Medical Assistant

If you like working with people, have an interest in health and are highly motivated, our Medical Assistant program may be a great fit for you. Assisting doctors, healthcare professionals and patients in a range of ways, medical assistants need a wide-ranging skill-set. In addition to the field-specific skills, graduates who want to work as a medical assistant must be well versed in time management, attention to detail, people skills and the ability to multitask.

You will learn the ropes of the field while working in our simulation clinic lab, featuring up-to-date equipment and computer training. Become familiar with clinical duties such as taking patient history, measurement of vital signs, assisting the provider with physical exams and minor office procedures and administering medication. Additionally, you’ll receive training in administrative duties such as scheduling appointments, data entry, managing electronic health records, medical coding and more.

In addition to the program’s coursework, you will participate in a practicum to receive additional on-the-job training. This training prepares you for what to expect in an ambulatory or medical clinic setting.

According to the 2020 Annual Report Form (ARF), the medical assisting program at Iowa Lakes Community College:

  1. has a certification exam passage rate of 100% for graduate cohort of 2018.
  2. has a job placement rate of 100% for the graduate cohort of 2018.

Faculty Contact

Karie Clifford
Assistant Professor, Medical Assistant
712-580-8635 Ext: 8635 | kclifford@iowalakes.educreate new email

Program Details


DEGREE: Diploma (44 credits)

CAMPUS: Spencer


Did You Know?

Starting Salary: $24,790

Average Salary: $33,610

Projected Employment Growth: 23%

Job Placement Rate: 100% in 2018


Term 1

Credits: 4

An advanced study of anatomy and physiology. The relationship between body structure and function and homeostasis forms the basis for the course. Pathological processes that result in dysfunc­tion and disease are presented. Major topics include cell biology, histology, skin, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Lecture and laboratory.

Credits: 3

CSC-110 is an introductory course that surveys a variety of topics to include history, hardware, software, terminology, com­munications, computer ethics, and societal impact of computers. In addition to computer literacy, students will complete hands-on modules using operating systems, word processing, database, presentation, and spreadsheet software; such as Microsoft Office programs.

Credits: 3

Studies medical terminology, including spelling and definitions.

Credits: 3

This course is designed to emphasize the functions and practices of administrative procedures in a medial office. Students will be introduced to the profession of administrative medical assisting and the various responsibilities of a healthcare professional. Topics include, but are not limited to medical law and ethics, verbal and written communication skills, managing appointments, introduction to health information management, and computer applications in the medical office.

Credits: 3

This course is the first of a two-course sequence that focuses on basic clinical skills and techniques needed for competency in the Medical Assistant profession. Instruction is given in obtaining vital signs, recording patient history, assisting with patient exams, aseptic and sterile techniques, assisting with minor office procedures, and medication administration.

Credits: 2

This course introduces the Allied Health student to concepts of drug actions and interactions with focus on principles of pharma­cology. Students will learn to utilize drug reference books with review on medical terminology as it pertains to prescriptions, documentation, medication administration, medication classifica­tions, and mechanism of action.

Credits: 2

Refining of skills in reading, writing and listening as they apply to the student’s vocational needs.

Credits: 3

Emphasis on expository and argumentative writings including a review of usage and mechanics.

Prerequisites: Satisfactory score on the ACT, Accuplacer, ASSET,COMPASS as determined by Iowa Lakes policy

Choose either COM 725 or ENG 105

Term 2

Credits: 4

An advanced study of anatomy and physiology. The relationship between body structure and function and homeostasis forms the basis for the course. Pathological processes that result in dys­function and disease are presented. Major topics include diges­tive, endocrine, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, immune, blood, metabolism, reproduction, urinary, fluid, electrolyte, and acid-base balance. Lecture and laboratory.

Credits: 3

This course provides introduction to body systems with discussion of correlating diseases and disorders, etiology, signs and symptoms, progression, and standard approaches to diagnosis and treatment.

Credits: 3

This course is the second of a two course sequence that focuses on the administrative skills and techniques needed for competence as an administrative medical office professional.  Students are provided instruction in medical coding practices including diagnostic and procedural coding systems.  Instruction is provided in medical billing practices involving health insurance plan options, carrier requirements, state and federal regulations, abstracting relevant information from source documents, and completion of claim forms.

Prerequisites: BIO 168 – Human Anatomy & Physiology I & HSC 114 Medical Terminology

Corequisites: BIO 173 – Human Anatomy & Physiology II & HSC 217 Introduction to Pathology

Credits: 2

Through use of a simulation electronic medical record (EMR), the student will learn the basics of computerized medical patient systems. The student will be able to identify the different areas, procedures and components for medical patient computer systems as well as use the software for patient information organization and billing.

Credits: 4

Introduction to the Physician’s Office Laboratory, safety measures and familiarization with the care and use of laboratory equipment. Techniques in venipuncture and capillary blood collection, laboratory specimen collection and processing.  Performance of CLIA waived testing (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment) including urinalysis, hematology, chemistry, immunology and microbiology.

Credits: 3

This course is the second of a two-course sequence that focuses on the clinical skills and techniques needed for competence in the Medical Assistant profession. Instruction is given for a variety of specialty exams, including but not limited to dermatology, orthopedics, pulmonology, cardiology, women’s health, pediatrics and geriatrics.

Credits: 1

Students will learn employability skills while developing professional and leadership skills.  Students will create a professional portfolio, resume, and demonstrate interview skills while reviewing how to maintain their professional credential following graduation.

Term 3

Credits: 1

This course focuses on knowledge and skills to prepare and respond in emergency situations. Students will receive training in first aid techniques, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), fire safety, and emergency preparedness for natural disasters.

Credits: 3

The practicum provides an opportunity for students to apply classroom theory to on-the-job experiences in an ambulatory medical facility. Students will work under the supervision of clinic staff, participating in patient care activities within the administrative, clinical, and laboratory departments.  Students will enhance skills by interacting with physicians, clinic staff and patients.  Students are evaluated by the clinic supervisors and the practicum coordinator.

Program Acceptance Requirements

  1. Provide documentation of physical exam and current immunizations within six months of scheduled practicum; may be required to complete a criminal background and child/dependent adult abuse registry check before placement in participating practicum facilities.
  2. Arts and Science courses may be taken prior to completing medical assistant program core courses.
  3. Core courses must be taken in sequential order and be completed with at least a “C” or “P” in classroom and clinical competencies.
  4. If a student fails to complete the classroom or required clinical competencies in a course, both the failed course and corresponding clinical competencies must be repeated.
  5. Core medical assistant program courses may be repeated only one time.