Medical Assistant

Two-Year Associate in Specialized Business (ASB) Degree Program
Available in State College (ABHES Accredited*), Altoona (ABHES Accredited*), and Lewistown**

The Medical Assistant program at South Hills will prepare you to use both administrative and clinical skills in a medical setting. Students learn to perform tasks such as records management and billing, as well as clinical procedures ranging from collecting specimens to administering medication (as state law permits).

Our MA graduates work alongside physicians in a wide variety of settings, including: medical and surgical hospitals, medical offices and clinics, physicians’ offices, outpatient care centers, ambulatory care facilities, and professional schools. Other career opportunities include: electrocardiography technician, phlebotomist, and emergency department technician.

In order to be successful in this program, students must be comfortable working closely with people of all kinds, drawing blood, and handling lab specimens. Additionally, they must demonstrate integrity and respect and embrace change, growth, and learning.

Upon successful completion of Medical Assistant program at State College or Altoona, graduates are eligible to apply to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination. MA graduates at the Lewistown location are eligible to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam.

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* The specialized associate degree Medical Assistant program at the State College and Altoona campuses is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Upon successful completion of the Medical Assistant program at State College or Altoona, graduates are eligible to apply to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination.

** Upon successful completion of the Medical Assistant program at Lewistown, graduates are eligible to apply to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) examination.

“One unique feature of our program is that students complete their competencies before their internship. As a result, we receive a lot of compliments from the internship sites, and many of those internships turn into full-time jobs for the students.”

Crystal Douglas
MA State College Main Campus Program Coordinator / Instructor at the State College Main Campus

MA Graduates Can Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Only Two Years with St. Francis University!

South Hills students graduating with the Associate in Specialized Business Degree in Medical Assistant are eligible for a bachelor degree completion program in Healthcare Management or Health Studies through St. Francis University Office of Adult Degree & Continuing Studies.

Finish your Bachelor of Science degree in Healthcare Management or Health Studies in only two years or less through online, weekend, and evening classes in State College or Altoona. South Hills students will be guaranteed acceptance with a 2.0 GPA and up to 64 credits from our HIT program will automatically transfer into the program. Students and alumni may transfer in additional credits through military or other colleges as applicable, accepting up to 98 credits. The customizable curriculum allows you to take as few or as many classes as you want so you can balance work, family, and life. Financial aid is available to those who qualify. This program can also be completed fully online. Both programs are also fully online.

For more information about Bachelor's degree completion, visit the St. Francis website or call the Office of Adult Degree & Continuing Studies at 814-472-3012.

Objectives and Skills


Through a comprehensive educational training program including attention to theory, practice, and application, students in the Medical Assistant program will develop the knowledge, skills, and attributes:

  1. To prepare the student to function competently at an entry level, principally in a physician’s office or clinic.
  2. To provide adequate information, demonstration, and practice of medical assistant administrative skills for the healthcare field to insure student competency in this area.
  3. To provide adequate information, demonstration, and practice of medical assistant clinical skills for the healthcare field to insure student competency in this area.
  4. To provide adequate information, demonstration, and practice of medical assistant laboratory skills for the healthcare field to insure student competency in this area.
  5. To provide an adequate foundation of knowledge in medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, disease processes and conditions.
  6. To provide an adequate foundation of knowledge and hands on practice to understand proper aseptic techniques, and diagnostic and treatment procedures commonly performed in the physician’s office.
  7. To prepare the student for employment in the health care field, emphasizing the need for maturity, responsibility, and attention to detail that is essential for all health care employees.
  8. To provide the student with information and skills needed to take the CMA (AAMA) exam.

At the completion of this program, the student will be able to:

  1. Communicate effectively and professionally in speech and in writing.
  2. Use appropriate technological tools to assist in the efficient completion of assigned job responsibilities.
  3. Perform administrative duties as assigned in a medical office.
  4. Perform clinical duties as assigned in a medical office.
  5. Conduct themselves appropriately in order to maintain positive working relationships with employers, co-workers, and clients.
  6. Acquire the background knowledge necessary in order to understand historical and current business practices in their field.
  7. Function competently in a business environment, displaying traits of and meeting expectations for a valued employee.
  8. Identify print and electronic resources to continually expand their knowledge and skills through on-going professional development.
  9. Respect confidential information obtained through employment unless legally authorized or required by responsible performance of duty to divulge such information.

Complete Course List

Medical Assistant Course List for 2016-17

This program information appears in the 2016-17 school catalog. Click here to download all course descriptions.

