Degree Description: San Joaquin offers a quality degree program that will provide students with extensive medical and office training needed to assist physicians and pursue a career in the healthcare industry. Through the coursework, student will retain valuable information and get hands-on experience with direct patient care. Training will include the incorporation of both classroom and laboratory environments so that students may get a better understanding of healthcare concepts and applications. At the end of the program, students will be able to independently administer injections, properly take electrocardiograms, conduct basic lab tests and be able to take and record vital signs. Students will also be informed on how to assist physicians in minor surgery, be certified in CPR and learn about front office procedures. This degree should take full-time students about two to three to earn. Tuition is $12,700 per academic year. Financial aid is available for eligible students and may help to reduce college costs.

Degree Outlook: This degree is ideal for those who want to be involved in direct patient care but do not want to or have the time to immediately become registered nurses. While the healthcare industry in general is expected to see much growth due to the baby boomer generation’s increasing need for medical attention, medical assisting graduates can expect to enter a secure job field. Most associate degree holders find employment as clinical medical assistants, medical secretaries, occupational health assistants and laboratory assistants. While all career options have a promising outlook, medical assistants positions will be one of the more available jobs within the next decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau predicts that career opportunities for medical assistants will increase by 34 percent, creating 163,900 new jobs in the market during the 2008-18 decade. In addition, more jobs will become available as employees transition to other occupations. Salary varies depending on region, place of employment and education, but most medical assistants earned $28,300 in 2008, according to the Bureau’s latest statistics.

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