Medical Assistant

Channel your passion for helping people into a rewarding career as a medical assistant

The UNLV Medical Assistant Certificate program is an intensive and comprehensive course of study that offers students the opportunity to start an exciting new career. This program will enable you to meet your career goals by focusing on essential concepts and skills most in demand by health care providers. Our goal is to provide you with both the practical information and the hands-on experience you need to enter the marketplace.

Program Overview

The UNLV Medical Assistant Certificate program is unique in its structure and content. It offers students a high-quality, effective educational experience in every aspect of medical assistant studies at an affordable cost. The program provides you with the skills necessary to function at a high level within the health care arena and to enter the marketplace quickly. 
Training begins in the classroom and simulation lab. Classroom lectures and demonstrations are paired with an online learning management system offering additional resources and tools. Web-based study resources and assessment tools parallel in-person instruction to reinforce concepts and monitor individual progress. Online tools provide remediation in areas where students are weak, giving additional support until students show mastery-level proficiency. Lab time at the UNLV Shadow Lane campus' medical simulation lab offers a high-tech route to become confident with medical procedures so students are well-practiced before working with actual patients. Simulated electronic health record software provides practical experience with patient record entry. Classroom and simulation training are completed in approximately six months. 
Unlike some programs that focus either on administrative office tasks or clinical responsibilities, graduates of UNLV’s medical assistant program are trained and experienced in both areas. On the administrative side, students learn scheduling, reception, bookkeeping, insurance billing and coding, medical record maintenance, and medical law/ethics considerations. Clinical units cover pharmacology, patient care, infection/exposure control, medical procedures, phlebotomy, diagnostic testing, and ECG administration and troubleshooting. Students will also complete CPR/AED Certification.


To reinforce classroom and online training, medical assistant students will complete an unpaid 160 hour externship in a health care facility supervised by medical professionals. Upon successful completion of the externship, students will sit for the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) Medical Assistant certification exam. 

Medical Assistant Responsibilities 

Medical assistants keep the work flow going in all areas of a medical office, clinic, or organization, allowing physicians to focus on their vital work for the patient. The medical assistant is responsible for
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Patient reception and seating
  • Bookkeeping and basic accounting
  • Insurance billing and coding
  • Maintaining, sorting, and filing records
  • Preparing patients for examination
  • Explaining treatment or procedures to patients
  • Assisting the physician during the examination
  • Administering medications as directed by a physician
  • Performing cardiac, pulmonary, and visual screening tests
  • Changing wound dressings
  • Arranging instruments and equipment
  • Restocking supplies and medication samples
In less time than you think, you could become an important part of a medical team. If you are passionate about helping people, you will find a career as a medical assistant truly rewarding. As a graduate of the UNLV Medical Assistant Certificate program, you will be qualified to work in
  • Private physician offices
  • Medical clinics
  • Medical labs
  • Specialized medical organizations
  • Insurance companies
  • Hospitals
  • Medical research organizations
  • Office of other medical organizations

Before You Enroll

Students should have a high school diploma or equivalent to enroll in the program, and are expected to have basic word processing skills and be comfortable navigating the Internet. Students will also need daily access to the Internet and have access to a printer. Students must have updated immunizations and a physical exam prior to beginning their externship.

Nevada Medical Assistant License or Certificate Requirements

The state of Nevada does not require medical assistants to have a license or a certificate. However, employers prefer to hire experienced individuals who have medical training in necessary skills over those who don’t. 

Registration & Fees

The registration fee includes books, online interactive study resources, scrubs, and materials. Program has an optional 160-hour externship for those students who want to pursue on-the-job training.

Financial Assistance Available

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan - A specific type of private loan that requires the university to assist in the application process. For more information about this loan, visit Sallie Mae Information and Application Tips.

Interested participants may also visit Workforce Connections to check eligibility for grant funding.   

Class Schedule

The UNLV Medical Assistant Certificate is taught Monday through Thursday evenings. Externships are scheduled with the host clinic. 

Program Class Location

Shadow Lane Campus

The UNLV Shadow Lane Campus—located on the corner of Charleston Boulevard and Shadow Lane—is in the heart of the city’s medical district. At full build-out, the 18.2 acre campus will support nearly 420,000 square feet of advanced training and research space. Shadow Lane features the latest medical simulation equipment and high-tech classrooms.

Free Information Sessions

Find out how you can develop the technical skills, knowledge, and work habits required of a medical assistant. Attend a free information session to meet the instructors and learn about class format, curriculum, facilities, online support, financial assistance, and employment outlook. Upcoming information session dates and times are posted online.
Learning Outcomes: 
PDF icon Medical Assistant Academic Plan345.24 KB