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Medical Assistant Certificate

Medical Assistant Certificate at Harper College

Become a medical assistant 

Program facts  Education icon

  • Credit hours: 36
  • Stackable to degree: Yes
  • Employment outcome: Certified Medical Assistant

Harper College's 36-credit-hour Medical Assistant Certificate program provides training in a variety of administrative and clerical tasks to facilitate physicians’ work. You'll gain skills in patient communication, computer functions, and record keeping, along with clinical skills such as assisting with examinations, treatments, diagnostic testing, patient education and preparation/administration of medications. Other areas of study include legal and ethical issues in health care, maintaining patient confidentiality and principles of insurance billing.

After successfully completing the program, you will be eligible to take the examination necessary to become a Certified Medical Assistant. Credit earned for the Medical Assistant Certificate can be applied to the Health Care Office Manager AAS degree.

Certificate program requirements

This concentrated 36 credit-hour certificate program is designed for the individual who is interested in becoming a medical assistant in a physician's office or other outpatient health care setting. The curriculum provides training in a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to facilitate the work of the physician. Administrative duties include patient communication, computer skills and record keeping. Clinical duties include assisting with examinations, treatments, diagnostic testing, patient education, and preparation and administration of medications.

The program may be taken part-time and many courses are available on an evening schedule. An orientation and planning session is recommended by the coordinator. Detailed information is available on the website harpercollege.edu

Professional Accreditation and Certification:

The Medical Assistant certificate program at Harper College has been accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Allied Health Educational Programs (CAAHEP) upon recommendation of the Medical Assistant Education Review Board (MAERB). Graduates of the programs are eligible to sit for the national certification examination sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The MOA graduate who successfully completes this national examination is credentialed as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA-AAMA).

Please contact the program coordinator for current name(s) and pertinent information regarding the national professional organization(s) affiliated with the programs in the Medical Office Administration department.


A grade of C or better in all BIO, HSC and MOA courses is required for all students.

Number Course Title Credits
BIO 135 4

Description: Surveys the human body, with emphasis on basic physical and chemical concepts, anatomy, physiology and embryology. Designed to meet the needs of students in certain allied health career programs. Knowledge of high school biology is assumed. (NOTE: Not Lab science credit.)

ENG 101 3

Description: Emphasizes the writing of expository prose. Introduction to the critical reading of nonfiction prose. IAI C1 900

Prerequisite: ENG 100 with a grade of C or better. Other placement options. ENG_Placement_Grid.pdf ESL students need one of the following options: ESL 073 and ESL 074 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 086 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 and ESL 099 with grades of B or better; ESL 073 with required writing placement test score; or ESL 074 with required reading placement test score.

HSC 112 2

Description: Emphasizes the origin and the basic structure of medical words, including prefixes, suffixes, word roots, combining forms and plurals. Offers pronunciation, spelling, and definition of medical terms based on the body systems approach. Emphasis on rendering a professional vocabulary required for work in the health care field.

HSC 165 1

Description: Examines the mechanism of action of the major medication groups as they relate to the physiology and pathology of disease. Identifies examples in each major pharmacological category in order to understand pharmacological activity within each group. Addresses areas of drug action, clinical application, and adverse events for each medication discussed. Considers needs of patients undergoing drug therapy and the role of the allied health provider.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in BIO 135, BIO 160 or HSC 112 with a grade of C or better.

HSC 213 2

Description: Introduces the legal and ethical issues that pertain to various health care delivery settings. Discusses how these issues impact the health care practitioner in a diverse culture. Practices and standards are discussed as they relate to professional behavior and ethical decision-making.

MOA 145 2

Description: Introduces types of patient-care records prepared and maintained by health care personnel. Includes elements of records, record keeping, medical records ethics and confidentiality, correction techniques and use of health care references, with transcription and computer applications. Electronic Medical Records (EMR) is introduced. Beginning transcription techniques including grammar, punctuation and proof-reading skills are emphasized. Basic keyboarding skills and knowledge of Microsoft Word are necessary for this course.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in ENG 101, and HSC 112 with a grade of C or better.

