According to Americaâ€™s Career Infonet, job openings for medical assistants (MAs) in Texas are expected to grow by a whopping 54 percent â€” more than almost any other job category â€” through the year 2016, significantly higher than the expected national growth rate of 35 percent. MAs can expect to make a median salary of $12.66 an hour, or $26,300 annually.
Medical assistants have great variety in their jobs and are cross-trained to perform numerous administrative and clinical duties. They perform many of these duties under the direction of a physician.
Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing and coding for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood and administering medications.
Besides working in physiciansâ€™ offices, medical assistants can work in hospitals as unit secretaries or patient care technicians, in nursing homes and in emergency clinics.
The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbookâ€™s listing for medical assistants details the nature of the work, working conditions, employment, advancement, salaries and related occupations.
How to Get Started
The Medical Assisting program admits 20 to 30 students each Fall and Spring semester.
There are two official filing periods per calendar year:
- Jan. 1-May 31 for the Fall semester (notification letters are mailed by July 1)
- Aug. 1-Oct. 31 for the Spring semester (notification letters are mailed by Nov. 30)
El Centro College offers associate degrees in Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Echocardiology Technology and Pediatric Echocardiology Technology, referred to collectively as Specialized Imaging programs. These programs share the same competitive application and acceptance procedure via a point system comprised of scores on a personal interview, the HESI A2 test and the applicantâ€™s cumulative grade point average on the Specialized Imaging Core Curriculum.
Before applying to one of the Specialized Imaging Programs, you must complete the entire Specialized Imaging Core Curriculum, which comprises selected general education support courses and health-care-related courses that introduce the theory and application of health-care concepts.
Admission Requirements for the Medical Assisting Program:
- Application and current admission to one of our colleges;
- Viewing a Medical Assisting program information session
- Submission of a complete application packet to the Health Occupations Admissions Office by the deadline of Dec. 31 for the class that begins in June of the following calendar year.
Viewing an online information session is required for application to this program and will address program admissions, application, and acceptance policies in detail.
Medical Assisting Program Information Packet
Get complete information on admission requirements and application instructions in the information packet (PDF â€“ 183KB).
Drug Testing and Criminal Background Check
Students enrolled in El Centro Collegeâ€™s Health Occupation programs are required by Dallas/Ft. Worth Hospital Council member facilities to undergo drug testing and a criminal background check after admission to the program but within 30 days before the start of clinical rotations.
Dallas County residents pay $156 per three-hour class â€” thatâ€™s $52 per credit hour, or just $624 for a full semester load of 12 credit hours.
Compare that to what youâ€™d pay elsewhere! See tuition rates for tuition according to your place of residency.
Rising Star Program
If you are a Dallas County high school graduating senior, you may qualify for Rising Star funds to help pay for this program. The Rising Star program offers academic support services and up to $4,000 for tuition and books, if you have established financial need.
Courses Offered (Curriculum)
This 12-month program is designed to prepare individuals to perform the duties of a medical assistant who can function in an acute care clinic or physicianâ€™s office in the areas of medical office administration, clinical lab procedures and examining room assisting. The student may elect to complete the program either as a block continuing education program or as a credit certificate program.
El Centro offers a 12-month certificate program composed of nine credit hours of general education courses and 33 credit hours of medical assisting-specific courses, for a total of 39 credit hours. Students perform a three-credit-hour, 160-contact-hour unpaid internship upon completion of the didactic and skills courses. During this time students are required to complete credentialing Exam Review Course.
Our catalog provides detailed information about the courses we offer and the courses required for the Medical Assisting certificate.
Accreditation and Affiliations
Each of the Dallas County Community College Districtâ€™s seven colleges â€” Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland â€” is individually accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
El Centro Collegeâ€™s Medical Assisting program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.
Not sure exactly what you want to study? Check out our other health-care-related programs, like Health Information Management, Medical Transcription, Nursing, Patient Care Technician and more.
Other Degree and Certificate Options
The colleges of DCCCD offer nearly 350 career and technical degrees and certificates, plus more than 50 academic degrees. For more information, see a chart of our degree plans by college or visit our credit programs home page.Developing Skills for Success
After completing the didactic courses in the program and learning all of their skills, medical assistant students perform a 160-hour internship at a local physicianâ€™s office or clinic.
Because this profession is very people-centered, we do not offer any Medical Assisting courses online or through distance learning.
Classes for the Medical Assisting program are held at El Centroâ€™s Center for Allied Health and Nursing, in the Paramount Building at Market and Pacific streets, one block northwest from the main campus. Opened in June 2008 to house the collegeâ€™s booming allied health programs, the center comprises 55 classrooms and labs that contain some of the most advanced equipment available to educate health-care students.
The centerâ€™s high-tech equipment includes:
- Teaching labs that simulate surgical and hospital settings for specific program applications
- Microphones and cameras in each classroom to capture audio and video instruction
- Three classrooms with videoconferencing for two-way viewing
- Two simulation labs with computerized patient mannequins
Students are eligible to join the American Association of Medical Assistants, the Texas Society of Medical Assistants and the Dallas Chapter of the Texas Society of Medical Assistants at a special student rate.
Students who join these organizations find that the interaction with practicing, professional medical assistants is helpful in finding employment, engaging in meaningful dialogue and learning from those in the field.
Our Medical Assisting faculty members not only have advanced degrees but also have real-world experience in their profession, which makes them able to relate to the challenges you will face in school and in the job market.
Our instructors work with you one-on-one, helping you to make the most of your Medical Assisting education. See profiles of some of our Medical Assisting faculty.
The Medical Assisting program is designed for direct entry into the workforce. However, if you are interested in earning a degree at a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Services website for guidance on the transfer process.
Dallas County Community College District has an articulation (transfer) agreement with Dallas Baptist University to apply the entire Medical Assisting program toward a bachelorâ€™s degree in health services management. An articulation agreement is also in place with the University of North Texas.
Links to Additional Information
Note: Links to the following websites are provided for your convenience and information and do not constitute official endorsement by us.
- American Medical Technologists is a nonprofit certification agency and professional membership association representing more than 46,000 individuals in allied health care.
- The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program is the largest program accreditor in the health sciences field. In collaboration with its Committees on Accreditation, CAAHEP reviews and accredits more than 2,000 educational programs in 22 health science occupations.
If you have questions about the Medical Assisting program that arenâ€™t answered on our website, please feel free to contact us.