Medical Assistant

DEGREE TYPE:   Diploma     CREDITS: 36    LOCATION: Austin, Owatonna, Online Course(s)    STARTS: Fall and Spring    COURSE PLAN: Austin- 3 Semesters: fall, spring, summer. Owatonna- 3 semesters spring, summer, fall.   

Medical Assistants are allied health professionals who assist physicians in the ambulatory care setting and perform a variety of clinical, laboratory, and administrative tasks. The specific duties of a Medical Assistant may vary by location, specialty, and size of the medical practice. In small practices, Medical Assistants handle both administrative and clinical duties. Those in large practices tend to specialize in a particular area.

This one year, three semester diploma program is designed to prepare students for employment as Medical Assistants. After completion of the first semester, students will earn a Phlebotomy Certificate.

Administrative duties may include:

  • answering telephones
  • greeting patients
  • updating and filing patient medical records
  • filing insurance forms
  • handling correspondence, scheduling appointments
  • arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services
  • diagnostic and procedural coding
  • patient billing and bookkeeping.

Clinical and laboratory duties may include:

  • gathering complete medical histories and recording vital signs
  • explaining treatment procedures
  • preparing patients for and assisting providers with examinations and procedures, collection and preparation of laboratory specimens
  • performance of CLIA waived laboratory tests
  • sterilization of medical instruments, administration of medications
  • immunizations, drawing blood, taking electrocardiograms
  • removing sutures, changing dressings
  • authorizing and telephoning prescription refills as directed
  • instructing patients about medications and special diets
  • preparing patients for x-rays
  • arranging exam rooms
  • purchasing and maintaining equipment and supplies
  • performing first aid and CPR.


Riverland Community College’s Medical Assistant Program prepares competent ethical entry-level medical assistants to provide safe, quality, patient-centered, compassionate care in the clinical, laboratory, and administrative healthcare settings.

Application / Requirements

Application Downloads

Owatonna Application (PDF)

Background Study Requirement

Students accepted and enrolled in an Allied Health Program must complete a Department of Human Services (DHS) background study. The background study will be initiated through the Allied Health Department at the college. Students will receive further details including the DHS privacy practices notice prior to the study being initiated.

Download Background Study Requirement

Employment Outlook

Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging baby-boom population will continue to increase demand for preventive medical services, which are often provided by physicians. As their practices expand, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients.

An increasing number of group practices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities need support workers, particularly medical assistants, to complete both administrative and clinical duties. Medical assistants work mostly in primary care, a steadily growing sector of the healthcare industry. In addition, the number of individuals who have access to health insurance is expected to continue to increase because of federal health insurance reform, increasing patient access to medical care.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics


Program Accreditation

The Medical Assistant program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs ( upon the recommendation of the Medical Assisting Educational Review Board (MAERB)

Additional Information


The material contained in this pamphlet is an introduction to the career of a Medical Assistant and the Medical Assisting program at Riverland Community College – Austin campus.  This material was designed to acquaint counselors, teachers, and prospective students in the area of medical assisting

Download Handbook


Please download the Advising and Application checklist for more information.

Download Checklist

Last Updated: May 5, 2017

Application Downloads

Owatonna Application (PDF)

Information Request