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Degree Overview

Associate of Science in Medical Assisting

South University 2020 Graduation

Medical assistants are multi-skilled allied health professionals who perform a wide range of roles in physicians’ offices, clinics, and other healthcare settings. They are proficient in a multitude of clinical and administrative tasks and are widely viewed by doctors as vital members of the healthcare delivery team. The Associate of Science in Medical Assisting program is devoted to a competency-based education with emphasis on the students’ mastery of clinical and administrative competencies. These competencies are validated through performance on tests, terminal performance objectives, and a clinical externship. Their training culminates in a required 160-hour, unpaid, supervised practicum at a local medical practice during their last term of study.

Admission Requirements

Note: Not all Online Program offerings are available to residents of all U.S. states. Please contact an admissions representative for further information.General Undergraduate Admission Requirements

To be admitted to any of the undergraduate programs at South University, the prospective student must provide proof of high school graduation as recognized by the state of residence on the date the degree was earned, or the equivalent (e.g. GED with no single test score below 145 or numeric score equivalent to 2.0 on old version or state-issued certificate designated as the equivalent of a High School Diploma) with a minimum CGPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale. The prospective student must also complete the university administered placement tests prior to the start of the first quarter for campus students and during the first session of attendance for online students. South University accepts the International Baccalaureate Program diploma as meeting the requirement for high school graduation. Credentials earned outside the United States must be evaluated by a NACES or AICE-member credential evaluation service.  Please speak with an admissions representative for more information.

Students with less than the minimum CGPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale may meet admissions requirements by submitting a minimum combined SAT (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Math) score of 700 or 900 on the old SAT, a combined ACT score of 18, or a satisfactory score on the university-administered admissions examination (see the Admissions Office) or meet the criteria established for acceptance as a transfer student.

Students with less than the minimum CGPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale may be admitted provisionally for two quarters. Failure to achieve a 1.5 CGPA in the first two quarters of attendance will result in dismissal.  Students may appeal the dismissal by following the Procedures for Appealing Academic/Financial Aid Dismissal Policy.

To facilitate the admissions process, unofficial documentation, such as copies of transcripts or grade reports, may be used to determine admission status. Transfer status cannot be designated, however, without some verifying documentation. Admissions test scores on university administered entrance exams will not be accepted from other universities. Prospective students must take a University administered admission exam, like the Accuplacer, at South University.

A student's failure to provide acceptable verification of proof of high school graduation within 5*/10 weeks of his or her start date will result in the following:

  • Removal from class
  • Cancellation of enrollment
  • No final course grades
  • No transcript

*Effective March 22, 2022 - Students beginning classes at the Montgomery campus or High Point Off Campus Instructional Site will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation. ​*Effective April 1, 2022 - Students beginning classes at the Richmond and West Palm Beach campuses will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation.  *Effective May 31, 2022 - Students beginning classes at the Tampa and Orlando campuses will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation. *Effective July 12, 2022 - Students beginning classes at the Austin and Columbia campuses will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation. *Effective August 16, 2022 - Students beginning classes at the Savannah and Virginia Beach campuses will have five weeks to submit acceptable documentation.

NOTES: Students who do not provide proof of high school graduation within the *5/10-week period will not be responsible for any tuition and related fees.

South University may grant exceptions to the 5*/10-week period for unusual situations or circumstances.  All exceptions must be submitted to the office of the University Registrar for approval.

Please see the policy on GPA Calculation for Admission for additional information

Procedure for Admission to the Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Program

In addition to general admission to the University, students should be able to meet the following technical standards for the Medical Assisting Program.

