Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Apply to Medical Assisting

To join this program, you must apply for admission. This somewhat competitive program currently accepts 24 students each Spring and Summer Terms and 48 students Fall Term. Spring and Summer Term students begin a day program at Willow Creek Center, and Fall students begin either a day or evening program at the Cascade Campus. Successful candidates have strong communication skills. The selection process is based on a point system – see below how to earn points and become a more competitive applicant.

Questions? Attend an information session or talk with a program advisor.

How to apply

  1. Apply to PCC

    Applying to PCC is free and only takes a few minutes. Complete this step as soon as possible so you can start using PCC resources. On the application, choose Associate of General Studies for your major. (Your major will be updated after you’re admitted to the program.)
    Apply to PCC angle right

  2. Application timeline
    Term you want to start Apply to Medical Assisting
    Spring 2023 – Willow Creek October 17 – December 9, 2022
    NEW! Summer 2023 – Willow Creek January 30 – March 31, 2023
    Fall 2023 – Cascade April 10 – June 16, 2023
    Take prerequisites

    All prerequisite classes must be passed with a grade “C” or above. If you are applying for the Summer Cohort, they must be completed by the end of Winter term. For the Fall Cohort, they must be completed by the end of Spring term. If you are applying for the Spring Cohort, they must be completed by the end of Fall term. If you have met the core requirements of any of these classes at other colleges, please contact healthca@pcc.edu to have your transcripts unofficially evaluated.

    • WR 121: English Composition
    • MP 111: Medical Terminology
    • MTH 60: Introductory Algebra, 1st Term or MTH 58: Math Literacy I – Starting with the Fall 2023 Cohort completing a math class is no longer a prerequisite for this program. Contact healthca@pcc.edu with questions.
    • BI 120: Survey of Body Systems (will also accept BI 121 or 231 and 232)
  3. Check basic qualifications

    This program includes or requires educational experiences that take place in clinical/field environments. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Public Health Division requires students in clinical/field environments to comply with vaccination requirements, including COVID-19 vaccination. Students are also required to pass a criminal background check and drug screenings. If you have any questions, please contact healthca@pcc.edu.

  4. Prepare essays

    Write answers to the following questions.  Each response should be 200-400 words.  You’ll submit these with your application, below. Be sure to include examples to support each response. Need a bit of support to get your ideas from your thoughts to the paper? The career center at Cascade Campus can help. Make an appointment for some guidance, a bit of proofreading, and idea brainstorming. Contact connect2@pcc.edu or 971-722-5600 and ask for an appointment with Tanya Maldonado.

    • Describe your experience related to healthcare and how this experience led you to apply to this program.
    • In your own words, please explain why you think a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is important to a successful career in healthcare. As part of your response, include at least one example of your approach to working with people from different backgrounds or cultures.
    • Optional Question: This is not required and will not be given any specific points but will  help us learn more about you (100 – 200 words). We understand that grades and experience are just one part of who you are. What would you like the admissions committee to know about you that has not been addressed in the other application sections?
  5. Submit application

After you apply

You’ll be notified about your application status by one month after the close of the application period. Check your MyPCC email: all communication is done through your PCC email account.

How are applicants selected?

The admission team will use the points applicants receive from essay questions 1 and 2, combined with a more holistic review process of the applicant pool, to make final admission decisions. Each applicant’s unique profile will be reviewed and a final cohort will be selected considering this information to best ensure we admit a cohort that meets our mission statement and that will add value to the field of Medical Assisting.

  • Essay question 1: Related experience – up to 25 points
  • Essay question 2: Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion – up to 25 points

See the printable admissions advising guide for detailed information on the point system.

Applicants who qualify, but do not have the top points for admission, will be notified of their status as a program alternate. Often, alternates are eventually selected for the program. Alternates will be listed in order of points, and in the case of students receiving the same points by the order of applications received by admissions.


To reduce your course load once admitted, we encourage students to take these classes before starting the program:

  • MP140: Intro to Health Law and Ethics
  • MP 135: Pharmacology – Allied Health
  • an approved Human Relations elective
Recommended biology prerequisites

If you took BI 120, that is the only Biology course you will need for the MA Program.

If you took BI 121: Intro Human Anatomy & Physiology I to satisfy the biology prerequisite, we recommend you take BI 122: Intro Human Anatomy & Physiology II before starting the program.

If you took BI 231 and BI 232: Human Anatomy & Physiology I and II to satisfy the biology prerequisite, we recommend you take BI 233: Human Anatomy & Physiology III before starting the program.