Medical Assisting

Medical Assisting

Make a Difference in the Healthcare Industry

Medical assistants are multi-skilled health professionals who work in ambulatory settings, where they perform administrative and clinical duties.

It’s a job for people who are organized, interested in helping patients, and have excellent communication skills and a team-oriented attitude.

As a medical assisting student, you’ll master a complex body of knowledge and develop specialized skills with a combination of classroom, laboratory, and computer experience, plus a practicum in an ambulatory care clinic.

You'll earn your one-year diploma first, then take additional courses to earn your associate's degree.

Apply Now Program Details Degree Program Costs

Kirkwood offers more than $3 million in scholarships for students each year.

Students in this program may be eligible to have half their tuition paid for by the Kibbie Grant.

Graduates of the Medical Assisting program will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate proficiency in the administrative functions in the healthcare setting.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in the clinical functions in the healthcare setting.
  3. Perform within the legal and ethical standards of the medical assisting profession.
  4. Prepare and provide a variety of instruction within the healthcare setting.
  5. Demonstrate effective oral and written communication with patients and medical professionals.
  6. Exhibit professionalism in the workplace.

A one-hour program conference is required prior to acceptance to the program. You'll learn more about the program, specific admissions requirements and have the opportunity to have questions answered by program faculty and staff.

Additional Program Requirements

To get into the Medical Assisting program, you must meet the following additional standards. These steps/requirements are in addition to Kirkwood's steps to become a student

  • Attend a program conference
  • Apply to the program
  • Complete prerequisite course with a C- or better:
    • Basic Anatomy & Physiology (3 credits)
  • Have placement test scores or course equivalents on file with the Allied Health office

If college-level placement is not met, students are recommended to meet with an advisor. Kirkwood and Medical Assisting admissions policies and procedures are subject to change at any time. After all admissions criteria are met, students are accepted or placed on the waitlist to the Medical Assisting program.

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After you earn your diploma, you can take the nationally recognized Certified Medical Assistant exam. Most employers require you to earn certification within a year of graduation.

Successful completion of this program qualifies you to test for licensure and/or certification in any state in the U.S.

Medical assistants work at:

  • Physician’s offices, family practice or specialty offices
  • Hospitals/clinics
  • Public health clinics
  • Laboratories
  • Phlebotomist
  • Unit secretary
  • Patient service representative

Where can I learn more?

The Kirkwood Medical Assisting diploma program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants Endowment (MAERB).

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
25400 U.S. Highway 19 North, Suite 158
Clearwater, FL 33756

Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) annual report outcomes for 2018 - 2019:


Retention: 88.89%

Job Placement: 68%

Exam Passage: 78.05%



Retention: 75.86%

Job Placement: 82.86%

Exam Passage: 93.94%

The mission of the Kirkwood Medical Assisting Program is to provide competent entry-level medical assistants who in turn provide exceptional quality health care under the supervision of their licensed employer.  Certification and recertification will promote our graduates to be lifelong learners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where do medical assistants work?
Medical assistants are employed in physicians’ offices and outpatient clinics. They may work in administration or patient care, sometimes both. Medical assistants may also work as unit secretaries in hospitals, as phlebotomists, and as lab, EKG and pharmacy technicians.

How much will I earn?
The average starting wage for the 2008 graduating class was $12.50-$14.50 per hour.

Will I be able to give shots and draw blood?
As part of your program you will learn to draw blood, test specimens, and give injections.

How does a medical assisting student practice his/her skills?
Students practice by demonstration, simulation, and practice on classmates.

Do I need a physical and hepatitis vaccination before I start the program?
The requirements for physical and immunizations will be discussed during program orientation when you are asked to set up your CastleBranch account.

Will I need a uniform or any special supplies?
For med lab, clinical procedures, and externship experience, you will wear ceil blue scrubs, a white lab coat, white leather shoes and hose/socks, and a name badge. You will need a watch with a second hand and a stethoscope for these classes.

Do I need proof of CPR?
You must provide proof of a completion of a recognized CPR course. It must be at the health care provider level.

What about tattoos and piercings?
In lab and externship, all tattoos must be covered. Only one small earring per ear; no other piercings are allowed.

Is a background check required?
Yes, this is part of the admin office procedures course and will be completed through CastleBranch.

What courses should I take in high school?
Biology, accounting, typing, English and computer classes would be helpful. Some high schools offer Health Care Academy, which covers some core courses.

What Kirkwood courses can I take before beginning the program?
You can take Professionals in Health; Health Skills I; Keyboarding I; Basic Anatomy and Physiology; Microcomputer Literacy; First Aid Concepts; Fundamentals of Communication or equivalent; Medical Terminology (4cr) and AAS degree requirements/electives.

Do I have to take these courses prior to entering the program?
No. These courses are all included in the regular program.

Can I earn a degree?
Many students coming into the program have enough previous course work which allows them to pick up a few required courses and graduate with their degree.

Can I work without my certification?
Most employers require certification within one year of employment.

Can I transfer courses to Kirkwood from another college?
Have the institution(s) send an official transcript to Kirkwood’s Enrollment Services office for evaluation. You will be notified if any of your courses transfer.

Where is my Externship?
Clinic sites will be within Kirkwood's seven-county service area. Faculty determine the assignment of students to externship sites and a clinical agreement is established with the site. Liability insurance coverage is provided by the college. Students are supervised but not paid for their externship experience; it is part of the medical assistant curriculum.

How much study time will I have outside of class?
A good rule of thumb is two hours of study for each hour of class. You will also need to allow at least two hours a week to practice health skills for performance testing during the first semester.


Allied Health
2164 Linn Hall