Medical Assisting/Patient Services
If working in the medical field is a dream of yours, the Medical Assisting training program at Stellar Career College is a great place to get started. In this program, you can prepare to work along side physicians and other healthcare professionals in a challenging and fast-paced environment.
Medical Assistants assist the physicians and nurses with examining and treating patients. The objective of this program is to provide students with the knowledge and skills to work at an entry-level position at a medical facility. The program provides the knowledge and skills in the structure and systems of the human body, procedures to assist the nurses and physicians, injections, vein-punctures, and emergency procedures, including EKG rhythm recognition. In addition to clinical skills, the program also trains medical assistants to be able to perform the administrative as well as patient support services functions that keep a medical practice operating, including such skills as telephone techniques, written communications, scheduling, referrals, ordering supplies, controlling inventory, and maintaining records. Upon successful completion of the program a diploma awarded.
Program duration is 36 weeks for part time students. Currently offered from 8:00am to 12:35pm, Monday through Thursday on campus.
Gain real-world experience through training and externship.
Hands-on, instructor-led didactic training in the college lab including 200 hours of clinical externship.
Class sizes are typically less that 15 students.
As a graduate from our program you will have learned medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, disease processes, customer service skills, as well as a variety routine medical procedures. You will also be prepared for the reputable Medical Assistant certification from the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) certifying agency.
Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to:
- List professional qualities of a medical assistant and their scope of practice
- Describe components of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Identify the components that create the structure of medical terms.
- Explain the process of screening patients to their level of care.
- List average vital sign ranges and recognize abnormalities related to all vital signs.
- List CLIA-waived tests that are associated with common diseases.
- Describe the process of capillary puncture.
- Identify common sites and different methods for venipuncture.
- Explain the proper order of draw using blood collection tubes.
- Explain what wave patterns are on the ECG and recognize basic rhythms.
- Describe how a normal vs. an abnormal ECG would appear.
- Describe equations and conversions used to calculate medication dosages.
- Identify symbols and abbreviations used in the medical profession.
- Compare prescription and nonprescription drugs.
- Identify common routes and methods of drug administration and related safety precautions.
- Identify and explain professional skills related to the workplace.
- Describe why critical thinking skills are important for patient care.
- Explain why teamwork is important in a workplace setting.
- Explain how lifelong learning is a component of professionalism.
As a graduate from Stellar Career College's Medical Assistant program, you will be qualified to work in a variety of healthcare environments, including private medical offices, physician offices, and health clinics.
As a graduate from our program you will be prepared for entry-level employment as a(n):
- Medical Assistant O*NET (31-9092.00) Medical Assistants
CNA vs. CMA: Typical Job Duties
In this section, we will take an in-depth look at the difference between CNA and CMA (certified nursing assistant and certified medical assistant) job duties.
Certified Medical Assistants:
The job duties of certified medical assistants vary, depending on each medical facility's guidelines, job description, and the specialty area of the health care professional that presides over patient care in that facility. CMA job duties may include both clinical and administrative tasks.
Some administrative responsibilities that certified medical assistants may perform include scheduling appointments, updating and maintaining medical records, and billing. Clinical and patient care duties may involve performing venipunctures to obtain blood specimens for laboratory testing, measuring and recording vital signs, performing EKGs, and assisting doctors or nurse practitioners with examinations.
Certified Nursing Assistants:
CNAs work under the direction and supervision of licensed nursing professionals, such as licensed practical/vocational nurses and registered nurses. Certified nursing assistants typically provide hands-on direct patient care that is focused on basic care and comfort.
For instance, some CNA responsibilities include:
• Bathe, dress, and feed patients as needed
• Monitor and record vital signs and report to the nurse
• Keep the patient’s personal space clean (make beds, empty trash)
• Assist patients with transfers from bed to chair or wheelchair
• Assist with walking, as needed
• Some may provide transportation to and from medical appointments
Differences in Scope of Practice
Some states have statutes that address a certified medical assistant's scope of practice. However, many do not. In states where no regulatory guidance is in place, a CMAs scope of practice is typically determined by education, the comfort level of providers who are delegating tasks, and demonstration of clinical competency.
