Certificate and associate's degree programs in medical assisting cover the fundamental knowledge needed to work for a variety of medical specialties in a clinical and administrative capacity. After completing the program, medical assistants interested in becoming a podiatry assistant can train in a podiatrist's office. Depending on the office, they might learn to make castings of a patient's feet, develop X-rays and assist during surgery. Additionally, the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants offers podiatry assistants the opportunity to become certified, with a concentration in either administrative or clinical duties.
Here are a few common concepts taught in medical assistant courses:
- Knowledge of the human body
- Patient assessment
- Procedures in a medical office environment
- Patient records
List of Common Courses
Medical Terminology Course
Students take a medical terminology course near the beginning of most medical assistant degree or certificate programs. Doing so allows them to understand terms and abbreviations used to identify basic medical procedures and diagnoses. Lessons address symptoms and diseases, as well as prefixes and suffixes that help to more accurately describe a patient's medical condition.
Medical Office Administration Skills Course
Medical assistant and podiatry assistant jobs generally include office management and administrative duties. Students in this course learn to coordinate procedure and personnel scheduling, perform basic filing and billing procedures, and write interoffice communications. Some medical office administrative courses also include insurance billing and coding processes, though these skills might also be taught in a separate course.
Human Anatomy Course
Most medical assistants participate directly in administering patient care. Instruction in human anatomy provides them with basic knowledge of the human body, which they need when recording a patient's medical history or assessing a patient's condition and symptoms. Topics include the organs and functions of basic physiological systems, including the circulatory, nervous, respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems.
Clinical Skills for Medical Assistants Course
This course provides students with skills in patient care and assessment. Topics include office equipment sterilization, vital signs data collection and medical records maintenance. Instruction also prepares students to assist physicians during minor office surgery and to perform preliminary patient exams. A lab session that offers hands-on practice with common medical office procedures is also often included.
Pharmacology for Medical Assistants Course
This course provides instruction in the common effects of prescribed medications and their interactions with over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, nutritional supplements and homeopathic medicines. Students also learn about various legal and ethical considerations, as well as the role of governmental agencies in prescription drug approval.