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News & Info

Medical Assistant Curriculum: A Breakdown

At University of Providence, our medical assistant curriculum includes weekend skill labs and internships


Becoming a medical assistant is a great way to break into the healthcare field – with opportunities to take on an active role in the healthcare system’s clinical and administrative positions. The University of Providence’s medical assistant curriculum is designed to prepare students to meet the needs of todays healthcare systems through online courses and in-person weekend skill labs.

Whether in a doctor’s office, hospital, healthcare clinic, long-term care facility, or any other branch of healthcare – medical assistants play a vital role in healthcare’s day-to-day operations. Medical assistants are skilled, in-demand professionals who offer patients various clinical and administrative services – including vitals, blood draws, appointment scheduling, rooming procedures, and more. Medical assisting offers a rewarding career that opens opportunities for advancement into different healthcare roles.


Skills Students Learn

  • Vitals
  • Patient-centered care and compassion
  • Patient rooming procedures
  • Electronic health records management
  • Phlebotomy
  • EKGs
  • Laboratory testing
  • Communication
  • Financial considerations
  • Healthcare ethics and legalities


Our medical assistant curriculum offers everyone from working professionals to high school graduates the opportunity to learn key skills required of today’s medical assistants. With a hybrid, online, weekday learning model and weekend skills labs, students who enroll in our medical assistant certificate program can carry on their everyday responsibilities while earning their certificate.

Serving as a medical assistant offers more than just a job. It’s a chance to start, transition, or build upon an exciting career in the healthcare field. Certified medical assistants aren’t just required to know how to take vitals, draw blood or perform data entry – they must carry the care, compassion, and professionalism required of today’s medical caregivers. Components like quality care, accountability, professionalism, and ethical decision-making will help carry them wherever their healthcare journey takes them.


Program Themes

  • Patient-centered compassionate care
  • Patient safety & quality
  • Personal accountability
  • Ethical professional behaviors
  • Effective communication skills
  • Lifelong learning


UP’s medical assistant certificate curriculum is broken down into three eight-week semesters designed to deliver maximum learning outcomes to students through a hybrid learning model of online, asynchronous weekday assignments combined with in-person skills labs. Students can navigate and learn skills on their own time during the week before applying them in a real-world setting over the weekend. Students will take two courses per semester for the first two semesters, with the final course applying four credit hours to a single internship/career development course. Graduates of the program will leave with 16 credits administered over three eight-week semesters totaling 10 months.


MA Program Overview

  • 160 credit hours
  • 16 total credits
  • 10-month completion time
  • 8-week courses
  • 2 courses per semester
  • 1 internship


Medical assistant certificate students can expect to take the following courses as part of their curriculum. Although intensive, the curriculum is written according to the Medical Assistant Education Review Board (MAERB) Core Curriculum National Standard guidelines. Enrolling in a program that meets these guidelines allows students to sit for the National Healthcare Association (NHA) Certified Medical Assistant Exam upon graduation – certifying them as ready-to-work medical assistants.


Medical Assistant Curriculum


Anatomy, Physiology, & Nutrition

The first of two classes, this course provides students with an introduction to the study of anatomy, physiology, and the human body. Students can expect to learn about the major organ systems, disease processes, and medical terminology. Students are also introduced to nutrition and health, showcasing how a healthy diet and exercise can contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Anatomy, Physiology, & Pharmacology

Building off the first course, the anatomy, physiology, & pharmacology course provides students with a continuation in their studies of the following topics. However, this course introduces the foundations of pharmacology – including information about different medications, immunizations, and safe medical practices. The course also dives into understanding and preventing foodborne illness and complementary and alternative medicines.

Healthcare Ethics, Legal Issues & Infection Prevention Pharmacology

This course builds upon the previous two courses by providing introductory knowledge in healthcare ethics, legal issues, risk management procedures, professional liability insurance, and infection prevention. The course is vital for students to understand the MA’s scope of practice and how to administer a variety of care practices ethically and professionally.

Administrative Practice & Finance

Centered around administrative tasks, this course provides a comprehensive understanding of administrative practices, business etiquette, and finances. Students will learn about their administrative responsibilities, communication techniques, financial literacy, and office etiquette. In addition, students will also learn about cultural awareness and human behavior.

Internship & Career Prep

The final step to becoming a medical assistant is a 160-hour unpaid internship/practicum that provides students with real hands-on training in a clinical practice setting. Here students can apply the skills they learned online alongside already-trained medical professionals. In addition to the practicum, students receive guidance in career planning and continuing education, where they learn how to navigate the certification process to obtain their CMA license.


Since the program requires in-person skills labs and internship placements, students are expected to reside in Beaverton, Oregon, Issaquah, Washington, Great Falls, Montana, or Northridge, California. In addition, students must be able to travel to one of our skills lab locations for in-person skills training.


Program Locations

  • Oregon Skills Lab Site: Providence Reeds Crossing, Hillsboro, OR
  • Washington Skills Lab Site: Swedish Issaquah Campus, Issaquah, WA
  • Montana Skills Lab Site: Benefits Medical Office, Great Falls, MT
  • California Skill Lab Site: Providence Facey Medical Group, Northridge, CA


Enroll today and start your journey to becoming a medical assistant

Becoming a medical assistant is a great way to break into the healthcare field – opening doors to exciting opportunities in clinical healthcare, administrative healthcare, and beyond. With the University of Providence’s Medical Assistant Certificate program – students combine online learning with in-person weekend skills labs and a guided internship to prepare them for a career in medical assisting.