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Health Careers Resource Center > Health Programs > Medical Assisting at a Glance

Medical Assisting at a Glance

What does a medical assistant do?

  • Performs administrative and clinical tasks that help the offices of doctors and other health practitioners run smoothly
  • Schedules appointments, maintains medical records, bills and codes for insurance purposes, takes and records vital signs and medical histories, prepares patients for examination, draws blood and gives medication as directed by a physician
  • Has direct patient contact with hands-on medical procedures, but also does office work and communicates with medical staff (Note: medical assistants are different than physician’s assistants, who examine and diagnose patients under the direct supervision of a physician)

What is the career outlook?

  • One of the fastest-growing careers in the nation, as health-care facilities need support personnel who can handle both administrative and clinical duties
  • Standard five-day, 40-hour workweek may include weekends, nights or on-call hours
  • Job opportunities most plentiful for medical assistants with certification
  • Work available in doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, emergency clinics and outpatient care facilities
  • In Texas: 32 percent projected job growth through 2020 and median salaries $12.97 per hour or $27,000 annually*
    Dallas County: median salaries $14.05 per hour or $29,200 annually*

Statistics are included only as guidelines and will vary with fluctuations in the economy and job market. More specific local hiring and salary information can be obtained at college information sessions.

Medical Assisting program

Awards and coursework Brookhaven El Centro Richland Credit hours Continuing Education contact hours
Medical Assisting CertificateX40 
Medical Assisting CertificateX768
Continuing Education coursework for specific skills trainingXXvaried
Although certification is not required in the state of Texas, employers may prefer to hire certified medical assistants.  Certification indicates that a medical assistant meets certain standards of knowledge in the field, which may lead to higher salary or more employment opportunities. For more information, visit the American Association of Medical Assistants website. 

Measures of effectiveness El Centro

Licensure exam pass rates for students attending**

Licensure/Certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants


Employment rates for college graduates attending**


What are the program prerequisites?

Here is a link to the current course catalog listing all of the prerequisites, courses included and the length of the program. Medical Assisting Certificate

Other helpful links:

Who can help me decide which health science career is right for me?

Contact the Health Careers Resource Center.

What more do I need to know?

  • Acceptance to the credit Medical Assisting program is by a competitive selection process based on a weighted point system.
  • Learn more about Medical Assisting.

*America’s Career Infonet 2011 data for medical assistants
**Licensure Data Reporting System from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board 2012-2013