Certificate or Associate of Science in Medical Assisting

Our Program  Licensure/Certification Rates  How to Apply   Background Preparation    Clinical Experience    Faculty     Job Outlook     Gainful Employment

Medical Assisting

Become a Medical Assistant. A medical assistant (MA) is a multi-skilled health professional specifically educated to work in ambulatory settings performing administrative and clinical duties. As an MA, you may have clinical duties within the offices of physicians, podiatrists and other health practitioners. Some common tasks include taking medical histories and vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examinations and assisting physicians during examinations. You might instruct patients about medications and special diets, prepare and administer medications as directed by a physician, authorize drug refills as directed, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, take x-rays electrocardiograms, remove sutures, change dressings and much more.

Our Program

Our three-semester certificate program will include classroom instruction, practice in skills lab, and clinical experience in an ambulatory care setting. We give you the academic and clinical experiences needed to become a caring, ethical and competent health care professional. Your instruction will include skills practice and clinical experience in limited radiography.

Upon completion of the MA certificate, you may take an additional 25 credit hours to earn an Associate of Science Completion degree.

Our MA program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Once you successfully complete these programs, you have the opportunity to advance into the Health Care Administration or Health Science degree programs at Mercy College. 

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Licensure and Certification First Time Pass Rates

National Percent (2011)

Mercy 3-year average

Number who passed exam or certification (last 3 years)

Number who took exam or certification (last 3 years)





How to Apply

We accept students into the MA program each fall semester. Once you have completed that curriculum, you may be admitted into the Associate of Science Completion degree program and take one or more courses per semester--choose the pace that's right for you.

Applications to the MA certificate program must be received by the Office of Admissions by June 15. Your admission into this program is on a competitive basis, so early application is encouraged. Following general College admission, students may enroll in Liberal Arts and Science (LAS) courses in the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences prior to admission into the MA program.

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Background Preparation

You need to successfully complete one year high school (or college equivalent) math, biology and English coursework before admission. Students are encouraged to take LAS courses at Mercy College to meet any unmet program requirements above.

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Clinical Experience

You will experience direct patient contact during your clinical experience (called practicums) within Mercy Clinics. You will also work at many other leading health care providers in central Iowa to gain hands-on learning throughout your course of study.


Our MA faculty team includes a full-time program chair as well as many medical professionals in the clinical setting. As a student, you will receive an exceptional level of personalized instruction.

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Job Outlook

Once you have completed your MA degree, you’ll have the knowledge and clinical experience needed to become nationally certified, and you will be qualified to take the state limited radiographer exam. Your opportunities for employment will be excellent, as employment is projected to grow much faster than average, ranking medical assisting among the fastest growing occupations over the 2008-2018 decade. For more details and statistics about specific roles and job opportunities go to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

Gainful Employment

To view the graduation, employment, tuition, and debt information referred to as the "Gainful Employment Disclosures", please click here.

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Program Information

Program Admission Information