisite: None.

1st Quarter

MED104 Medical Terminology II 5 Credits Search Schedule
Using basic word roots, combining forms, prefixes, and suffixes: correlates basic human anatomy and physiology with medical terminology. Major medical specialties, aspects of pathology, and surgical and diagnostic procedures included. Pharmacological terms, medical abbreviations, and overview of diagnostic and imaging procedures addressed. This course was formerly known as MED 112. Prerequisite: MED 103 with a "C" or better.
MED150 Medical Office Exposure Control Medical Assistan 4 Credits Search Schedule
Study of all components of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) exposure control plan as pertinent to medical assisting program clinical laboratory assignments. Includes sterilization and disinfection techniques, microbiology as related to the infectious process cycle and orientation to office minor surgery. Personal and employee safety and emergency plans are explored, including, but not limited to, disaster preparedness. Prevention, transmission and treatment of AIDS are also discussed. Prerequisite: MED 151 (formerly MED 137) with a "C" or better or concurrent enrollment.
MED151 Medical Administrative Procedures 5 Credits Search Schedule
Covers theory and skills related to the administrative procedures performed in an ambulatory healthcare setting. Introduces administrative work using an Electronic Medical Record (EMR). Prerequisite: ENGL& 101 and MATH 094 and MED 103 with a "C" or better.

2nd Quarter

MED115 Diagnostic Coding for the Outpatient Coder 5 Credits Search Schedule
Focuses on the translation of patient data and written diagnoses into diagnostic codes that identify diseases, conditions, and signs and symptoms. Emphasizes accuracy in coding and the rules of diagnostic coding. Prerequisite: MED 103 with a "C" or better and eligible for ENGL& 101.
MED152 Disease Conditions and Treatments 4 Credits Search Schedule
Etiology, signs, symptoms, diagnostic and treatment modalities relating to various human diseases. Includes prevention, prognosis, and instructions for patient care and equipment. This course was formerly known as MED 121. Prerequisite: MED 101 or MED 150 with a "C" or better.
MED153 Medical Assisting Externship Seminar 1 Credit Search Schedule
This course brings together students to prepare for externship and to discuss issues in the work place. There is an emphasis on communication, professionalism, and the importance of continuing education. Employment opportunities, job search skills, resume writing, and interview techniques will be addressed. Discussion of state certification guidelines with a focus on the AAMA certification exam. Prerequisite: MED 150 and MED 151 (formerly MED 137) with a "C" or better and concurrent enrollment with MED 152 and 154.
MED154 Clinical Procedures for Medical Assistants 4 Credits Search Schedule
Covers theory and skills used in ambulatory care settings to assist providers with routine and specialty examinations and treatments. Also covers the management of clinical documentation and correspondence within an Electronic Medical Record (EMR). Prerequisite: "C" or better in the following: MED 150, MED 151, and BIOL& 175.

3rd Quarter

MED120 CPT Coding for the Outpatient Coder 5 Credits Search Schedule
Provides instruction for outpatient coders to interpret various source documents and translate written narrative into numeric procedure codes. Uses CMS 1500 insurance claim forms and includes an overview of HCPCS. Concurrent enrollment in MED 115 is recommended. Prerequisite: MED 103 with a "C" or better and eligible for ENGL& 101.
MED155 Diagnostic Procedures for Medical Assistants 4 Credits Search Schedule
Theory and skills used in the medical office laboratory. Includes microscopy, microbiology, urinalysis, phlebotomy, electrocardiography and respiratory testing. Collection of specimens and their correct processing, including throat, urine and blood. Includes capillary puncture and venipuncture. This course was formerly known as MED 136. Prerequisite: MED 152 (formerly MED 121) and MED 154 (formerly MED 135) with a "C" or better.
MED156 Pharmacology for Medical Assistants 3 Credits Search Schedule
Covers pharmacological procedures including preparation and administration of medications, records and documentation, pharmacokinetics, dosage calculations, legal and regulatory issues, and patient education. This course was formerly known as MED 148. Prerequisite: MED 152 (formerly MED 121), MED 154 (formerly MED 135) with a "C" or better.

4th Quarter

MED159 Externship for Medical Assistants 6 Credits Search Schedule
200 unpaid hours of administrative and clinical functions as a medical assistant student in a physician's office, clinic, or health care facility. This course was formerly known as MED 145. Prerequisite: MED 150, MED 151 (formerly MED 137), MED 152 (formerly MED 121), MED 154 (formerly MED 135), MED 155 (formerly MED 136) and MED 156 (formerly MED 148) with a "C" or better.

General Education Requirement


ENGL&101 English Composition I 5 Credits Search Schedule
Develops writing skills by focusing on strategies and techniques writers use to convey ideas, evaluate information, make a point, and participate in multiple discourse communities. Emphasizes both the process and the product of writing. This course was formerly known as WRIT 101, College Writing I. Prerequisite: Appropriate placement test scores OR appropriate completion of ENGL 095, ENGL 095X, or ENGL 098 OR concurrent enrollment in ENGL 110 with instructor's permission.

5 Credits in COMPUTATION
MATH 101 or any math class listed under the Quantitative Category on the Distribution Requirements for General Education for the Associate in Arts /Associate in Science direct transfer degrees

3-5 credits - Note that CMST&230 does not satisfy the diversity requirement. All other Human Relations options do satisfy the diversity requirement.


Electives: The associate degree program requires completion of at least 10 additional college-level credits. 

Effective Catalog Year 2017-2018, Revised June 12, 2017