CodeCourseCreditsClock Hours
 
FIRST TERM
MD102Anatomy & Physiology I5.560
MD103Anatomy & Physiology I Lab0.510
GE179Mathematics for Health Care Professionals460
OS103Keyboarding120
GE207Applied Psychology in Health Care336
EN104Business English I460
PD110Professional Development224
MD108Medical Terminology I336
TOTAL CREDITS / CLOCK HOURS23306
 
SECOND TERM
MD106Anatomy & Physiology II5.560
MD107Anatomy & Physiology II Lab0.510
MD109Medical Terminology II336
CP284Microsoft Word4.560
HI228Introduction to the Health Care Field460
EN105Business English II460
TOTAL CREDITS / CLOCK HOURS21.5286
 
THIRD TERM
GE210Business English III3.560
MA305Electrocardiography4.560
HI226ICD Coding I4.560
HI102Pathophysiology5.560
MA206Clinical Skills 4.560
TOTAL CREDITS / CLOCK HOURS22.5300
 
FOURTH TERM
MA111Laboratory Procedures I460
HI227ICD Coding II4.560
HI225CPT-4448
CP283Microsoft Office460
MD240Medical Administrative Skills I4.560
MD242Pharmacology336
TOTAL CREDITS / CLOCK HOURS24324
 
FIFTH TERM
CD207Job Search Skills224
MD241Medical Insurance Forms4.560
MA306Medical Seminar2.536
MA207Laboratory Procedures II4.560
GE178Human Relations in the Workplace2.536
HI229Medical Legal Aspects336
DS103First Aid & CPR-AHA0.510
GE213Oral Business Communications224
TOTAL CREDITS / CLOCK HOURS21.5286
 
SIXTH TERM
CD308Career Preparation0.510
CD309Certification Preparation for the Medical Assistant221
MA603Medical Assistant Internship11330
TOTAL CREDITS / CLOCK HOURS13.5361

Careers in Medical Assistant


Our MA graduates work alongside physicians, mainly in outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, such as medical offices and clinics. Other opportunities include:

  • Electrocardiography Technician
  • Phlebotomist
  • Emergency Department Technician

Our students are placed in outstanding internship environments where they have the opportunity to put their classroom experience to work in the real world prior to graduation. We have placed interns at locations including but not limited to:


South Hills Medical Assistant graduates are well-trained and in demand for their skillsets and work ethics. Some of the many locations employing our graduates including but not limited to:

Crystal Douglas

MA Program Coordinator / Instructor
State College Main Campus


Crystal Douglas has been the Medical Assistant Program Coordinator at the State College campus since the program’s launch at South Hills School of Business & Technology in 2009. She is a Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA), and a Surgical Technologist with over 15 years experience in the allied healthcare field.

Crystal graduated from Mount Aloysius College and has worked for primary care physicians and several specialties including Endocrinology, Surgery, and Behavioral Health. Crystal brings her expertise and experiences from the healthcare community to her classroom, motivating and challenging while educating her South Hills MA students.

Pam Meister

Full-time Instructor
State College Main Campus


Pam Meister has taught at South Hills for 18 years. Pam is an instructor of anatomy and physiology and other health-related classes. She is a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with a BSN in Nursing. Pam has practiced throughout the U.S. in the areas of Medical-Surgical, Psychiatric, and OR Nursing. She is a member of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International which promotes professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education. She is also a member of the Anatomy & Physiology Society, Inc., which is dedicated to promoting excellence in the teaching of human anatomy and physiology.

Sonya Witmer

Adjunct Instructor
State College Main Campus


Suzanne Feathers

MA Program Coordinator / Instructor
Altoona Campus


Suzanne Feathers is the Medical Assistant Program Coordinator for Altoona South Hills campus. Suzanne specializes in allied health education for Medical Assistant, Administrative Medical Assistant, and Health Information Technology students. Before joining the South Hills family, Suzanne was an educator at Computer Learning Network and Cambria-Rowe Business College, where she spent over twelve years as an Allied Health Instructor, Program Coordinator and Program Director.

Suzanne holds AHIMA certifications in Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) and as an AHIMA ICD10CM/PCS Coding Trainer. She has been a Certified Medical Assistant since 1995, becoming an LPN in 2012. Suzanne holds a Master’s degree in Health Administration with a minor in Education.

Her professional experience includes employment in skilled nursing facilities, physicians’ offices (including Family Practice and several specialists) working in the capacity of Office Manager, Insurance Billing and Coding Specialist, Medical Assistant, and LPN. She also served several years as a phlebotomist for American Red Cross.

Mary Prorok

Full-time Instructor
Altoona Campus


Mary Prorok is the Administrative Medical Assistant advisor for South Hills Altoona campus. Mary specializes in allied health education for Medical Assistant s, Administrative Medical Assistants, and Health Information Technology students. Mary earned her RN Associate’s degree from Mount Aloysius College and continued her education from Saint Francis College and Indiana University of Pennsylvania earning a Bachelor's and Master's degree in nursing.