The scope of practice for certified nursing assistants is determined by state boards of nursing where the CNA is licensed to work. Activities that are typically covered in a CNA scope of practice include providing basic daily patient care, assist with movement such as transfers and mobility, monitoring nutritional intake and monitoring, and reporting patient vital signs.
Differences in Certification & Licensure Requirements
After completing a medical assistant program, medical assistants can pursue certification by taking a CMA Certification Examination. After becoming certified, medical assistants must renew their certification every five years. Currently, there are three major certifying agencies that offer medical assistant certification.
1. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA):
One of the most widely recognized certifications for medical assistants is offered through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The examination covers material across a broad scope of information, including general, administrative, and clinical skills categories. The AAMA CMA exam includes four 40-minute segments of testing with a total of 200 multiple-choice questions.
3. The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) administers the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certification.
Neither state licensure nor certification is required for a medical assistant to be employed. However, without certification and licensure, medical assistants may face restrictions on some of the tasks that can perform. For example, some states require medical assistants who take x-rays or who practice venipunctures (drawing blood) to be certified in those skills.
Upon completion of a certified nursing assistant program, nursing assistants must earn state nursing assistant certification before they can practice as a CNA. Candidates for certification must complete a state-approved program and have evidence that clinical hour requirements have been met. CNA competency examinations are designed to test a nursing assistant’s nursing skills and knowledge related to patient care.
CNA vs. CMA: How Long Does It Take to Become?
The path to becoming a CMA vs CNA varies. If you wish you to become a certified medical assistant, the two most popular options are:
1. Obtain an associate degree in medical assisting at an accredited school (This takes about two years to complete) or
2. Get a one-year certification through a technical school or community college.
Nursing assistant programs are shorter than certified medical assistant programs. They may last from four to twelve weeks, depending on the school. The training required for CNA certification includes classroom instruction and clinical training supervised by an instructor and/or preceptor at a nursing facility. Each state sets its own minimum practice guidelines and determines the number of classroom and clinical hours a nurse assistant student must complete before being eligible to take the certification examination.
CMA vs. CNA: Where Do They Typically Work?
Typically, certified medical assistants work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, physician's offices, and other healthcare facilities. Because they are trained in both administrative office tasks and clinical patient care, they are an integral part of the healthcare team. Therefore, they may find that securing job placement is not as difficult as some other professions.
Like CMAs, certified nursing assistants can work in any healthcare setting that provides direct patient care, especially if it is focused on basic care and comfort. Long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and retirement or assisted living centers, are common places of employment for CNAs. However, they may also be employed in home health facilities, hospitals, and hospices, among other settings.
CNA vs. CMA: Job Outlook
Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports, the employment of certified nursing assistant is expected to experience a projected growth of 9 percent from 2018 to 2028. Another report from the BLS suggests that certified medical assistants will see a 23 percent increase within the same time.
The number of the baby-boom population that is aging is believed to be one of the main factors that will influence the increased job growth. As individuals live longer and experience age-related changes or develop chronic conditions such as arthritis and other diseases, the need for more qualified healthcare professionals will increase.
The Bottom Line: CNA or CMA which is better?
There are several differences in a career as a CMA vs CNA. Both careers offer an opportunity to provide care to patients in a variety of healthcare settings and to be an essential part of the healthcare delivery team. When deciding which career may be better suited for your long-term personal goals, consider the amount of money and time you want to invest in school, whether you plan to pursue a higher degree later, and the type of work you want to do. Because the healthcare industry is always growing and expanding, a career as either a certified medical assistant or a certified nursing assistant increases the potential of steady, long-term employment opportunities.