Medical Assisting

Medical Assisting - Associate of Science


In keeping with the mission of the college, the mission of the Medical Assisting program at South College is to provide a quality education which prepares competent and compassionate graduates, well-qualified to meet the professional, ethical, and intellectual demands of functioning as members of the health care delivery team in an ambulatory care setting. The program seeks to:

  • Establish a firm base of knowledge in general education, medical science, and medical office routines which provides entry-level competencies in the fundamental concepts and theories applicable to medical assisting practices and procedures.
  • Engender the development of skills in clerical/administrative, clinical, and laboratory/technical areas pertinent to entry-level competencies of a medical assistant and the needs of the community and employment market.
  • Foster the growth of students into competent medical assisting professionals who will demonstrate superior principles of legal, ethical, and moral integrity.
  • Expect and provide for the continued professional development of the medical assisting faculty to assure excellence in the program's curriculum.

Role of the Medical Assistant in Health Care Delivery

Medical Assistants are multi-skilled health professionals specifically educated to work in ambulatory settings performing administrative and clinical duties. The practice of medical assisting directly influences the public's health and well-being, and requires mastery of a complex body of knowledge and specialized skills requir­ing both formal education and practical experience. The Medical Assisting  pro­gram is established based upon the CAAHEP Standards and Guidelines for Medical Assisting Educational Programs (2008 Revision) which emphasizes com­petency-based skills, as well as general knowledge. Student competencies are val­idated through performance on written and practical exams, skills performance assessments, and a clinical practicum. Graduates of the program are prepared to assist physicians in examining and treating patients, performing laboratory test­ing, and managing the administrative and clinical responsibilities associated with efficient physician office operations. The curriculum does not train for employ­ment in medical laboratories either in the state of Tennessee or any other state.

Program Requirements

All students admitted in the Medical Assisting program at South College must recognize that various occupational hazards exist in the medical laboratory and the clinical setting. All Medical Assisting students are responsible for understanding the health requirements and the general safety procedures and precautions. Throughout the training, strict adherence to OSHA guidelines and standard precautions is mandated and observed. In compliance with these guidelines and precautions, all Medical Assisting students are required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment as indicated.

Students will be required, during the course of the program, to demonstrate their physical and/or emotional fitness to meet the essential requirements of the program. These requirements include maintaining a state of good health, achieving a comprehensive knowledge base (cognitive ability), achieving procedural proficiency (psychomotor skills), and demonstrating suitable behavioral and emotional fitness (affective domain). Any appraisal measures used to determine such physical and/or emotional fitness will be in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990. A student should notify the Department Chairperson if he or she has a communicable disease. This disclosure will be handled in strict confidence and used to assure safe lab conditions. Hepatitis B vaccination and/or immunization verification is recommended.

Students applying to the Medical Assisting program must accept the following:

  1. Eligibility for the Certification Examination may be denied by the AAMA Certifying Board if the applicant for the CMA credential has been found guilty of a felony or pleaded guilty to a felony.
  2. Failure to produce proof of the following may severely limit practicum placement (possibly increasing the overall length of the program) and future employment options:
  • Negative TB test
  • Hepatitis B vaccination
  • Health release to participate in clinical practicum/physician's certification that student is in good health
  • Other immunizations, such as MMR
  • CPR and first aid training

All Medical Assisting students are required to complete a 200-hour unpaid, supervised practicum at a local medical practice weekdays during the last quarter of their program. Students are required to meet all health guidelines and dress code policies of the affiliating agencies. Drug screening may be required by the practicum locations. Failure to pass the screening will result in the student being denied placement at the associated location. Denial may result in dismissal from the program.

Prior to the beginning of AHS 2982 Medical Assisting Practicum, students are required to undergo a physical exam/health verification and to be certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid. Students are responsible for costs incurred from injury or illness while in the Medical Assisting program. Fees charged to cover physical exams, immunizations, drug screens, background checks and/or CPR/First Aid Certification are the responsibility of the student.


Program Effectiveness Data 

Retention:  88% (5 year average) 
Placement:79% (5 year average) 

The South College Certificate in Medical Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Pro¬grams (CAAHEP) upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). 

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs 
1361 Park Street 
Clearwater, FL 33756 

Students completing the Certificate in Medical Assisting program may choose to continue and earn an Associate of Science in Medical Assisting degree. 

Certification Credential

Although there is no state licensure for medical assistants, as a graduate of a CAAHEP accredited program, students are qualified to take the AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants) Certification Exam. The CMA (AAMA) credential is awarded to individuals who pass the AAMA Certification Exam. The certification exam is required and graduates who successfully complete the exam are demonstrating the mark of a profes­sional and the ability to competently perform clinical and administrative duties in a medical office. The distinction of being a Certified Medical Assistant is a credential many physician-employers require.

Admission Requirements

All students must minimally meet the requirements for general admission to South College. General admission to South College does not guarantee admission to the Medical Assisting Program.  Program admission is granted when a student has met all requirements and is successfully enrolled in his/her first clinical course, the first course in the MA curriculum in which a student is assessed on psychomotor (skill) and affective (behavior) competencies.

A maximum of three attempts will be allowed for completing courses in the Allied Health Sciences (AHS) portion of the program.

Consumer Information
* Amounts for tuition, fees, books, and supplies are subject to change. The information included here is estimated for a full-time student. *

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