Medical Assisting Technology

Available: Shoals Campus
Advisor(s): K. McBay (8059)
                  M. Suggs (8074)

General Information

Medical Assistants are multi-skilled health professionals specifically educated to work in ambulatory settings performing administrative and clinical duties. The profession of medical assisting directly influences the public’s health and well-being, and requires mastery of a complex body of knowledge and specialized skills, formal education and practical experience that serve as standards for entry into the profession.

Program Description

The Medical Assisting curriculum covers administrative duties such as scheduling and receiving patients, preparing and maintaining medical records, performing secretarial duties, serving as a liaison between the physician and other individuals, and managing practice finances. Clinical duties include preparing the patient for examination, taking patient histories and vital signs, performing first aid and CPR, assisting the physician with examinations and treatments, performing routine laboratory procedures and diagnostic tests, preparing and administering medications as directed by the physician and performing electrocardiograms.

Graduates will be eligible to apply to sit for the for the Registered Medical Assistant Examination or the Certified Medical Assistant Examination. After successful completion of the exam, the individual will be a Registered or Certified Medical Assistant.

Goals and Objectives:

1.To prepare medical assistants who are competent in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains to enter the profession.

2.To prepare the student to work in a physician’s office or medical clinic where they can successfully utilize administrative and clinical skills and techniques.

3. To teach the student to be professional at all times.

4. To teach the student in a manner that is applicable to “practical” work situations and encourages the development of critical thinking skills.

5. To teach the student appropriate knowledge and attitudes concerning the legal and ethical responsibilities of the profession.

6. To teach the student how to function as a valuable member of the health care team.

7. To encourage all students to sit for a nationally recognized credential such as the RMA or CMA.

8. To encourage continuing education so the student will be aware of continuous changes in the health care field.

The Medical Assisting Program offers some online and on campus courses. Laboratory/Clinical sections of all MAT classes must be completed on campus, or at the clinical site. Laboratory section assignments will be made based on space availability and may be day or evening. Students will indicate on the program application the option that they would like to choose: Medical Assisting Associate degree plan, Medical Billing & Coding Certificate, or Phlebotomy Certificate.

Approvals and Accreditations

The Northwest Shoals Community College Medical Assisting Technology Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB).

Admission Requirements

Applicants Must:

1. Meet all the general admission requirements of NWSCC.

2. Submit a NWSCC application to the Admissions Office.

3. Submit a program application to the Medical Assisting Technology Department by completing the online application.

4. Possess a minimum of 2.5 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale

5. Must be eligible to take English 101 (English Composition I) and at least Math 116 (Technical Math).

6. Comply with Eligibility Criteria required for Medical Assisting Program (See Eligibility Criteria).

NOTICE: The Alabama Community College System (ACCS) Standardized Curriculum is continuing to be reviewed and analyzed. Modifications will be made as needed. The most updated information will be found in the College catalog posted on the NWSCC website.

Selection and Notification

1. The Medical Assisting Program admits each fall semester; admission for spring semester is based on availability in classes.

2. Students are selected on the basis of completion of all program requirements prior to deadline. If the number of qualified applications exceeds the number of spaces available in the Medical Assisting Program, the cumulative college GPA or the ACT or Compass score will be used to rank applicants for admission.

3. Program applications will be reviewed for completion of program admission requirements. Written or verbal notification of the outcome of each application will be mailed to the student at the address provided on the application.

4. Students selected must respond, confirming acceptance within ten (10) days of the postmarked date of the acceptance letter and declare MAT as their program major. A student who fails to respond to their acceptance letter, and or fails to declare MAT as their major, will forfeit his/her place in the class. If the student has a felony conviction or has pled guilty to a felony or has any drug or alcohol offense on the required background check completed the first semester of the program or is convicted during the program, he or she will be dismissed from the program.

5. Students selected for acceptance must attend the mandatory orientation session. Failure to do so may result in forfeiture of their space in the class.

Program Expectations

Students admitted into the Medical Assisting Program are expected to comply with all program competencies of the Medical Assisting Program.

Required competencies:

1. Administrative competencies: perform clerical functions, perform bookkeeping procedures, process insurance claims.

2. Clinical competencies: fundamental procedures, specimen collection, diagnostic testing, patient care.

3. General competencies: professional communications, legal concepts, patient instruction, operational functions.

Upon Admission

1. Medical Assisting students are required to submit physical examination and eligibility criteria forms, including proof of Hepatitis B and other vaccinations, as well as a two part TB skin test unless student receives yearly TB skin test. The physical and vaccinations required will be the student’s expense.

2. Students are required to submit proof of current CPR certification before they are allowed in clinical facilities. Only CPR courses that provide certification through the American Heart Association will be accepted.

