Medical Assistants (MAs) are the only allied health professional trained specifically for the ambulatory care setting. The career is identified by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics as one of the fastest growing through 2012. Part of the reason is the increase in the number of health care facilities demanding a flexible medical assistant who can perform a variety of skills. Skills acquired in the MA Program include (but not exclusively) administrative such as answer telephones, greet patients, file, complete insurance forms, handle correspondence, schedule appointments, arrange for other health care services, treatments, procedures, handle billing and bookkeeping; and clinical based on state law such as taking medical histories, obtaining/recording vital signs, prepare and administer medications as directed by the physician, preparing/assisting in client examinations, collect and prepare laboratory specimens or perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies, sterilize medical instruments, authorize drug refills as directed, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, change dressings, and educate clients in treatments/procedures. MAs who specialize may perform additional skills.
Medical assistants interact with a variety of people in pleasant-physician office/clinic environments typically during day hours Monday through Friday. The Medical Assistant is not limited to clinical practice with the potential for advancement in areas such as office manager, administrative support occupations, or teaching future medical assisting.
For a more complete description of careers in medical assisting, refer to the website of the American Association of Medical Assistants.
BPCC's Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and Technical Diploma in MA Programs consist of Qualification Courses and Program Courses. The AAS program also includes Additional Required courses. Students may work at any pace (part time/full time) to complete the qualification and additional required courses. When the qualification courses have been completed (with a "C" or better), students may apply for admission to the program component. The additional required courses may be completed at any time prior to graduation. The program is designed so that a student may complete the Associate of Applied Science in MA program in 5 semesters and the Technical Diploma in MA program in 3 semesters.
The selection process for the program component begins each spring and fall. Students should be aware of the following requirements and procedures regarding clinical program selection:
Students pursuing the Associate of Applied Science and Technical Diploma must first meet College admission requirements. Students are selected into the Medical Assistant Program upon the successful completion (minimum of "C") in qualification courses and ALHT 201 or ALHT 209, submission of completed program application and signed essential requirement form.
Students selected for the program classes must be available for daytime, evening and possible weekend classes. Upon the successful completion (minimum of "C") of the program training courses and laboratories, Medical Assistant students are assigned to practicum sites. Practicum training (a minimum of 220 hours) is completed at physicians' offices and clinics throughout Northwest Louisiana. During ALHT 210, the student will be assigned to a physician’s office or healthcare setting, generally for eight hours per day, three to five days a week for 10 weeks. Successful completion of the practicum experience and required course work leads to the awarding of the Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assistant or Technical Diploma in Medical Assistant. Graduates of the BPCC Medical Assistant Program are eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination. As of January 2001, felons are not eligible to take the AAMA certified Medical Assistant examination.
Credit for experiential learning is not allowed for the following courses: ALHT 201, ALHT 209, MOS 206L, ALHT 203 or ALHT 210.
Students must submit required information for programs with a clinical component prior to beginning ALHT 210. Program students are required to pay a clinical fee in addition to regular tuition.