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AH 297 - Cooperative Education - Medical Assistant

2 Semester Hour Credits

Course Description
Cooperative Education is the "clinical component" of the medical assisting program. The course provides students with "hands on" practical experiences related to careers as medical assistants. This experience takes place in ambulatory care settings. The employer does an evaluation of the work experience; the faculty advisor and cooperative education coordinator oversee student placement and progress. Students are required to complete a project assigned by the faculty advisor. A minimum of 180 hours of work is required to earn two credits. DCB interns are covered under the ND University System liability insurance policy.

Instructor: Diane Sjol; Email: diane.sjol@dakotacollege.edu

Schedule: Fall, Spring, and Summer. Completion of this course can be spread over two terms.

Delivery Method: Documents that must be completed are accessed online via Electronic Reserves and can be submitted by e-mail, fax, or mail. Students complete the requirements of the course at the work site. Students do not need to come to the campus at any time.

Instructions for Accessing AH 297 Medical Assistant Cooperative Education Documents

Prerequisite Courses: AH 171 Medical Terminology, AH 134 Medical Disorders, PHRM 215 Introduction to Pharmacology, AH 137 Clinical Specialties, and AH 136 Clinical Procedures or advisor approval. Students must also have completed (or be in the process of completing) the business and office courses to be taken concurrently.



No textbook. Cooperative Education forms are available through Electronic Reserves (eRes) via the Internet. Contact the Cooperative Education coordinator for assistance. (Diane Sjol)

Other Materials


You can order your books through the DCB Bookstore.

Course Objectives

The course provides hands-on learning in medical assisting through work experience in a clinical setting. It is expected that students will be able to:

  • Register for and complete 2 credits of cooperative education in medical assisting at an approved site. This is equivalent to 180 hours of work in an ambulatory care setting.
  • Successfully complete this course to earn a medical assistant degree.
  • Complete this course to be eligible to write the national AMT medical assisting certification examination.

Work Expectations

  • Students are expected to dress appropriately, usually scrubs or casual attire (not jeans). Typically, students should follow the dress code of the facility. Although wearing a white lab coat is optional, it is strongly encouraged.
  • Students are expected to have and wear a name tag. The name tag will state the student's first name and last initial and will identify the student as a DCB medical assistant student.
  • Students must complete all tasks on the clinical skills checklist.
  • Students must complete and submit enrollment and evaluation forms to the Cooperative Education Coordinator.

Preparing for a Cooperative Education Clinical Internship

  • Before using clinical skills at an internship site, students must come to campus or use a video tape to demonstrate competency in each skill. These demonstrations are required in the prerequisite course, AH 136 Clinical Procedures. The date for competency testing is set by the instructor of the Clinical Procedures class, and students are notified in advance when they are expected to be on campus.
  • Students are responsible for finding an ambulatory clinic in which to complete their internship.
  • Students will not be allowed to start a clinical internship until an agreement has been signed with the healthcare facility; therefore, students should set up their internships the semester prior to their participation.
  • Students must have a GPA of 2.5 in the core courses of the medical assistant program to begin an internship.
  • The procedure for finding and setting up an internship is as follows:
    1. The student will find a clinic at which he/she will get a variety of experiences in the field of medical assisting.
    2. The student will contact the appropriate person at that clinic (generally the director of nursing or the clinic manager) and set up an appointment to visit with that person about the possibility of completing an internship there.
    3. The student will explain that he/she is in the process of completing a Medical Assistant degree from Dakota College at Bottineau, Bottineau, ND.
    4. The student will discuss the role of the medical assistant and the program expectations with the clinic manager.
    5. The clinic site must be willing to provide the student with a preceptor (either a medical assistant or a nurse) who will assist and provide guidance to the student. The student is not allowed to complete an unsupervised internship. If the preceptor is a medical assistant, a nurse must always be available and responsible for the student medical assistant.
    6. The preceptor must be willing to monitor the student as he/she completes the tasks listed on the clinical skills checklist. Completion of the tasks by the student must be verified by the preceptor.
    7. The facility must be willing to sign an agreement with DCB stating that they are willing to have one of our students at their facility.
    8. After the student has found a suitable internship site and has met with with the clinic manager, the student must provide the program advisor with the clinic name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and name of the contact person.
    9. The program advisor will contact the facility to discuss the details of the internship and approve the site. A formal agreement will then be sent to that facility for a signature. This step must be completed before the internship can begin.
    10. The student will be notified once the site is approved.
    11. The student will then contact the facility to set up hours for the internship. The hours must be workable both for the student and the facility.
    12. Plan to work a minimum of 4-6 hours per day. It is best to work 8 hour shifts if possible. It is not considerate to the clinical facility for a student to schedule only 2-3 hours per day. Limited hours does not make for a good learning experience, and it is frustrating to the clinic staff for students to be there only a few hours. Students are expected to work right along with the staff at the facility and to work the same hours as the regular employees. If available, you can schedule hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
    13. At the completion of the internship, the student must submit paperwork that documents his/her experience to the Cooperative Education Coordinator. This includes an evaluation of the cooperative education experience. The Program Advisor will award the grade.

Technology Required

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