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 2022 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 2020.
  2. has a job placement rate of 100% for the graduate cohort of 2020.

Faculty Contact

Karie Clifford
Associate Professor, Medical Assistant & Medical Office Technology
712-580-8635 | 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 2019


Term 1

Credits: 4

Structure and function of the human body with emphasis on cells, tissues and all major organ systems. Anatomy and physiology are integrated at the cellular level and at the organ/system level. 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

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: 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 163 – Essen. of Anatomy & Physiology and HSC 114 – Medical Terminology

Corequisite: 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: 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: 3

An introduction to the scientific study of behavior; a brief history of psychology as a science, and topics fundamental to human behavior including developmental issues, sensory abilities, cogni­tive performance, social and emotional factors in behavior, and abnormal behavior and therapies.

Term 3

Credits: 3

Medical Assisting Career Preparation will focus on the knowledge and skills necessary for the Medical Assistant to obtain their CMA credential, prepare for the working world and emergency situations.

Prerequisites: MAP 117 – Med. Office Management II and MAP 342 – Clinical Assisting II

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.

† indicates a course that fulfills the diversity requirement. This course may also fulfill another general AA requirement.

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.

Licensure and Certification Disclosure Requirements by State: 

  1. Iowa Lakes Community College Medical Assistant program meets the educational requirements in the following states/jurisdictions: Alaska, Arkansas, California, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.
  2. Iowa Lakes Community College Medical Assistant program does NOT meet the educational requirements in the following states/jurisdictions: None.
  3. Iowa Lakes Community College has not made the determination if the Medical Assistant program meets the state educational requirements for the following states/jurisdictions: Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, and Wisconsin.

The Medical Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).