  1. Background Check:

    Students must complete a background check at their own expense using the agency identified by the MA Program Director. No other background checks will be accepted. The background check must be completed at least three weeks prior to the intended start date of the first MA Practicum clinical placement. Students with a positive background check will not be allowed to start AHS2098 Medical Assisting Practicum and will be referred to the MA Progression Committee. The MA program follows the College of Health Professions Background Check Policy and Substance Abuse and Screening Policy located in the South University Catalog (www.southuniversity.edu/admissions/academic-catalog). Applicants are not eligible for admittance into any portion of the MA program if they have a felony conviction, plea, or adjudication withheld, or any disqualifying misdemeanor, for which a pardon or exemption for disqualification has not been received, including but not limited to rape or sexual abuse or molestation, and abuse, endangerment, or neglect of a child, disabled person, or elderly person.

  2. Drug Screen:

    Students must complete drug screen at their own expense using the agency identified by the MA Program Director. No other drug screens will be accepted. The screen must be completed at least three weeks prior to the intended start date of the first MA Practicum clinical placement. Students with a positive drug screen will not be allowed to start the MA Practicum and will be referred to the MA Progression Committee. The MA program follows the College of Health Professions Substance Abuse and Screening Policy located in the South University Catalog (www.southuniversity.edu/admissions/academic-catalog).

  3. Technical Standards:

    Students must meet the technical standards, which describe the physical abilities and behavioral characteristics required of students for full participation and successful completion of the MA program, as well as to function as a fully qualified medical assistant after graduation. Prospective MA students should review these standards and determine if they have any limitations that may interfere with their ability to satisfy any of these requirements.

    The technical standards are: 
  • Sensory Medical Assisting students must be able to read charts, graphs, instrument scales and medication orders, prepare and maintain medical records, and use their senses of hearing and touch to recognize emergencies and to assess the patient's physical condition.
  • Communication The Medical Assisting student must be able to read and write effectively in order to transmit information to all members of the healthcare team. The student must also be able to assess nonverbal communication and respond appropriately. Additional requirements include the ability to interview and record patient histories, provide patient care instructions, use correct telephone technique, collect, prioritize and convey information.
  • Fine Motor Skills The Medical Assisting student must manifest all the fine motor skills necessary to safely and accurately use medical instruments and perform diagnostic and clinical procedures (e.g. obtaining the patient's blood pressure, heart rate and temperature, drawing blood and administering non-intravenous injections). The student must be able to perform basic secretarial skills, including using a keyboard and the operation of common office equipment.
  • Gross Motor Skills The Medical Assisting student must be able to support patients when ambulating, assist patients in and out of a wheelchair, and on and off an examination table. Students must be able to reach equipment and supplies and respond appropriately to emergency situations in a timely manner.
  • Psychological Stability The Medical Assisting student must demonstrate the ability to handle difficult interpersonal situations in a calm and tactful manner. The student must also be able to maintain a composed, competent, and confident demeanor during emergency situations.

MA Clinical Practicum Policies            

  1. Proof of Immunization: MA students are required to provide evidence of the initiation or completion of the Hepatitis B immunization series and current flu shot. The student must upload all original lab results and evidence of immunization through the background screening and compliance tracking agency identified by the MA Program at least three weeks prior to the intended start date of AHS2098 Medical Assisting Practicum. Additional vaccinations may be required by clinical sites. All associated fees are the responsibility of the student.  
  2. CPR/ First Aid and Physical Exam: Students must provide verification of a health care provider level CPR/First Aid certification at their own expense prior to the start of the AHS2098 Medical Assisting Practicum clinical courses in the technical phase of the MA program. A Physical Exam and tuberculosis assessment may be required by some clinical sites prior to the MA Practicum. All associated fees are the responsibility of the student.

Career Outlook

 Graduates of the Associate of Science in Medical Assisting program are prepared to help the physician examine and treat patients, perform laboratory tests, and function as a crucial member of the healthcare team that shares the clinical and administrative responsibilities of operating a medical care facility. Some of the entry-level careers, in addition to Medical Assisting, include:

  • Medical Billing and Coding 
  • Medical Office Management
  • Electronic Medical Records
  • Clinical lab assistant and Phlebotomist

Course Requirements

Associate of Science in Medical Assisting: 92 Credits
Area I General Education Requirements: 48 Credits
Professional Development
Basic Communications
Social and Behavioral Sciences

Program Statistics

South University, Montgomery Campus: Medical Assisting Program
Year Retention
>=60%
Graduate Satisfaction
>=80%
Employer Satisfaction
>=80%
2020  50.00%  100.00%  100.00% 
2019  100.00%  100.00%  100.00% 

Outcomes

Curriculum for Columbia, Montgomery and Savannah.