3. Accident and liability insurance, available through the College, is required of all Medical Assisting students. The cost of the insurance will be added as a course fee.

4. Medical Assisting students are required to undergo Background Screening and Drug Testing. The cost of the drug screen will be added as a course fee to one of the medical assisting courses. The cost of the Background Screening will be the student’s responsibility. Drug Screens and Background Screening will be administered as directed by Medical Assisting Department.

5. Medical Assisting students must comply with the Alabama Infected Health Care Worker Act. Code of Ala. 1975, §§22-llA-2, 22-llA-7, 22-llA-13, .22-llA-14 (g), 22-llA-70

6. Students must present evidence of health insurance or sign a waiver.


1. Students must maintain a grade of “C” or better in all required courses. Grading scale for MAT courses, HIT courses, and OAD 242: 
90 – 100     A 
80 – 89      B 
75 – 79      C 
60 – 74      D 
BELOW 60   F 

In order to pass each course and progress in the MAT program, students will need to achieve a final course total of 75 or higher. 

2. Math must be completed prior to taking MAT 211, Clinical Procedures II for the medical assistant. Students will have four attempts to complete a drug calculation test with a score of at least 90.

3. Maintain a grade of “C” or better in all required general education and medical assisting courses and maintain a 2.0 cumulative GPA at NWSCC.

4. Students must be accepted by clinical agencies for all clinical experiences. Must complete 200 unpaid clinical hours during the last semester in the Medical Assisting program in facility assigned by Medical Assisting Department (hours completed Monday – Friday according to facility hours, can not guarantee night and weekend hours).

5. Students must perform a satisfactory evaluation on all clinical skills.

6. Must maintain current CPR. AHA Health Care Provider

7. Maintain ability to meet eligibility criteria for medical assisting with or without reasonable accommodations.

8. Maintain an adequate level of health including freedom from chemical dependency and/or mental disorder.

9. Northwest Shoals Community College reserves the right to remove from the program any student who is refused use of facilities by a clinical agency. A student who is refused use of a facility is considered refused by all agencies associated with the program. Therefore, the program is not required to find an alternative site.

Readmission to Program

Students who withdraw, or are dismissed from the program, must apply for re-admission. Students will be readmitted one time only.

Work Experience

College credit is not awarded for work experience in the healthcare field.

Anticipated Expenses

The tuition rate is the same as that for other NWSCC students, but MAT program students will incur other expenses, which are listed below. Note that the amounts listed are approximations and that they are subject to change without notice.

Physical Exam, TB Test and shots: $1,000.00

Books and online resources: $1,000.00

Laptop and Webcam: $400.00 (No Chromebooks)

  • Windows-based laptop with a minimum of 64-bit versions of Windows 10 or Windows 11 or a MAC laptop (Catalina, Big Sur, or Monterey) 64-bit operating system with a genuine version of the Mac Operating system. 4 GB RAM, 4GB or higher of available space on the hard drive. Fully chargeable battery for testing.

Clinical Kit: $100.00

Phlebotomy Kit: $20.00

Scrubs: $100.00

Stethoscope, watch, shoes: variable

Background check: $75.00

Drug screening: $80.00

ID Badge: $10.00

Liability Insurance: $40.00

Parking Decal: $20.00

NOTICE: In addition to the expenses listed above, you are responsible for transportation, meals, health care expenses, any liability incurred during and while traveling to and/or from educational experiences.


The ACCS endorses the Americans' with Disabilities Act (ADA). In accordance with College policy, when requested, reasonable accommodations may be provided for individuals with disabilities. Physical, cognitive, psychomotor, affective and social abilities are required in unique combinations to provide safe and effective care. The applicant/student must be able to meet the eligibility criteria with or without reasonable accommodations throughout the program of learning. Admission, progression and graduation are contingent upon one's ability to demonstrate the eligibility criteria delineated for the program with or without reasonable accommodations. The program and/or affiliated clinical agencies may identify additional eligibility criteria. The program reserves the right to amend the eligibility criteria as deemed necessary. In order to be admitted and to progress in the program one must possess a functional level of ability to perform the duties required of a nurse. Admission or progression may be denied if a student is unable to demonstrate the eligibility criteria with or without reasonable accommodations. The eligibility criteria delineated are those deemed necessary the ACCS health studies programs. No representation regarding industrial standards is implied. Similarly, any reasonable accommodations made will be determined and applied to the medical assisting technology program and may vary from reasonable accommodations made by healthcare employers.  The eligibility criteria delineated below are necessary for program admission, progression and graduation and for the provision of safe and effective care. The eligibility criteria include, but are not limited to, the ability to:

