Medical Assistant at South Hills School of Business & Technology

Medical Assistant

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

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* The specialized associate degree Medical Assistant program is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Upon successful completion of the Medical Assistant program, graduates are eligible to apply to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

“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

Medical Assistant Course List for 2018-19

This program information appears in the 2018-19 school catalog. Click here to download all course descriptions.

TermCourse #Course NameCreditsClock Hours  
First TermMD102Anatomy & Physiology I5.560
MD103Anatomy & Physiology I Lab0.510
GE179Mathematics for Health Care Professionals4.060
GE207Applied Psychology in Health Care3.036
GE183Business English I4.060
PD110Professional Development2.024
MD108Medical Terminology I3.036
First Term Totals:23.0306
Second TermMD106Anatomy & Physiology II5.560
MD107Anatomy & Physiology II Lab0.510
MD109Medical Terminology II3.036
CP284Microsoft Word4.560
HI228Introduction to the Health Care Field4.060
GE184Business English II4.060
Second Term Totals:21.5286
Third TermGE210Business English III3.560
HI226ICD Coding I4.560
DS103First Aid & CPR-AHA0.510
MA206Clinical Skills4.560
Third Term Totals:23.0310
Fourth TermMA103Laboratory Procedures3.560
HI227ICD Coding II4.560
CP287Microsoft Excel4.560
MD240Medical Administrative Skills I4.560
Fourth Term Totals:24.0324
Fifth TermCD207Job Search Skills2.024
MD212Principles of Medical Insurance4.560
MA201Medical Seminar2.536
GE178Human Relations in the Workplace2.536
HI229Medical Legal Aspects3.036
GE213Oral Business Communications2.024
Fifth Term Totals:21.0276
Sixth TermCD200Career Preparation0.510
CD201Certification Preparation for the Medical Assistant2.021
MA203Medical Assistant Internship11.0330
Sixth Term Totals:13.5361

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:

Meet the Faculty

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.

Brenda Ream Stover, RHIT CCS CPC

Full-time Instructor
State College Main Campus

Brenda previously served at Centre Community Hospital [Mount Nittany Medical Center] for 12 years as a transcriptionist, coder, and later as a supervisor for the coding and transcription departments.

Brenda’s accreditations include:
• Certified Professional Coder (CPC), AAPC July 2013
• Approved ICD-10-CM/PCS Trainer, AHIMA September 2009
• Certified Coding Specialist (CCS), AHIMA September 1998
• Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT), AHIMA November 1991

She holds the following professional memberships:
• AHIMA—American Health Information Management Association
• PHIMA— Pennsylvania Health Information Management Association
• CPHIMA—Central Pennsylvania Health Information Management Association
• AAPC—American Academy of Professional Coders

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.

Laina DeCriscio, CMA (AAMA)

MA Program Coordinator / Instructor
Lewistown Campus

Laina DeCriscio has been the Medical Assistant Program Coordinator for South Hills School of Business & Technology’s Lewistown location since late 2017. Laina received her medical assisting education from Des Moines Area Community College in Des Moines, Iowa. She has been practicing as a medical assistant for the past 10 years in both family practice and urgent care settings. Laina also received her Bachelors of Biology from Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa.

Holly Ipock (MAEd)

Adjunct Instructor
Lewistown Campus

Holly Ipock earned a degree in Medical Assisting in 1992 and went on to earn her bachelor's degree in School Health Education K-12 in 2009 from East Carolina University. She taught in the Health and Human Performance department at ECU while working on and receiving her master's degree in Health Education. She is currently working on obtaining a doctorate in Educational Leadership through Cappella University.

In 1999, she moved from Liverpool, PA to North Carolina where she worked in OB/Gyn for many years and trained to be a doula to assist in delivering babies. When she returned to Pennsylvania in 2016, she joined the wonderful faculty of South Hills where she teaches allied health courses to students of the Medical Assistant program.

Cindy McCracken

Adjunct Instructor
Lewistown Campus

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 Committees

State College Main Campus
Member NameJob TitleCompany
Jennifer LongstrethACCESS ManagerGeisinger Gray's Woods
 Shannon HilliardNurse Leader Primary CareMount Nittany Physician Group
 Rian RoanRevenue Cycle ManagerMount Nittany Physician Group
Hannah Killinger, CPCRemote CoderConifer Health Solutions
Laura MossDirctor Revenue CycleMount Nittany Physician Group
Kathy KocetNurse Leader Medical SpecialtiesMount Nittany Physician Group
Ashley ShueyCertified Medical AssistantMount Nittany Physician Group
Mary BresslerOffice ManagerComplete Medical Billing Solutions
Altoona Campus
Member NameJob TitleCompany
Amy ReighardAdministratorBlair Gastroenterology
Anna O'ShallOffice ManagerJohn Anastasi, MD
Ann Marie BombaOffice ManagerENT Associates of Central PA
Carrie MorenoClinical DirectorAllegheny Regional Endoscopy
Deb PeckaOwnerReiki Center for Body and Mind
Kaitlyn Gates-FranksTechnicianUPMC Altoona
Mary AltmanshoferOffice ManagerBert Altmanshofer, DPM & Associates, LTD
Mary MyersOffice ManagerAltoona Ophthalmology Associates
Michelle SmithOffice ManagerPediatric Health Care Associates
Rachel McMullenManagerBlair Orthopedics
Savannah EsmailiMedical AssistantBlair Medical Associates
Toni BissacoOffice ManagerWomen's Laser and Health Care
Gina LecheneMSNUPMC Altoona
Lewistown Campus
Member NameJob TitleCompany
Sherri ArdRegistered Nurse, BSNGeisinger-Lewistown Hospital
Holly BakerRegistered Medical AssistantGeisinger-Women's Health
Andrea BrechbielRegistered Medical AssistantBroad Top Area Medical-Pediatric Care Center
Tracey CarolusTalent AcquisitionGeisinger-Lewistown Hospital
Patricia DavidsonOutreach WorkerThe Primary Health Network
Eric Egelman, DPMPodiatrist/Practice OwnerEgelman Foot & Ankle
Lauren FisherLPN/Health CoachPrimary Health Network
Kirk Gilbert, Ph. D.Science Instructor/Rural Health EducatorPSU Learning Center
Mary Alyce Nelson, MSN, RNAssistant & Director of Clinical Services/ Director of NursingPSU Health Services
Phyllis PalmRegistered NurseRetired-Lewistown Hospital Administrator
Jody PetersLPN/Office ManagerPrimary Health Network
Tiffany WaldenRegistered Medical AssistantMount Nittany Pediatrics
Taylor YetterRegistered Medical AssistantPrimary Health Network
Kenton StuckOwner CEO/RealtorIn Home Services of Central PA

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.