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Medical Assisting
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  The Medical Assisting diploma program prepares competent entry-level medical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge,) psychomotor (skills,) and affective (behaviors) domains. This programs prepares students for employment in a variety of positions in today's medical offices. The Medical Assisting program provides learning opportunities which introduce, develop, and reinforce academic and occupational knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for job acquisition, retention, and advancement. Additionally, the program provides opportunities to upgrade present knowledge and skills or to retrain in the area of medical assisting. Medical Assistants are multi-skilled allied health professionals specifically trained to work in ambulatory settings, such as physicians' offices, clinics, and group practices, performing administrative and clinical procedures.

Program Accreditation:
The Lanier Technical College Medical Assisting diploma programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education (www.caahep.org) upon recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, 25400 U.S. Highway 19 North, Suite 158, Clearwater, FL 33763, 727-210-2350, www.caahep.org. Lanier Technical College does not accept credit for experiential learning.

Additional Requirements
- Students will be required to complete all core classes (ENGL 1010, MATH 1012, PSYC 1010, COMP 1000, ALHS 1011, and ALHS 1090) complete all core courses with a grade of C or better and a minimum GPA of 2.5 prior to beginning Medical Assisting courses. A grade of C or better is required in all Medical Assisting courses in order to graduate from the program.

- A supervised, unpaid externship in an ambulatory health care setting performing administrative and clinical procedures must be completed prior to graduation. The externship experience and instruction of students are meaningful and parallel in content and concept with the material presented in lecture and laboratory sessions. Clinical sites are selected so that each student is afforded a variety of experiences, while at the same time provided consistent learning opportunities. The students in externships are supervised, and are not allowed to receive any kind of compensation. Prior to beginning clinical/internship courses, students must order and pay for a background check and meet background check screening requirements as required by the clinical facility. Cost is approximately $50. Students must also undergo a drug screen before performing their clinical hours. Costs for the drug screen are $20-$50 per student. Any student completing externship during the months October to March will be required to obtain a flu vaccination.

The Medical Assisting Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree is designed to prepare students to enter the medical assisting profession, or add to their knowledge gained in the diploma program. Medical Assisting is one of the fastest-growing, most versatile professions in the health care industry. Combining the AAS degree with the skills learned in the diploma program prepares students to become more competitive for salary increases and job promotions.
Students who have previously earned the diploma in Medical Assisting may transfer all occupational courses into the Medical Assisting degree provided they hold a current CMA certification. For more information, contact the Admissions’ Office, or one of the medical assisting staff at Oakwood, Forsyth, or Winder-Barrow Campus.

- Students must create an account through Acemapp to be approved to begin their externship. The cost of an Acemapp account is $50.00.
 
Program Requirements  
 
 

Sample Graduation Plans
 
 
 
 
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Externship?
MAST1170 (Medical Assisting Externship) is a required class that allows the student to practice working in a medical facility.  Students are expected to perform the skills they have been taught during their Medical Assisting classes here at Lanier Technical College in both Administrative and Clinical areas.  The class requires that the student work unpaid in a physician's office.


Where can Medical Assistants work?
Medical Assistants are employed at physicians’ offices, public health departments, urgent care centers, specialty clinics and other health care facilities.


What types of duties do Medical Assistants perform?
Medical Assistants perform administrative and clinical duties.  Administrative duties include answering patient phone calls, scheduling appointments, managing medical records, handling correspondence, acting as a liaison for the medical office with insurance companies and other outside medical facilities, greeting patients, completing insurance forms, arrange for hospital admission and laboratory services, and handle billing and bookkeeping.

Clinical duties include taking vital signs and patient medical histories; explaining treatment procedures to patients; preparing patients for and assisting with examinations; collect and prepare specimens; dispose of contaminated supplies; and sterilize medical instruments.  They instruct patients about medication and special diets, prepare and administer medications as prescribed by a physician, authorize drug refills as directed, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for and perform X-rays, take EKGs, remove sutures, and change dressings. 


When are the Medical Assisting classes offered?
Medical Assisting classes are offered daytime only at the Oakwood, Forsyth and Winder campuses.


Is certification offered?
Upon completion of the Medical Assisting program, students are required to sit for the Certified Medical Assisting examination with the American Association of Medical Assistants or the Registered Medical Assisting exam with the American Medical Technologist for a fee of $125.


When are students admitted into the program?
Students are accepted each semester based on space availability.  General core courses may be taken any semester.

How long is the Medical Assisting program?
The Medical Assisting program is approximately 5 terms for full time students.


Click (+) on the following topics for more information:
Significant Points [+]

  • Employment is projected to grow much faster than average, ranking medical assistants among the fastest growing occupations over the 2008–18 decade.
  • Job prospects should be excellent.
  • About 62 percent of medical assistants work in offices of physicians.
  • Some medical assistants are trained on the job, but many complete 1-year or 2-year programs.



