Frequently Asked Questions

What is a medical assistant?
A medical assistant is a health professional that performs a wide variety of administrative and clinical tasks within a physician’s office.

What does a medical assistant do?
Medical assistant jobs vary from office to office, but in general, these health care workers will greet patients, update and file patient and medical records, fill out insurance forms, schedule appointments and handle billing and accounting procedures. In addition, a medical assistant takes patient medical histories and vital signs, prepares patients for examination, collects blood specimens by both capillary or veripuncture technique, gives injections, removes sutures, performs basic laboratory tests, sterilizes equipment, authorizes and phones in drug refills, perform EKGs, prepare patients for X-rays, and explains treatment procedures to patients.

Where do medical assistants work?
In 2002, medical assistants held about 365,000 jobs in this country. Sixty percent were employed in physicians' offices and 15 percent in hospitals, with the remaining 25 percent of medical assistants working in nursing homes, outpatient facilities, public health departments and offices of other health practitioners, such as dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors and optometrists.

What is the starting salary for an entry-level medical assistant?
Earnings vary depending on location, experience and skill level. However, the average entry-level medical assistant will earn approximately $14.36 per hour according to the AAMA 2010 salary survey.

What is the current job outlook for this profession?
Due to an increasing number of physician group practices, the medical assistant career is one of the ten fastest-growing careers in health care, and is expected to maintain this momentum of fast growth through the year 2016.

Is there a separate application process for the Medical Assistant program at COD? Are there any program prerequisites?
Yes. Please look at the Admissions Packet for more information. Students must have a high school diploma or GED. In addition, students are required to:

1) complete English 1101 with a "C" or better (or receive a Category 1 score on the college's Reading Placement Test)
2) receive a Category 4 score on the Writing Placement Essay
3) complete Math 1100 or higher with a "C" grade or better (or receive a score of 36 or above on the Math Pre-Course Test) 

Who can I contact for more information?
Call Health Science coordinator Nancy Feulner, MT, ASCP, at
(630) 942-2124, email:
or Medical Assistant practicum coordinator Diane Gryglak, (630) 942-3507.


Contact Information

If you are interested in learning more about this program, please

    1. Attend an advising session
    2. Visit a Health Career Program Advisor by calling (630) 942-2259 to make an appointment.
    3. For information or general inquiries, please send an email to (Please use above phone number only to schedule an appointment. Do not send an appointment request to this email).

Feedback/compliments/concerns regarding this Health Science Program. For general inquiries, please use contact information listed above.