Cue the music, and let the confetti poppers fly!  

For the first time in Muscatine Community College’s (MCC) Medical Assistant program history, 90% of its students have passed the Medical Assistant – NCCT examination. This achievement stands out against the national average pass rate of 65%, highlighting the merit of MCC’s students and faculty.  

Amy Hartog, the EICC Medical Assisting Instructor and Campus Coordinator, radiates joy as she discusses this milestone. "I am incredibly proud of all my students' success," she shares. "They work hard to balance family, jobs, and school. Many of them face adversity and obstacles along the way that they overcome to reach their goals." 

Rigorous Preparation 

Preparing for the NCCT exam is no small feat. The students take several courses that provide the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for the national boards. Weekly quizzes, midterms, and final exams for each medical assisting program course ensure that students are consistently engaged and improving.  

"They must achieve 70% or above on the first attempt or they have to retake tests," Hartog explains. "This motivates them to be prepared for all course quizzes and tests, which correlate to the NCCT national exam content." 

To further support their preparation, students enroll in MAP - 149, an exam review course taken in the final 8-week term. This course includes practice tests, activities, and a study calendar to help students to feel confident and ready for the exam. 

A Committed Cohort 

When asked about the factors contributing to this record success, Hartog reflects on the unique attributes of this cohort.  

"This was a committed group of students. They all had great attendance and held themselves accountable to high academic standards," she notes. "I hold them accountable to professionalism standards that they are required to meet during classes and while at externship clinical experiences." 

The success of these students is not only a testament to their hard work but also a reflection of the program's quality. "Passing the NCCT exam prior to graduation ensures that students can stand out and compete with other job applicants," says Hartog. “This high percentage of students passing boards is also important for future students to know that we have a high-quality program.” 

Foundation for Professional Success 

The Medical Assistant – NCCT certification is crucial for employability in the local healthcare sector. "The national board certifications are required for most of the local healthcare organizations that hire medical assistants. It is important that these students are employable at graduation," Hartog explains.  

Additionally, students have the option to pursue other certifications like the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) and Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exams, further enhancing their career prospects. 

EICC’s Medical Assistant Program is a competency-based program that ensures students meet affective, psychomotor, and cognitive competency skills. As these newly certified medical assistants embark on their professional journeys, they carry with them the knowledge, skills, and confidence gained through their rigorous training at EICC, ready to make a difference in the healthcare industry. 

Bright Futures Ahead 

The future looks promising for MCC's medical assistant graduates. Out of 12 students, 10 have already received job offers from their externship sites, including prominent local healthcare organizations like Unity Point, Genesis, and The University of Iowa. The remaining two students are exploring opportunities with other organizations. 

Through a beaming smile, Hartog adds, “They have earned and deserve their success.” 

For more information about our Medical Assistant Program, visit