  • Program Instructors [+]

      Christina Cantrell  
      Medical Assisting Instructor
      Forsyth Campus
      ccantrell@laniertech.edu
      Phone: (678) 341-6623


      Johnna Connell  
      Medical Assisting Instructor
      Barrow Campus
      joconnell@laniertech.edu
      Phone: (770) 297-4514


      Wendy Sammons  
      Medical Assisting Instructor
      Oakwood Campus
      wsammons@laniertech.edu
      Phone: (770) 533-6958


      Jennifer Williams  
      Medical Assisting Program Director & Practicum Coordinator
      Oakwood Campus
      jwilliams@laniertech.edu
      Phone: (770) 533-6963





    Nature of the Work [+]

    Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, and other health practitioners running smoothly. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, depending on the location and size of the practice and the practitioner's specialty. In small practices, medical assistants usually do many different kinds of tasks, 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. Medical assistants should not be confused with physician assistants, who examine, diagnose, and treat patients under the direct supervision of a physician.

    Administrative medical assistants update and file patients' medical records, fill out insurance forms, and arrange for hospital admissions and laboratory services. They also perform tasks less specific to medical settings, such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, and handling billing and bookkeeping.

    Clinical medical assistants have various duties, depending on State law. Some common tasks include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examinations, and assisting physicians during examinations. Medical assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes perform basic laboratory tests, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. As directed by a physician, they might instruct patients about medications and special diets, prepare and administer medications, authorize drug refills, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for x rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and change dressings. Medical assistants also may arrange examining room instruments and equipment, purchase and maintain supplies and equipment, and keep waiting and examining rooms neat and clean.

    Ophthalmic medical assistants, optometric assistants, and podiatric medical assistants are examples of specialized assistants who have additional duties. Ophthalmic medical assistants help ophthalmologists provide eye care. They conduct diagnostic tests, measure and record vision, and test eye muscle function. They apply eye dressings and also show patients how to insert, remove, and care for contact lenses. Under the direction of the physician, ophthalmic medical assistants may administer eye medications. They also maintain optical and surgical instruments and may assist the ophthalmologist in surgery. Optometric assistants also help provide eye care, working with optometrists. They provide chair-side assistance, instruct patients about contact lens use and care, conduct preliminary tests on patients, and otherwise provide assistance while working directly with an optometrist. Podiatric medical assistants make castings of feet, expose and develop x rays, and assist podiatrists in surgery.




    Work Environment [+]

    Medical assistants work in well-lighted, clean environments. They constantly interact with other people and may have to handle several responsibilities at once. Most full-time medical assistants work a regular 40-hour week. However, medical assistants may work part time, evenings, or weekends.

    The Medical Assistant specializes in the application of scientific knowledge and theory in the skillful performance of their profession. Therefore, all applicants should possess:

    Physical Standards:
    • Lifting Requirements: 50 pounds.
    Lift and carry equipment and patients up to 50 pounds. Support and assist patients in and out of a wheelchair, and on and off an examination table. Frequency of the lifting requirement is 0-25% of the time.
    • Pushing requirement 200 pounds. (Push a patient weighing 200 pounds in a wheelchair).
    • Average percent of time during a regular workday spent walking, squatting, sitting, bending reaching is 25%.
    • Average percent of time during a regular workday spent standing is 75%.
    • Kneel, bend, stoop, and or crouch to perform CPR, assist patients, and to retrieve items from cabinets located below waist level. • Bend, reach above shoulder height, and or twist to position examination table, adjust equipment, or obtain supplies.
    • Fine motor dexterity should be adequate to grasp with both hands, pinch with thumb or forefinger, to manipulate equipment and delicate instruments such as microscopes, sphygmomanometers, and perform tasks such as phlebotomy, electrocardiography, drawing up and administering parenteral medications, handling small containers of potentially biohazadous specimens (one inch by one inch), using sample measuring devices such as capillary tubes, setting up and maintaining a sterile field, put on personal protective equipment, and operating controls on instruments and equipment, operate multi-line telephone systems, computer keyboards, and ten-key adding machines, and the ability to talk on the telephone and write simultaneously.
    Tactile Standards
    • Palpate pulses, muscle contractions, bony landmarks and edema.
    • Differentiate between temperature and pressure variations.

    Visual Standards
    • Adequate visual acuity, such as needed in the preparation and administration of all forms of medication, perform diagnostic laboratory procedures, and for observation necessary in patient assessment and care.
    • Read accurately numbers, letters, and cursive writing on instruments, equipment, computer screens, and paper.
    • Discriminate shapes and color in order to identify reagents and other materials such as laboratory media, stained preparations, and the physical properties of various body fluids.
    • All the above with or without corrective devices.

    Auditory Standards
    • Adequate auditory perception to receive verbal communication from patients and members of the health care team either in person or over the telephone.
    • Hear heart sounds, blood pressure sounds, patient distress sounds to assess health needs of patients.
    • Hear instrument timers and alarms.
    • Hear over the telephone, paging systems, or intercom in order to communicate with patients, and other members of the health care team.
    • All of the above with or without corrective devices.

