In Massachusetts, aspiring medical assistants can look to community and technical colleges, which offer undergraduate certificate programs, ranging from 25-36 credit hours, or associate's degrees. Additionally, one school listed in this article offers a diploma program that requires students to complete two semesters of coursework. Topics of study include health care terminology, medical transcription, health care laws and ethics, medical insurance and billing, pharmacology, medical office software and office management. Students can also gain skills in first aid, venipuncture and phlebotomy. Several programs integrate externship work, allowing students to gain hands-on experience in the field.
Although certification or licensure isn't required to work in the field, prospective employers will often give preference to medical assistants who have also earned professional certification. Four organizations in the United States award certification, including the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), which awards the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, and the National Healthcareer Association, which gives out the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) credential. Read on to learn more about medical assistant programs offered in Massachusetts.
Bunker Hill Community College
Bunker Hill Community College offers a 25-credit-hour medical assistant certificate program at the college's Chelsea campus. The program includes courses in clinical practice principles, clinical skills and medical office procedures. Students also choose to take a course in health employment issues or human growth development. Hands-on medical assistant training is completed through a practicum. Graduates come away with the skills needed to treat patients clinically and perform phlebotomy and EKG tasks. Graduates will also have developed medical office and computer skills.
Cape Cod Community College
Cape Cod Community College, found in West Barnstable, provides a 29-credit-hour medical assisting certificate program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and qualifies graduates to take the exam for the CMA credential. Courses in the program cover psychology, anatomy, physiology, medical office procedures, office communications, first aid, and medical terminology. In order to finish this program, 160 hours of clinical work must be completed.
Students can find medical assistant certificate and associate's degree programs at Boston's Fisher College. Both programs include classes in pharmacology, medical terminology, medical office administrative procedures, anatomy and physiology, and medical insurance billing. Students in the associate's degree program are required to fulfill additional general education requirements, along with courses in medical record transcription, disease, and medical ethics and law. All medical assistant students complete internships. The certificate program requires 36 credit hours, and the associate's degree program consists of 63 credit hours.
Massasoit Community College
Massasoit Community College offers a medical assistant certificate program at the college's campus in Canton. Students completing the 38-credit-hour minimum for the CAAHEP-accredited program can take the CMA exam. Course topics include medical office management, anatomy, medical terminology, physiology, medical ethics, laboratory procedures, and medical law. Students get to participate in a clinical externship.
Middlesex Community College
Bedford's Middlesex Community College offers a 29-credit-hour medical assisting certificate program, as well as a medical assisting associate's degree program that requires 60-62 credit hours. Both CAAHEP-accredited programs require courses in medical terminology, basic clinical skills, administrative medical assisting, and medical transcription. Students in the associate's degree program take additional general education courses. All medical assisting students participate in an externship. Graduates of these programs qualify to take the CMA exam.
Mount Wachusett Community College
Mount Wachusett Community College can be found in Gardner and offers a medical assisting associate's degree program that can be finished in 61-62 credit hours. The program is accredited by the CAAHEP. In addition to general education courses, students complete classes in medical billing and coding, medical machine transcription, medical terminology, medical legal concepts, pharmacology, and medical secretarial procedures. Externships allow students to participate in professional development.
Southeastern Technical Institute
Students earn a diploma in medical assisting through the 2-semester program at South Easton's Southeastern Technical Institute. This program accepts 26 students, and graduates are qualified to take the CMA certification exam. Coursework trains students in medical terminology, lab techniques, pharmacology math, medical office computer applications, management techniques, medical transcription, and other topics. Before graduation, students are expected to develop hands-on skills through a 240-hour clinical externship.
Springfield Technical Community College
This community college in Springfield allows aspiring medical assistants the chance to earn a certificate or associate's degree in the field. The 29-credit-hour certificate program features courses in medical computer applications, dosage and calculations, pharmacology, medical office management, venipuncture techniques, legal concepts, and phlebotomy. The 60-credit hour associate's degree program requires the same courses, plus general education and advanced medical assistant courses. Interested graduates can take national phlebotomy certification exams. Both of these programs are accredited by CAAHEP.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Medical Assistant Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)|
|Bunker Hill Community College||2-year, public; large city||Medical Assistant Certificate||$3,576 in-state, $8,520 out-of-state*|
|Cape Cod Community College||2-year, public; small city||Medical Assisting Certificate||$4,212 in-state, $9,136 out-of-state*|
|Fisher College||4-year, private not-for-profit; large city|| Medical Assisting Certificate,
Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
|Massasoit Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Medical Assistant Certificate||$4,488 in-state, $9,432 out-of-state*|
|Middlesex Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Medical Assisting Certificate,
Associate in Science in Medical Assisting
|$4,514 in-state, $9,458 out-of-state*|
|Mount Wachusett Community College||2-year, public; fringe rural||Associate of Science in Medical Assisting||$5,188 in-state, $10,108 out-of-state*|
|Southeastern Technical Institute||Less than 2-year, public; large suburb||Medical Assisting Diploma||$5,790*|
|Springfield Technical Community College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Medical Assistant Certificate of Completion,
Medical Assistant Associate of Science
|$5,436 in-state, $11,946 out-of-state*|
Sources: *NCES College Navigator