Medical assistants are multi-skilled allied health professionals who perform a wide range of roles in physicians' offices, clinics, and other healthcare settings. They are proficient in a multitude of clinical and administrative tasks and are widely viewed by doctors as vital members of the healthcare delivery team.

The medical assisting program is devoted to a competency-based education with emphasis on the students' mastery of clinical and administrative competencies. These competencies are validated through performance on tests, terminal performance objectives, and a clinical externship. Their training culminates in a required 160-hour, unpaid, supervised practicum at a local medical practice during their last quarter of study. Program Student Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate the effective utilization of communication and inter-personal relationship skills.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of basic math and science skills.
  • Identify skills required to develop and maintain professionalism.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of medical assisting administration procedures.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of medical assisting clinical procedures.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology principles.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of medical terminology and its application.
  • Demonstrate application of psychology principles.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of medical law and ethics.
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Outstanding Education for Remarkable Careers

Success Stories

We're committed to helping our graduates make an impact in their professional and personal lives. We applaud our alumni and the difference they make. Check out what some of our healthcare graduates have to say.

Demitrius Archie
Demitrius Archie Grad Alumni
Class of '20
Master of Healthcare Administration-South University, Online Programs

“I was the first in my family to go into the military, and the first person of my siblings to graduate with a degree.”

Robyn Smith 2007
Robyn Smith Grad Alumni
Class of '07
Associate of Science in Physical Therapy Assistant-South University, Montgomery

“I had only heard good things about their PTA program and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I find it very rewarding and emotional when a patient of mine who hasn't walked in a while takes steps again. It makes going to work everyday worth it to know that i can help improve the quality of life for some of these people.”

Laceye A. Parker 2010
Laceye Parker Grad Alumni
Class of '13
Doctor of Pharmacy-South University, Columbia

“I had always been interested in healthcare, and as a child thought about becoming a physician. But when both my grandfathers became seriously ill, I came to a new appreciation of the vital role that pharmacists play in achieving positive outcomes for patients. As soon as I completed my master's degree, I decided to enter South University's Doctor of Pharmacy program. I've learned through my work at SCDHEC, and in my MBA program and Pharmacy School at South University, is laying a firm foundation for my career as a pharmacist.”

Crystal May 2014
Crystal May Grad Alumni
Class of '14
Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management-South University, Richmond

“The staff was the heart of my experience at South. The staff worked together to provide a positive learning environment and truly had passion in educating the students. The staff helped me identify my strength and interest in the financial avenue of healthcare, and helped me see the benefits of pursuing this career. South University gave me the tools I need to be successful and validated my capabilities to be a successful professional.”

Anna Langley 2014
Anna Langley Grad Alumni
Class of '14
Master of Science in Physician Assistant-South University, Savannah

“During my [admissions] interview, I really felt like South was a place that professors were encouraging, welcoming, and helpful. I also was drawn to the small groups that they present. I liked the idea of having a faculty member mentor to guide a smaller group of students throughout the entire program. The rigorous nature of the coursework prepared me well for the boards and the ability to be successful in my career. During clinical rotations, I was able to apply what I had learned and gain valuable patient experience that has helped me today”

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

The South University Medical Assisting Programs on the Columbia, Montgomery, and Savannah campuses are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org) upon the recommendation of Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB).  Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP); 9355 - 113th Street North, #7709, Seminole, FL 33775, Email: mail@caahep.org.

The online Associate of Science in Medical Assisting program is not accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (www.caahep.org).