Technical Standards

The Medical Assistant program prepares students to be entry-level medical assistants in a clinical setting. The profession’s scope of practice requires demonstration of responsibilities and accountability within the role and the competencies expected of a medical assistant. It is important to note that the medical assistant profession is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding.

Some chronic or recurrent illnesses and problems could interfere with patient care and safety, and may be incompatible with a career as a medical assistant. Students in the Medical Assistant program are not required to disclose any chronic or recurrent illness and/or disability; however, those with concerns about meeting any technical standards are strongly encouraged to discuss the issues with the Department Chair.

Indicated below are several examples of the scope of practice, roles, and competencies that will be encountered:

Communication-Based Standards

  • Able to effectively communicate with others in English, both verbally and in writing
  • Possess sufficient communication skills (verbal, nonverbal, and written) to interact with others
  • Ability to hear and observe clinical staff and patients in order to accurately assess vital signs; elicit information; perceive nonverbal communications; describe changes in mood, activity, and posture; and recognize and respond to an emergency situation
  • Possess appropriate interpersonal communication skills to interact positively with all persons, regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation
  • Apply the principles of confidentiality, respect, and discretion

Physical Strength (Gross Motor Control) 

  • Ability to lift 25 pounds unassisted in a safe manner, thereby protecting yourself, the client, and those in close proximity to you.
  • Bend and/or lift to assist client with activities of daily living and manipulate client equipment.
  • Lift to safely transfer or position all clients in various situations.
  • Move, push, or pull equipment such as beds, stretchers, wheelchairs, etc.
  • Ability to raise arms over one’s head in order to assist clients and manipulate equipment.
  • Walk/stand for extended periods and distances over an eight-hour period.

Manual Dexterity (Fine Motor Movement) 

  • Accurately manipulate dials, gauges, buttons, and switches to set, monitor, and care for client care related equipment.
  • Safely and effectively perform dressing procedures without contaminating the wound.
  • Successfully don and remove protective apparel (including sterile gloves) to maintain standard precautions.

It is the student’s responsibility to understand the duties, responsibilities, skills, and abilities required to be a medical assistant. In addition to the technical standards described above, students are encouraged to review the information regarding medical assisting at the O*NET website.