Skagit Valley College

Medical Assistant

Welcome to the Medical Assistant Program

Medical Assistants are multi-skilled health professionals specifically educated to work as a member of a health care team, performing a broad range of clinical and administrative tasks under the supervision of a physician, physician's assistant or nurse practitioner. Program graduates assist health care professionals in many aspects of medical practice, including patient care management, administrative, and clinical procedures.  Students learn about the administrative duties of scheduling and receiving patients, preparing and maintaining medical records, performing basic secretarial skills and medical transcription, handling telephone calls, writing correspondence, serving as the liaison between the physician and other individuals, and managing practice finances. The clinical phase of the program is taught through intense training and hands-on application.  Students learn to perform clinical duties, including asepsis and infection control, taking patient histories and vital signs, first aid and CPR, preparing patients for procedures, assisting the physician with examinations and treatments, collecting and processing specimens, performing selected diagnostic tests, administering injections, and preparing and administering medications as directed by the physician.  Primary employers for medical assistants include: ambulatory health care settings, extended health care facilities, public health agencies, schools medical schools, research institutes and medical insurance firms.

Good written and oral communication skills, knowledge of anatomy and physiology, microbiology, medical terminology, disease pathology, pharmacology, emergency procedures, and medical front office duties are important skills for successful job placement.

Program Options

All students in the MA degree/certificate program take the same practicum training and administrative skill coursework. The estimated program length is based on full-time enrollment. It is the student's responsibility to discuss sequencing and work out their individual schedule with a counselor or program advisor. Any developmental coursework a student may be required to complete may increase the program length. Neither the certificate nor the degree is intended for university transfer.

Program Accreditation

The Skagit Valley College Medical Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB). Skagit Valley College's Medical Assistant program has a 5 year average of a 100% employer satisfaction rate with over 89% of our graduates passing the CMA (AAMA) national exam.

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
25400 US Highway 19 North, Suite 158
Clearwater, FL 33763

Skagit Valley College's Medical Assistant program has a 100% employer satisfaction rate with over 89% of our graduates passing the CMA (AAMA) national exam.

Certification/Licensure Options

Upon successful completion of the Medical Assistant Certificate or AAS Degree program, graduates are eligible to take the national Certified Medical Assistant certification exam offered through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Upon satisfactory completion of the exam, graduates will be qualified to use the credentials of Certified Medical Assistant (CMA, AAMA). The CMA credentials are recognized nationally; however, each state mandates the scope of practice for Medical Assistants. In the State of Washington, you will be qualified to practice under Categories A, C and E of the Healthcare Assistant Act (RCW 18-135, WAC 246-826).  Employers prefer to hire certified workers who have passed the national exam.

American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
20 N. Wacker Dr., Ste. 1575
Chicago, IL 60606 
Phone: 312/899-1500

Program Learning Outcomes:

Graduates of the Medical Assistant program will

  • Qualify for employment in a variety of healthcare settings.
  • Display professionalism in their appearance, job performance, and ability to work as team members within the various settings of healthcare delivery.
  • Pass the National Medical Assistant Certification Exam with 80% or better.
  • Communicate effectively with a wide variety of patients from different age groups and cultures.
  • Display professionalism and cultural sensitivity while interacting and communicating with providers, staff and patients.
  • Perform administrative duties related to scheduling, billing, coding, and practice finances and information management in the healthcare setting.
  • Understand the processes and perform the duties for clinical support.
  • Apply legal concepts within the scope of practice for Medical Assisting and healthcare in general.
  • Manage the office and ambulatory care environment.
  • Provide patient education and current community resource information.
  • Perform within the ethical and legal boundaries of the Medical Assistant's scope of practice.
  • Maintain currency within their field through continuing education opportunities.

Program Entry Requirements

Apply to the Admissions Office for an application to Skagit Valley College. Make an appointment to take your COMPASS Test. It is strongly recommended that candidates be a high school graduate or have passed the General Education Equivalency (GED) exam to enroll in the program. To be eligible to take the National Medical Assistant Certification Examination upon graduation, candidates must have a high school diploma or a GED.  Students may enter this program during Fall and Spring Quarters only and attend classes on a part-time or full-time basis.

Immunization Requirement

Medical facilities require immunizations for all personnel who interface with patients. Immunizations must be completed before registering for certain courses or applying for a practicum experience.   The following are required for participation in the Medical Assistant program:

  • Negative TB test or chest X-ray (1 every 12 months)
  • Tdap vaccine (within last 10 years)
  • 2 MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccinations or positive titer
  • Hepatitis B vaccination (series of 3 immunizations)

Students are required to have received at least the first 2 injections of the Hepatitis B vaccination series before enrolling in courses where there is exposure to bodily fluids or any invasive procedure that is part of the curriculum.

Additional immunizations may be required if recommended by instructor or required by clinical placement:

  • Flu Vaccine
  • Varicella

Background Check and Drug Screening

All students must pass a multi-state, multi-zip code criminal back ground check as well as a drug/illegal substance screening. This requirement is based on medical industry standards and Washington State laws protecting vulnerable populations (RCW 43.43.880 and 43.43.842).  Drug screens and background checks are required by clinical agencies where students complete their practicum experience. Students should be aware that certain gross misdemeanors and felonies may disqualify them from participating in practicums and unable to complete their certificate or degree program. Future employment opportunities in the health care field may also be affected. Students will complete the background check and drug screening process when enrolled in AHE 100. Students who are unable to pass these screenings will be removed from the program.

Practicum Experiences

The Medical Assistant program includes a required practicum experience.  Practicum's are at medical facilities which may involve travel to various regions of Skagit, Whatcom, Snohomish, and Island counties. All students accepted into the practicum experience must have reliable transportation. All experiences will be under the supervision of personnel at the medical facilities. Students will not be allowed to choose their practicum site. The department chair selects the facilities used for practicum sites and places qualified students.  Each student is evaluated for Practicum readiness according to the Allied Health Student Handbook guidelines (Student Evaluation section). View AHE Practicum Requirements to access a PDF copy of this information.

Career Opportunities and Job Search Information

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is the nation's primary source of occupational information.  The O*Net Online database is an interactive research tool for exploring and searching occupations.  The database, developed by the US Department of Labor, contains information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors, and provides a variety of FREE Career Exploration Tools.

O-Net Online: 
Soc 31-9092.00 - Medical Assistants

For more detailed information about Washington State healthcare employment trends, wage rates, employment opportunities, job tasks, etc. search the websites listed below:

Placement Rate

Placement and Completion Data

Medical/Clinical Assistant On-Time Completion 29

Contact Us

Barbara Jack
Program Assistant
Phone: 360.416.7933
[email protected]