Associate of Applied Science (AAS): Medical Assisting Degree Overview
The Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting program, typically two years in duration, prepares students for entry-level administrative and clinical positions in healthcare settings.
In an AAS in medical assisting program, students typically spend part of the program learning administrative tasks, such as medical transcription, insurance coding and billing, medical record management and billing. The clinical portion teaches candidates to draw blood, administer medication, record medical histories and take vital signs. Students must be able to complete clinical rotations during the day, night or weekends. Voluntary certification is also available to graduates of this program, which increases a job seeker's chance of employment.
- Prerequisites: Include a high school diploma or equivalent, proof of English and math proficiency, and a criminal background check.
- Program Length: 2 years
- Other Requirements: Clinical rotations
Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting
Coursework in a 2-year medical assisting associate degree program trains students in economic and legal theories, as well as general administrative tasks. In addition to general coursework, they complete lab studies and participate in supervised clinical rotations. Courses that medical assisting students take often include:
- Medical terminology
- Medical office procedures
- Medical business practices
- Human body systems
Popular Career Options
Medical assistants can find positions in many clinical settings. They typically work with a licensed physician and complete routine tasks that occur during the examination process. Possible career titles for graduates of this program include:
- Clinical medical assistant
- Administrative medical assistant
- Administrative support
- Patient care coordinator
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that medical assistants could expect an employment increase of up to 29% between 2012 and 2022, providing them with many career possibilities (www.bls.gov). Medical assisting is considered, by the BLS, as one of the fastest growing careers for that decade. The May 2014 median wage for medical assistants was $29,960.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of the medical assisting AAS program may seek immediate employment or transfer to 4-year colleges to advance their education in healthcare through a bachelor's degree. Certification is not required for employment, but is a way to demonstrate proficiency and knowledge of the standards. Individuals can obtain certification through the American Medical Technologists organization and the American Association of Medical Assistants. Certification in a specific specialty area is also available.