Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting: Degree Overview

An Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Medical Assisting degree program is ideal for individuals who are interested in working under the supervision of physicians in clinics, hospitals, or medical offices. In this two-year curriculum, students learn the administrative and medical skills needed to aid patients before and after seeing their primary care provider.

Essential Information

Those enrolled in an AAS program for medical assisting learn to perform a variety of duties, including receptionist responsibilities, medical coding, bookkeeping, medical record keeping, and obtaining/recording vital signs. In addition to courses and clinical rotations, students may participate in cooperative education to gain hands-on training in a medical setting.

  • Experiential Learning: Cooperative education
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
  • Program Length: 2 years

Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting

Students typically spend the first year of this program developing clerical skills. After that, coursework focuses on medical terminology and management skills while also completing clinical education. Graduates should be able to demonstrate problem-solving skills, professionalism, and proficiency in performing clinical duties and laboratory procedures. Course topics may include:

  • Health information systems
  • Pharmacology
  • Basic electrocardiography
  • Medical ethics and law
  • Human anatomy and physiology

Popular Career Options

Medical or clinical assistants are trained to perform many duties within a medical setting. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), physicians' offices employed the highest number of medical or clinical assistants in May 2014 (www.bls.gov). Some popular career titles for this occupation include:

  • Medical assistant
  • Administrative medical assistant
  • Clinical medical assistant
  • Ophthalmic medical assistant
  • Podiatric medical assistant

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

As reported by the BLS, employment growth for medical assistants is projected to increase 29% over the 2012-2022 period. Most medical assistants in May 2014 earned salaries between $21,540 and $42,760 annually, while the median wage was $29,960.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates of medical or clinical AAS programs can seek employment immediately after graduation or may pursue further studies. Some may enroll in further training or bachelor's degree programs to become nurses, teachers or other healthcare professionals.

Medical assistants are not required to have certification, but many choose to do so to demonstrate their knowledge of the required medical standards for the profession to increase job prospects. Certification can be obtained through the American Medical Technologists (AMT) and the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

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