School and Ranking Information
There are about a dozen options for schools with medical assisting degree programs in the Portland area. Based on program offerings, cost and location, the top three schools are as follows:
- Winner: Portland Community College (PCC) is the most affordable, with in-state tuition and fees tallying just over $3,000 in 2012-2013, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Its program is also the most centrally located.
- Runner-Up #1: Everest Institute had the highest graduation rate and awarded the most certificates in 2011-2012, per NCES.
- Runner-Up #2: Clackamas Community College (CCC) offers a certificate program and prepares students for the certification examinations conducted by the American Association of Medical Assistants.
School Comparison Chart
|Category||Portland Community College||Everest Institute||Clackamas Community College|
|Location||Portland, OR||Tigard, OR (11.5 miles from Portland)||Milwaukie, OR (14.9 miles from Portland)|
|School Type||Two-year, public||Less than two-year, private for profit||Two-year, public|
|Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2012-2013)||$3,232 (in-state), $7,696 (out-of-state)*||$14,571 (medical assistant program)*||$3,908 (in-state), $10,883 (out-of-state)*|
|Medical Assisting Levels Offered||Certificate||Certificate||Certificate|
|Medical Assisting Certificates Awarded in 2011-2012||41*||158*||11*|
|Graduation Rate (in 150% of normal program time) for 2008 Entering Class||14% (22% transfer-out-rate)*||71%*||14% (35% transfer-out rate)*|
|Noteworthy||Largest post-secondary institution in Oregon||Program includes hands-on learning, along with an externship||Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics.
Winner: Portland Community College
- Graduates are eligible to sit for the American Association of Medical Assistants' national certifying exam
- Program is accredited by the CAAHEP
- School comprises three campuses and seven educational standards
PCC's 47-credit medical assisting program includes basic anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, medical laws and patient psychology coursework, which prepares its students to perform both administrative and clinical duties under the supervision of physicians. In addition to coursework, students complete a six-credit practicum. The school noted that the normal time to complete the program is nine months (approximately three terms). The program is offered at the Cascade campus in the heart of Portland.
Runner-Up #1: Everest Institute
- Medical/clinical assistant is the school's largest program, according to NCES
- The school boasted a 71% graduation rate for students who began in 2008-2009, according to NCES
Everest Institute in Tigard awarded over half of its total certificates to those in the medical assisting field, according to NCES in 2011-2012. Its medical assistant program uses hands-on learning to prepare students for jobs in clinics, doctors' offices or medical or surgical centers. Coursework delves into patient care, pharmacology, lab procedures and therapeutic care. Participation in an externship is required upon completion of this program's coursework.
Runner-Up #2: Clackamas Community College
- Successful completers may sit for either the National Association of Medical Assistants or American Medical Technologist national certification exam
- In 2011-2012, NCES stated 72% of students received grant or scholarship aid
CCC offers students a medical assistant program that awards a certificate upon completion, which gains them access to two major national certification examinations. During the three-term program, students are required to complete classes such as human and general biology, medical terminology, clinical lab procedures and medical office coding and management. The last six weeks of the third term include two practicum sessions, before which students are required to acquire first aid and Health Care Provider level CPR certifications. The curriculum also includes a phlebotomy course, which develops a student's basic understanding of blood collection and handling techniques.