What we do:

Scott Hefner, Lab Skills Instructor teaching phlebotomy skills to Medical Assistant Students.

Scott Hefner, Lab Skills Instructor teaching phlebotomy skills to Medical Assistant Students.

Medical Assistants perform administrative office tasks and clinical procedures primarily in medical offices. They work under the supervision of a physician and duties vary depending on the specific needs of the practice. Their work may be of a generalist nature, performing many tasks within the practice, or they may specialize in a particular area (e.g. Claims Analysts, EKG Technician, Laboratory Assistant, Medical Records Clerk, Medical Office Assistant, and Phlebotomist). More specific training may be as an Ophthalmic or Podiatric Medical Assistant.

Video for the John A. Logan College Medical Assistant Program


Medical Assistants (MA) are in high demand throughout the nation and growing in popularity in Southern Illinois. The U.S. government projects a need of 273,000 MA's to fulfill positions between the years 2004-2014. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) indicates that MA's are considered a “High Growth Industry that are critical to the economy and that will add substantial numbers of new jobs”.


Provided by The Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the following list is descriptive of tasks performed by a medical assistant.

  • Answering telephones
  • Greeting patients
  • Updating and filing patients' medical records
  • Filling out insurance forms
  • Handling correspondence
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services
  • Handling billing and bookkeeping
  • Arrange examining room instruments and equipment
  • Taking medical histories and recording vital signs
  • Explaining treatment procedures to patients
  • Preparing patients for examination
  • Assisting physician with examinations and procedures
  • Drawing blood
  • Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
  • Performing basic laboratory tests
  • Disposing of contaminated supplies
  • Sterilizing medical instruments
  • Instructing patients about medications and special diets
  • Preparing and administering medications, including giving injections, as directed by a physician
  • Authorizing drug refills as directed
  • Calling in prescriptions to a pharmacy
  • Performing electrocardiograms
  • Removing sutures
  • Changing dressings
  • Purchase and maintain supplies
  • Keep waiting and examining rooms neat and clean

Medical Assistant Courses:

The medical assistant courses at John A. Logan College expose students to a broad knowledge base, including: anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and coding, medical law and ethics, human relations, patient education, insurance, bookkeeping, medical secretary-receptionist, asepsis, sterilization, instruments, vital signs, physical examinations, clinical pharmacology, minor surgery, therapeutic modalities, laboratory procedures, electrocardiography, and first aid.

General Information:

  • Offered as an evening program, students are on the main campus two to three nights per week for up to five hours at a time.
  • Specialized coursework for medical assistants begin every fall semester and conclude in the spring. Courses must be taken in the order indicated on the curriculum guide.
  • Students complete a 160 hour externship at various clinical sites. Flexibility in scheduling is required to meet the needs of various medical offices.
  • Students accepted into the program must attend the program orientation.
  • CPR-Healthcare Provider is required. Students must hold a current CPR card for the duration of their externship.
  • Students are advised to complete their Nursing Assistant Training, NAD 101, prior to applying for admissions into the Medical Assistant program. BIO 105, Anatomy & Physiology, and BUS 115, Keyboarding, may be completed prior to entry into the program. BIO 205 & 206 may be substituted for BIO 105.
  • Additional math or language skills courses may be required prior to acceptance into the program. Students should consult with an allied health advisor to determine their prerequisites.
  • Registration with the IL Department of Public Health - Health Care Worker Registry is required.
  • A grade of "C" or higher in all Medical Assistant curriculum is required in order to graduate.
  • Drug screening, immunizations, and criminal background checks are required for externships.
  • The current tuition rate is applied for each course.
  • Medical Assistant students are required to purchase a scrub uniform (of their choice), MA Student ID ($8), a USB Thumb drive, watch with a second hand, stethoscope, and CPR card.
  • Applicants must apply for admission to the College. Admission may be completed on-line or in the Admissions office.

Training and Qualifications:

  • Medical Assistants are not licensed.
  • Graduates of John A. Logan College's Medical Assistant Program earn a Certificate of Achievement.

Scope of Practice:

The Medical Practice Act of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation permits physicians to delegate certain clinical procedures and administrative functions to medical assistants. According to Donald A. Balasa, JD, MBA, Executive Director, Legal Counsel, American Association of Medical Assistants, “Such duties would include, in my judgment, giving injections (including immunizations), performing venipuncture, patient education, administering skin tests (including tuberculosis tests), calling in prescription refills as specifically authorized by the overseeing physician, entering physician-approved information verbatim into electronic medical records, and administering medications. Procedures which constitute the practice of medicine, or which state law specifically and unambiguously permits only certain licensed allied health care professionals to perform, however, may not be delegated to unlicensed personnel such as medical assistants.” All allied health care professionals must stay within their scope of practice.


Medical Assistant wages vary throughout the nation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports median annual earnings in May 2004 at $24,610. Locally, experienced medical assistants have reported earning as much as $11.07 per hour.


Medical Assistants are encouraged to obtain their certification. John A. Logan College graduates may sit for their certification exam through the National Center for Competency Testing, where they may be awarded the designation of National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) upon successfully passing. Beginning in Fall 2009, graduates may also apply for certification through the American Medical Technologists (AMT), earning the distinction of Registered Medical Assistant (RMA).

Financial Aid and Scholarships:

Students may apply for financial aid through the College’s Financial Aid department.

To learn about additional scholarships, contact the John A. Logan College Foundation office at (618) 985-2828, ext. 8355, or you can visit the John A. Logan College Foundation website.

Contact Information:

Martha Peebles, R.N., B.S.N, R.M.A. Medical Assistant Program Instructor, Coordinator and Advisor JALC West Frankfort Extension Center, 19 West Frankfort Plaza, West Frankfort, IL 62896 Phone (618) 932-6639 Email: marthapeebles@jalc.edu