What Will You Learn in MA Courses?

Maybe you’ve decided that you want to pursue a career in patient care as a medical assistant. You’ve likely done some research and concluded that you’ll enjoy helping people, managing the finer details, and learning something new every day at work. If you’re excited to begin your courses and earn your MA certification, you may be wondering the specific skills and concepts you’re going to cover. Here are a few primary topics that your medical assistant classes will highlight, depending on your focus! While courses will vary depending on what you want to specialize in, core topics include:

  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Medical Communications
  • Medical Records
  • Insurance
  • Patient Preparation
  • Basic Laboratory Procedures & Tests
  • Total Patient Care


Anatomy and Physiology


This class essentially covers the human body’s about the structure and parts of the human body and how they work. This is an important foundation for your future career as a medical assistant. This information gives medical assistants on the job perspective and understanding to determine appropriate patient care.  This is a core topic covered in MA school that will be the basis of your career in the field. Especially if you’re handling patient care or laboratory procedures, anatomy and physiology are key. You’ll need a solid understanding of anatomy and physiology to interpret patients complaints of pain and discomfort. This will come in handy when translating the information to doctors and nurses.


Medical Terminology


Are you a pro at flash cards? You’ll thrive in your courses on medical terminology. Internalizing the right terms for your daily routine on the job will be crucial to effective communication. All medical assistance classes will cover sections on medical terminology. Although memorization can sometimes feel empty or pointless, in the field of medical assistantship it’s actually very valuable. Misspelling or incorrectly translating medical terminology on the job could lead to serious mistakes in treatment. Your MA classes will prepare you for real world scenarios that require knowledge of medical terminology. Check out these study tips for memorization, organization and preparing for your MA certification exam.



Often, students of an MA training program study a topic called Pharmacology. While this subject does differ from pharmacy training, MA students do still learn information pertaining to drugs. Depending on your specific goals, you may take a course on Pharmacology demonstrating the way drugs interact with and effect the body. In most cases, MA programs include “externships,” or on the job training alongside doctors and nurses in real workplaces. This provides an opportunity for potential medical assistants to put the information they learn on paper into the context of day to day work. This can come in handy with pharmacology in particular because MA students can see drugs administered in person, such as injections.

Total Patient Care

In any MA class, you’ll cover appropriate patient care procedure. This may include helping transport patients, administering blood tests, monitoring patient needs, helping with patient stress tests and more. There is a wide range of tasks included in the umbrella of patient care, and you can even earn a certificate as a patient care technician. During your program, you’ll get to spend time in a real healthcare environment observing patient care techniques and standards. On the job training is a key part of preparation for both your exam and first position. If you are interested in patient home care or hospice care, you may benefit from a PCT (patient care technician) program. These programs teach you how to care for the elderly or disabled individuals. Both medical assistants and patient care technicians can be responsible for helping seniors or disabled people complete everyday activities like eating or bathing. This kind of direct patient care requires sensitivity, compassion and attention to detail.  


Medical Office Administration


As a student, you’ll actually practice medical office administration by practicing common procedure for patients, paperwork and scheduling. Medical Assistant curriculum often covers common software used in healthcare, because properly scheduling appointments will be a key focus of medical administrative assistant’s position. You may go over professional phone manners and protocol as well as general clerical skills necessary. You’ll also be instructed about patient privacy and HIPAA guidelines, also known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. These guidelines set a standard of privacy and car in the medical profession.


Your MA courses may also cover various types of health insurance and billing. Learning the correct medical billing and coding processes can actually prime you as a medical assistant for career advancement.  As a medical assistant, you could wind up responsible for coding a patient’s visit through their insurance and referring them to a specialist in their network. Career options for this area of study include:


  • Clinical Medical Assistant
  • Administrative Medical Assistant
  • Medical Receptionist
  • Medical Insurance Billing
  • Medical Records Specialist


If you’re considering a career as a medical assistant, read over these topics as you choose a focus and path. The categories highlighted above demonstrate the core skills that you’ll learn in a medical assistant program. To learn more about medical programs  and which certification might be right for you, visit www.woodruffmedical.edu today.



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