  • Sensory Perception
    • Visual
      • Observe and discern subtle changes in physical conditions and the environment
      • Visualize different color spectrums and color changes
      • Read fine print in varying levels of light
      • Read for prolonged periods of time
      • Read cursive writing
      • Read at varying distances
      • Read data/information displayed on monitors/equipment
    • Auditory
      • Interpret monitoring devices
      • Distinguish muffled sounds heard through a stethoscope
      • Hear and discriminate high and low frequency sounds produced by the body and the environment
      • Effectively hear to communicate with others
    • Tactile
      • Discern tremors, vibrations, pulses, textures, temperature, shapes, size, location and other physical characteristics
    • Olfactory
      • Detect body odors and odors in the environment
  • Communication/ Interpersonal Relationships
    • Verbally and in writing, engage in a two-way communication and interact effectively with others, from a variety of social, emotional, cultural and intellectual backgrounds
    • Work effectively in groups
    • Work effectively independently
    • Discern and interpret nonverbal communication
    • Express one's ideas and feelings clearly
    • Communicate with others accurately in a timely manner
    • Obtain communications from a computer
  • Cognitive/Critical Thinking
    • Effectively read, write and comprehend the English language
    • Consistently and dependably engage in the process of critical thinking in order to formulate and implement safe and ethical decisions in a variety of health care settings
    • Demonstrate satisfactory performance on written examinations including mathematical computations without a calculator
    • Satisfactorily achieve the program objectives
  • Motor Function
    • Handle small delicate equipment/objects without extraneous movement, contamination or destruction
    • Move, position, turn, transfer, assist with lifting or lift and carry clients without injury to clients, self or others
    • Maintain balance from any position
    • Stand on both legs
    • Coordinate hand/eye movements
    • Push/pull heavy objects without injury to client, self or others
    • Stand, bend, walk and/or sit for 6-12 hours in a clinical setting performing physical activities requiring energy without jeopardizing the safety of the client, self or others
    • Walk without a cane, walker or crutches
    • Function with hands free for care and transporting items
    • Transport self and client without the use of electrical devices
    • Flex, abduct and rotate all joints freely
    • Respond rapidly to emergency situations
    • Maneuver in small areas
    • Perform daily care functions for the client
    • Coordinate fine and gross motor hand movements to provide safe effective care
    • Calibrate/use equipment
    • Execute Movement required to provide care in all health care settings
    • Perform CPR and physical assessment
    • Operate a computer
  • Professional Behavior
    • Convey caring, respect, sensitivity, tact, compassion, empathy, tolerance and a healthy attitude toward others
    • Demonstrate a mentally healthy attitude that is age appropriate in relationship to the client
    • Handle multiple tasks concurrently
    • Perform safe, effective care for clients in a caring context
    • Understand and follow the policies and procedures of the College and clinical agencies
    • Understand the consequences of violating the student code of conduct
    • Understand that posing a direct threat to others is unacceptable and subjects one to discipline
    • Meet qualifications for licensure/certification by examination as stipulated by the respective program
    • Not to pose a threat to self or others
    • Function effectively in situations of uncertainty and stress inherent in providing care
    • Adapt to changing environments and situations
    • Remain free of chemical dependency
    • Report promptly to clinicals and remain for 6-12 hours at the medical facility
    • Provide care in an appropriate time frame
    • Accept responsibility, accountability, and ownership of one's actions
    • Seek supervision/consultation in a timely manner
    • Examine and modify one's own behavior when it interferes with care or learning

Upon admission, an individual who discloses a disability can request reasonable accommodations. Individuals will be asked to provide documentation of the disability in order to assist with the provision of appropriate reasonable accommodations.  The respective College will provide reasonable accommodations but is not required to substantially alter the requirements or nature of the program or provide accommodations that inflict an undue burden on the respective College.  In order to be admitted, one must be able to perform all of the eligibility criteria with or without reasonable accommodations.   If an individual's health changes during the program of learning, so that the eligibility criteria cannot be met with or without reasonable accommodations, the student will be withdrawn from the program. The faculty reserves the right at any time to require an additional medical examination at the student's expense in order to assist with the evaluation of the student's ability to perform the eligibility criteria.

Requests for reasonable accommodations should be directed to: ADA Coordinator's Office, at 256.331.5262 or



Medical Assisting Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree

Available: Shoals Campus
K. McBay (8059)

This degree is designed to prepare students to assist the physician in providing patient care in physician’s offices, minor emergency centers, long-term care facilities, and other types of freestanding medical clinics. Medical assistants are also prepared to assume administrative roles in physician’s offices, including dealing with billing protocols, coding mechanisms, and office procedures.

Entering students are required to complete ORI 107. Transfer students are exempt from this requirement.


Area I: Written Composition

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Area III: Natural Sciences and Mathematics

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Area IV: History, Social and Behavioral Science

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Associate in Applied Science