Medical Assisting FAQs

What does a medical assistant do?

Medical assistants are described as "multi-skilled allied health professionals specifically trained to work in ambulatory settings, such as physicians' offices, clinics and group practices, performing administrative and clinical procedures." Specific duties and responsibilities vary from office to office, depending on location, size and specialty.

Possible administrative duties:

  • Using computer applications
  • Answering telephones
  • Greeting patients
  • Updating and filing patient medical records
  • Coding and filling out insurance forms
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Arranging for hospital admissions and lab services
  • Handling correspondence, billing and bookkeeping

Possible clinical duties:

  • Taking medical histories
  • Explaining treatment procedures to patients
  • Preparing patients for examination
  • Assisting the physician during the exam
  • Collecting and preparing lab specimens
  • Performing basic laboratory tests
  • Instructing patients about medications and special diets
  • Preparing and administering medications as directed by a physician
  • Authorizing prescription refills as directed by a physician
  • Drawing blood
  • Taking electrocardiograms
  • Removing sutures and changing dressings

Where does a medical assistant work?

Medical assistants are employed in ambulatory settings, such as physicians' offices, clinics and group practices.

What is the starting salary for a medical assistant in the Triangle?

Medical assistants in the Triangle area earn $15 to $18 an hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Why should I consider the Medical Assisting program?

Medical assisting is one of the fastest-growing careers in the health care industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that "employment is expected to grow by 23 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations."

What degree will I earn?

Wake Tech graduates can earn a Medical Assisting diploma and can continue on to earn an associate degree.

Is it better to have a diploma or a degree?

Employers are interested first and foremost in hiring professionals who can do their jobs well; however, many practices look for the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) and/or RMA (Registered Medical Assistant) credential when hiring. Students who successfully complete the diploma program are eligible to take the credential exam through the American Association of Medical Assistants.

An associate degree is not a guarantee of higher pay or promotions, but a medical assistant with a degree has the advantage when seeking additional education. Some courses in the degree program can transfer to four-year colleges or universities.

Am I eligible for any type of certification or licensure after graduation?

Graduates of Wake Tech's accredited Medical Assisting diploma program are eligible to take the Certified Medical Assisting (CMA) exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants and become Certified Medical Assistants.

Can I transfer to a four-year university with this degree?

Wake Tech has established articulation agreements with four-year colleges and universities where graduates of its programs, including Medical Assisting Associate Degree, can transfer.

Medical Assisting students and prospective students should always contact the transfer admissions office of the colleges and universities they are interested in to ensure that they have the most up-to-date information on transfer requirements and opportunities.

What are the requirements for entering the Medical Assisting program?

All students must first meet the admissions requirements for Wake Tech. Acceptance into the Medical Assisting program is granted on a first-come, first-served basis, and the program begins clinical classes in both Fall and Spring semesters. Students are encouraged to apply early to allow time to submit transcripts and apply for financial aid, if needed.

What is the program's policy for Advanced Placement credit or credit from other sources?

Wake Tech accepts course credits from other colleges or schools accredited by regional accrediting agencies whenever the grade is "C" or higher. The course must be equivalent in content and credit hours to the Wake Tech course, and subject matter for which credit is sought must clearly correlate with the courses currently required within the Medical Assisting curriculum.

Transfer credit or Advanced Placement test credit may or may not be applied toward specific program requirements for graduation.

Courses with a BIO prefix completed more than five years ago and courses with a MED prefix or with medical assisting core content completed more over three years ago will not be accepted for transfer credit. Courses that are sequential must have been taken at the same institution in order to be awarded transfer credit.

The department head and the dean of Heath Sciences will review transcripts from accredited institutions and recommend or deny credit according to the above requirements.

No credit is awarded for experiential learning.

The following will be required as part of the transfer/Advanced Placement procedures:

  • A letter from the candidate requesting acceptance into the Medical Assisting program at Wake Tech, including the reason for the transfer
  • A reference letter from the Medical Assisting department head of the school from which you are transferring
  • A letter from a professional reference
  • Copies of official transcript(s), as well as documentation of the successful achievement of the Medical Assisting Education Review Board's Core Competencies that are taught in the course(s) for which transfer credits are sought
  • An updated or a new physical information form, including immunization records and current first aid and CPR certifications
  • An updated or a new criminal background check, as well as complete drug screen
  • A medical insurance card

The department head reserves the right to contact the former program to verify the accuracy of the information provided prior to making a decision regarding acceptance.

Is this program eligible for any form of financial aid?

Yes. Financial aid – scholarships, grants, loans and work-study – is provided by federal and state governments, colleges, community organizations, private corporations and individuals to help students meet the costs of education. Students should consult a financial aid advisor for more information.

I'm interested in medical assisting. What is my next step?

Apply online to Wake Tech.

If you have additional questions about Medical Assisting, email Health Sciences Admissions and Advising at [email protected].