MOA 150 1

Description: Develops skill necessary to calculate medication dosages and solutions using the metric system. A basic math ability, including decimals, fractions and percentages, is necessary to be successful in this course.

MOA 195 3

Description: Explores and compares major types of health insurance contracts and describes benefits and limitations. Provides practice in processing insurance claim forms (CMS-1500). Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) and International Classification of Disease (ICD) coding techniques are introduced. Emphasis is on insurance rules and regulations including Medicare and Medicaid, claim submission, reimbursement and collections.

Prerequisite: BIO 135 and HSC 112 with grades of C or better.

MOA 215 1 8

Description: Offers basic and advanced clinical techniques in the physician’s office or clinic. Includes diagnostic and laboratory testing techniques, principles of medications, and assisting the physician in specialty examinations and minor surgical procedures. Demonstration of clinical skills in outpatient care is emphasized, with maintenance of proper patient and technician protection guidelines. NOTE: The program's health requirements and American Heart Association Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificate must be completed prior to the end of this course.

Prerequisite: HSC 165, MOA 145 and MOA 150 with grades of C or better.

MOA 235 3

Description: Offers development of skills in medical front office procedures used in a health care facility. Emphasizes patient relations in health care by using office simulations including computer programs with introduction to electronic medical records. Strong emphasis on cultural diversity issues and application in the health care field.

Prerequisite: HSC 112 and MOA 145 with grades of C or better.

MOA 280 1 3

Description: Provides 160 hours during the semester of supervised experience in a health care facility to enhance the student's administrative technical skills. One-hour seminars throughout the semester devoted to externship issues. NOTE: The program's health requirements and American Heart Association Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificate must be completed prior to placement in externship.

Prerequisite: MOA 215 and MOA 235 with grades of C or better.

MOA 291 1

Description: Prepares students with study skills and tips necessary to successfully pass the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam. Provides assistance and guidelines for submitting the CMA exam application, reviews content on the CMA exam, develops resume writing and interviewing skills.

Prerequisite: Prior or concurrent enrollment in MOA 280 with a grade of C or better.

PSY 101 3

Description: Investigates human and animal behavior with emphasis on the scientific nature of contemporary and classic psychological investigation. Emphasizes psychological theories, principles, and research applications. Introduces the divisions of the American Psychological Association. References biological processes, sensation, perception, learning, memory, thinking, emotional life, mental disorders, intelligence, aptitude, personality, development, daily life and everyday problems. IAI S6 900

1 - Students must submit an American Heart Association Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for the Health Care Provider (CPR) certificate before entering externship.

Program learning outcomes

  • Coordinate and facilitate patient care throughout the ambulatory care setting.
  • Effectively communicate with patients, families and members of the health care team.
  • Perform clerical functions necessary to maintain medical office appointments, transcription and health care records.
  • Maintain patient confidentiality.
  • Apply basic billing and collection, insurance, coding and managed care guidelines to maintain office bookkeeping.
  • Collect, process and transport specimens.
  • Perform, assist and follow up on procedure and diagnostic tests.
  • Perform within legal and ethical boundaries.
  • Instruct patients regarding health maintenance and disease prevention, perform operational and maintenance functions such as inventory of supplies and equipment, routine maintenance of equipment.
  • Utilize computer software to maintain office systems.
  • The student is able to effectively perform the clinical competencies of the medical assisting profession as outline by the AAMA in MOA 215 - Clinical Procedures.
  • The student will be prepared to take and pass the national Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam within one year of completion of the program.

Student achievement outcome data

Harper College provides annual statistics on retention rates and outcomes for the Medical Assistant Certificate program:

Medical Assistant Certificate Program






Retention Rate






Exam Pass Rate






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Next steps

For more information about medical assisting courses at Harper College, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.