    Communication Standards
    • Adequate communication skills (verbal, nonverbal, and written) to interact effectively with individuals.
    • Speak in the English language in clear, concise manner in order to communicate with patients (such as interviewing and taking patient history, obtaining chief complaint, and providing patient education regarding treatment plans, disease prevention, or health maintenance), families, healthcare providers, other members of the healthcare team, and the community.
    • Comprehend oral and written language including medical terminology in order to communicate with patients, families, healthcare providers, other members of the healthcare team, and the community.
    • Write in English clearly, legibly, for documentation in the medical record, complete forms, and initiate written communication.

    Mental/Cognitive Standards

    • Sufficient intellectual and emotional functions to plan and implement their duties in a responsible manner.
    • Function safely, responsibly and effectively under stressful situations.
    • Remain alert to surroundings and potential emergencies.
    • Interact effectively and appropriately with patients, families, and coworkers.
    • Display attitudes and actions consistent with ethical standards of medical assisting.
    • Maintain composure while managing and prioritizing multiple tasks.
    • Communicate an understanding of the principles of confidentiality, respect, tact, politeness, collaboration, teamwork and discretion.
    • Handle difficult interpersonal situations in a calm and tactful manner.
    • Remain calm, rational, decisive, and in control at all times, especially during emergency situations.
    • Maintain cleanliness and personal grooming consistent with close personal contact.
    • Function without causing harm to others if under the influence of prescription or over-the-counter medication.
    • Function without causing harm to others. This would include situations that may result from any mental or physical conditions.



    Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement [+]

    Medical assisting programs are offered in vocational-technical high schools, postsecondary vocational schools, and community and junior colleges. Postsecondary programs usually last either 1 year and result in a certificate or diploma, or 2 years and result in an associate degree. Courses cover anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology, as well as keyboarding, transcription, recordkeeping, accounting, and insurance processing. Students learn laboratory techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, pharmaceutical principles, the administration of medications, and first aid. They study office practices, patient relations, medical law, and ethics. There are two accrediting bodies that accredit medical assisting programs. Accredited programs often include an internship that provides practical experience in physicians' offices or other healthcare facilities. Formal training in medical assisting, while generally preferred, is not required. Many medical assistants are trained on the job, and usually only need to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. Recommended high school courses include mathematics, health, biology, keyboarding, bookkeeping, computers, and office skills. Volunteer experience in the healthcare field also is helpful. Medical assistants who are trained on the job usually spend their first few months attending training sessions and working closely with more experienced workers. Some States allow medical assistants to perform more advanced procedures, such as giving injections or taking x rays, after passing a test or taking a course.

    Other qualifications. Medical assistants deal with the public; therefore, they must be neat and well groomed and have a courteous, pleasant manner and they must be able to put patients at ease and explain physicians' instructions. They must respect the confidential nature of medical information. Clinical duties require a reasonable level of manual dexterity and visual acuity.

    Certification and advancement. Although not required, certification indicates that a medical assistant meets certain standards of knowledge. It may also help to distinguish an experienced or formally trained assistant from an entry-level assistant, which may lead to a higher salary or more employment opportunities. There are various associations—such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and Association of Medical Technologists (AMT)—that award certification credentials to medical assistants. The certification process varies by association. It is also possible to become certified in a specialty, such as podiatry, optometry, or ophthalmology. Medical assistants may also advance to other occupations through experience or additional training. For example, some may go on to teach medical assisting, and others pursue additional education to become nurses or other healthcare workers. Administrative medical assistants may advance to office managers, or qualify for a variety of administrative support occupations.



    Job Outlook [+]

    Employment is projected to grow much faster than average, ranking medical assistants among the fastest growing occupations over the 2008–18 decade. Job opportunities should be excellent, particularly for those with formal training or experience, and certification.

    Jobseekers who want to work as a medical assistant should find excellent job prospects. Medical assistants are projected to account for a very large number of new jobs, and many other opportunities will come from the need to replace workers leaving the occupation. Medical assistants with formal training or experience—particularly those with certification—should have the best job opportunities, since employers generally prefer to hire these workers.

    Employer Satisfaction Rates
    Year Positive Responses
    2015 96%
    2014 100%
    2013 100%
    2012 100%
    2011 100%
    5 Year Average 99%
    * The employer satisfaction rates reflect Lanier Technical College's Medical Assisting graduates.

    Employment change. Employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 34 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. As the healthcare industry expands because of technological advances in medicine and the growth and aging of the population, there will be an increased need for all healthcare workers. The increasing prevalence of certain conditions, such as obesity and diabetes, also will increase demand for healthcare services and medical assistants. Increasing use of medical assistants to allow doctors to care for more patients will further stimulate job growth.

    Helping to drive job growth is the increasing number of group practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities that need a high proportion of support personnel, particularly medical assistants who can handle both administrative and clinical duties. In addition, medical assistants work mostly in primary care, a consistently growing sector of the healthcare industry.



       
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