New Medical Assisting Degree Offered at DACC

A new Associate of Science in Medical Assisting is being offered for students at Doña Ana Community College (DACC).

The new degree is the result of a needs assessment of the medical community in Doña Ana County. For several years employers in the area have requested medical assisting courses and have highlighted the need for well-prepared certified medical assistants. The certification process ensures Medical Assistants have mastered coursework, clinical laboratories and internships. After successful completion of the educational experience, the Medical Assistant will perform primarily clinical duties under the direct supervision of a physician including:

  • Patient intake and medication reconciliation
  • Assist MD with routine diagnostic procedures including phlebotomy, ECG and in-office medical procedures
  • Health screenings and patient educational support
  • Patient scheduling and patient care follow-up

Pamela Orozco, a DACC student who will begin classes in the Associate degree beginning this fall, is pursuing a degree in the medical field. When she was younger, she helped take care of her grandmother who was in declining health. The experience made a lasting impression on her. To sum up why she wants to enter the medical field, Orozco said, “I am interested in helping people.”

This 65 credit hour degree includes courses in basic anatomy and physiology, medication administration, medical law and ethics, patient psychology, communications, medical office procedures and clinical diagnostic examination, testing and treatment procedures.  After successful course work a 180 hour internship in a medical office is required to demonstrate learned skills.

The Nursing Assistant college certificate is part of the Associate Degree, which upon completion allows the student to test for national certification in:

  • Phlebotomy and
  • Electrocardiography

These certifications can lead to employment if the need arises to have a more flexible timetable to finish the Associates degree.

Medical Assistants are employed by a wide variety of medical facilities including:

  • Physician offices
    • Family practices
    • Specialty practices
  • Health practitioners
  • Outpatient care centers
  • General and surgical centers
  • Urgent care

A cohort of 12 students will begin the program, ultimately growing to 36 students in the third year of operation. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29% from 2012 to 2022, which is more than the average for other occupations.