Her nursing experience includes staff nursing on a medical-surgical unit, mental health instructor in a hospital school of nursing, and adjunct faculty at Mount Aloysius College. She is also currently an instructor of CPR and First Aid classes through the American Heart Association.

Mary has interest and experience in complementary medicine and that adds a holistic approach to the student and to the classroom.

Bettina Peterson CMA (AAMA)

MA Program Coordinator / Instructor
Lewistown Location


Bettina is the Program Coordinator for the Medical Assistant program at the South Hills Lewistown Campus. Bettina has been a Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) since 1982, a registered Histologic Technician (ASCP) since 1984, an Emergency Medical Technician (PADOH) since 1987, and a Certified Allied Health Instructor (AMT) since 2016. She has worked for Carlisle Regional Medical Center, Lewistown Hospital, and Geisinger Health System.

With experience in pharmacy, cardiopulmonary/respiratory therapy, anatomical laboratory, Mohs surgery, and family practice medicine, she brings over 30 years of experience to the Medical Assistant program.

She lives on the outskirts of Port Royal with her husband, Jim. They have two daughters; one a physical therapist, and the other, an English teacher. They are blessed to have a granddaughter and spend most of their time with family.

Cindy McCracken

Instructor
Lewistown Location


Cindy McCracken came to South Hills in 2015 with 18 years of previous teaching experience in the administrative and clinical medical assistant fields. She has a BSN degree from Goshen College in Indiana and an Education Specialist Certification from PSU. She has experience as a school nurse, a pediatric office nurse, and a coder for a general surgeon.

Her home is in Huntingdon where she lives with her husband, John. They have 4 children and 5 grandchildren. Besides teaching and family life, backpacking through Israel, Switzerland, Germany, and France; living in Arizona, Bermuda, and Massachusetts; and spending 3 months in an internship on the island of Guadeloupe have given her many unusual experiences.

 

Program Advisory Board Members

State College Main Campus
NameTitleCompany
Deborah Aigner CRNPACCESS CoordinatorAltoona Area School District
Mary BresslerRevenue Cycle ManagerMount Nittany Physician Group
Gail A. Brown MOAIIMOA2 SupervisorPenn State Hershey Medical Group
Laurie HallManager, Organizational DevelopmentUniversity Orthopedics Center
Carol HaywoodClearMed ProviderClearfield Hospital
Shannon HilliardDirector of NursingMount Nittany Physician Group
Jennifer LongstrethClinic SupervisorGeisinger Clinic – Philipsburg and Bellefonte
E. Louise MyersPractice ManagerTyrone Medical Associates
Sonya Witmer, MS, RHIA, CDIPSr. Quality Informatics SpecialistPenn State Hershey Medical Center
Altoona Campus
NameTitleCompany
Ann Marie BombaPractice AdministratorENT Associates of Central PA
Kathy WilkOffice ManagerMainline Medical Associates
Deborah Aigner, CRNPACCESS CoordinatorAltoona Area School District
Amy ReighardNurse ManagerBlair Gastroenterology Associates
Elizabeth Zabinski, CMA (AAMA)Medical AssistantAllegheny Health Care Staffing
E. Louise MyersPractice ManagerTyrone Medical Associates
Mary ThayerOffice ManagerCardiology Associates of Altoona
Michele ScanlanHR DirectorHome Nursing Agency
Patricia GeeseyEmployment CoordinatorUPMC Altoona
Sherri StayerPractice ManagerAltoona Lung Associates
Lewistown Location
NameTitleCompany
Sherri Ard, RNNurseGeisinger-Lewistown Hospital
Tracey CarolusTalent AcquisitionGeisinger-Lewistown Hospital
Eric M. Egelman, D.P.M.Owner/PodiatristEgelman Foot and Ankle
Kirk A. Gilbert, Ph.D.InstructorPenn State Learning Center-Lewistown
Mary Alyce Nelson, MSN, RNAdjunct Faculty
Nursing Instructor/Assistant Director of Clinical Operations
Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital School of Nursing
Pennsylvania State University, University Health Services
Phyllis Palm, RNRetired Lewistown Hospital Administrator
Kenton StuckFounder, CEO In Home Services of Central PA
Lauren Fisher, LPNHealth CoachPrimary Health Network
Jody PetersPractice ManagerPrimary Health Network
Patricia DonaldsonPublic Relations RepresentativePrimary Health Network
Taylor YetterMA Graduate-LewistownPrimary Heath Network
Tiffany WaldenMA Graduate-Lewistown Mount Nittany Pediatrics, Boalsburg
Andrea BrechbielMA Graduate-Lewistown Interviewing
Holly BakerMA Graduate-LewistownDr. Rajeshwar Malhotra OB/GYN

For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please view the Medical Assistant Disclosures page on our website.