Advance your healthcare


Mercy College of Health Sciences has partnered with several clinics and hospital systems throughout Iowa to fill the critical need for medical assistants across the state. Our campus may be located in downtown Des Moines, but that doesn’t mean you need to be! Here’s your chance to make an impact and become a certified medical assistant (MA) in just one year. Become an MA in the great state of IA and enroll today!

No SAT or ACT scores required to enroll — just a high school diploma or GED.

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Our Iowa cohorts have open seats — talk to an Enrollment Coach now!
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1 Year

Program Length


In-Person Skills Labs


Tuition Cost Per Semester (3-Semester Program)


Start Dates Per Year: Fall, Spring & Summer


Employment Rate Among Graduates1



Medical assistants provide critical physician support services to ensure healthcare facilities run smoothly. As an MA you will act as an important patient liaison in a variety of healthcare settings — such as clinic offices for physicians, podiatrists, and other health practitioners.

Administrative duties

  • Welcome patients
  • Answer telephones
  • Schedule appointments
  • Update and file patient medical records
  • Code and fill out insurance forms
  • Arrange for hospital admissions and laboratory services
  • Handle correspondence, billing and bookkeeping


Healthcare duties

  • Collect medical histories
  • Take vitals
  • Draw blood
  • Explain treatment procedures to patients
  • Administer medications (as directed)
  • Prepare patients for examinations
  • Assist the physician during examinations
  • Perform basic laboratory tests
  • Transmit prescription refills (as directed)
  • Provide wound care


  • 3 start dates available in September, January, or May
  • 100% online Mercy College coursework
  • 2 six-hour hands-on skill boot camps with an approved instructor
  • 160 hours of in-person clinical practicum (that equates to four 40-hour work weeks)
  • Tuition is $3,643 per semester, for the 3-semester program
  • Unlimited flexibility! Hold a full-time job and earn while you learn.


  • 100% job placement rate
  • Post-graduation job opportunities available in a variety of our partners’ clinics and hospitals!
  • 20-30% projected job growth in the next 10 years1
  • Unlimited launchpad for several other healthcare career opportunities
  • Tuition repayment options available in most MA positions

Quality education delivered to you

Mercy College has partnered with premier healthcare clinics and facilities across the state of Iowa. We’re committed to providing a convenient, accredited, affordable medical assisting education to Iowans, no matter how far you might be from our downtown Des Moines campus. Enroll in our online coursework and choose a skills lab location that works for you!


Begin your Journey

Ready to Chart Your Course as a Mercy College student? Our simple, hassle-free admissions process will have you starting classes in no time, and our admissions team will guide you every step of the way!


Step 1


Speak with a Mercy College enrollment coach to answer any program questions and start your MA application.

Step 2


Our streamlined admissions process is quick and easy and facilitated completely online. Feel free to start, stop, and complete all through our enrollment platform.

Step 3


Your Mercy College team and fellow MA cohort peers will be with you every step of the way.

Step 4


After you complete the MA program and pass your Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) exam nothing will stop you! Mercy College is partnering with facilities across Iowa to fill the critical need for medical assistants throughout the state.

The Medical Assisting program is a direct admit program. When you are admitted to Mercy College, you are admitted into the Medical Assisting program! To get started, complete the Mercy College application. If you are transferring credits, please visit our transfer page to learn more.

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The following courses and sequencing is a sample of required courses to graduate from the Medical Assisting program. The following courses are designed to allow students to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) Exam.

Semester 1

8-Week Term
MA 101 – Medical Assisting Administrative Procedures (4 cr)
7-Week Term
MA 106 – Anatomy and Physiology (4 cr)


8-Week Term
MA 102 – Medical Assisting Clinical Procedures I (4 cr)
7-Week Term
MA 122 – Medical Assisting Clinical Procedures II (4 cr)

Semester 3

8-Week Term
MA 108 – Diseases of the Human Body (3 cr)
MA 203 – Medical Assisting Practicum I (2 cr)
7-Week Term
MA 201 – Medical Assisting Professional Components (2cr)
MA 204 – Medical Assisting Practicum II (2 cr)


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The Medical Assisting program has three convenient start dates to match your needs. View our full academic calendar.

FALL: September
SPRING: January


*Pending final approval from the Medical Assisting Educational Review Board.

How much do medical assistants make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a medical assistant in the United States is $18.40 per hour; however, compensation varies according to many factors, including location, work setting, and experience.

How do you become a certified medical assistant?

After completing our one-year medical assistant program, students are eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) exam to earn their certification.

Do I need SAT or ACT scores to enroll?

No, the only requirement for this program is a high school diploma or GED.

How will I complete the required 160 hours of clinical practicum?

Mercy College will work with you to secure 160 hours of clinical practicum with one of our healthcare partners near you. This practicum is very important as it allows students to experience hands-on learning in actual medical offices.

Do medical assistants draw blood? Can medical assistants give shots?

Medical assistants in our program do learn to draw blood and administer shots as needed, however, it depends entirely on their place of employment if they will perform these duties.

Is medical assisting a good career?

Absolutely. Becoming a medical assistant takes only one-year to complete, pays well, is a high-demand healthcare career option and provides fulfilling, meaningful work. You will never be bored with this job — every day is different. Many have found that medical assisting is a great launching pad into other advanced healthcare career fields as they gain more experience.

How is a medical assistant different from a physician assistant?

Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks with physician supervision. Physician assistants examine, diagnose and treat patients while working under a physician, who may or may not be on-site.

How hard is the medical assistant certification test?

Mercy College’s medical assistant program touts an impressive 100% pass rate among graduates for the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) exam. The exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions administered in four 40-minute segments. The question categories are general, administrative and clinical.

How much does it cost to complete the medical assisting program?

Tuition for the Mercy College medical assistant program is calculated per semester. The program costs $3,643 per semester, for the 3-semester program. If financing your education is a major hurdle, there are lots of tuition reimbursement and scholarship opportunities for you to explore!

Is the program all online or in person?

The medical assistant program is 100% online instruction; however, there are two in-person skills labs that must be completed in order to graduate.

Where are the medical assistant skills labs located and when do they take place?

The two, six-hour skills labs take place at one of our cohort locations (in Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, or Washington) unless you have enrolled through an external cohort partnership. Mercy College is continuously expanding cohort locations as demand continues to rise across the United States. Skills labs take place in the second and third quarter or the program.

How long does it take to complete the MA program?

Mercy College’s medical assistant program takes one year to complete. This is broken out into four quarters. Our goal at Mercy College is aimed to be as flexible as possible to remove any barriers to higher education, so you can work with your enrollment coach to determine your program trajectory to fit your schedule.

What is online learning like?

The Mercy College online platform hosts discussions boards, educational videos, writing assignments, and other activities to enrich your learning experience — all at the click of your mouse. You can learn more about online learning here.

1. Job placement: Job placement statistics are based off of the 2020 graduate cohort.
2. Projected growth: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical Assistants.
3. Pass rates: Exam pass rate is based on 2020 graduates.