Esperanza College intends its graduates to be able to pursue their dreams to the fullest potential. With a degree in Medical Assisting, graduates will be qualified to work in the health care industry as an integral support to doctors and other health professionals by performing critical clinical and administrative tasks.

Training consists of providing basic medical functions, becoming knowledgeable in patient care, and enabling quality and accurate preparation of patients. Students will have a solid grasp of medical insurance and billing procedures and will obtain technical skills that will enable them to take part in any working environment.

The Medical Assisting Degree also provides students with a scientific background. Laboratories and class activities are designed to help students discover their dreams of becoming a healthcare professional.

Esperanza College provides an Associate Degree in Applied Science and the opportunity to sit for a nationally recognized Certified Medical Assistant exam, as well as Safety and First Aid Certification. Unlike a liberal arts education, the Associate in Applied Science provides the General Education up-front and allows for heavy concentration of critical concentration courses, readying students for academic rigor in the medical sciences.

Medical assisting is foundational to the running of operations of any healthcare organization or business. Medical assistants enable care and provide service to the community that is highly rewarding as a career track on its own. There is growing need for healthcare professionals, and particular for qualified and certified medical assistants. Take a look at the exciting Curriculum to see if Medical Assisting is right for you!

Program Student Learning Goals
  • Students possess the foundational knowledge required to serve as certified medical assistants in a professional setting.
  • Students utilize knowledge of math and science in making critical decisions regarding patient care and management of a primary care setting.
  • Students can perform college-level academic research in the field of life sciences and healthcare.
  • Students evaluate ethical engagement through a faith-based understanding of the holistic human being as a spiritual, physical, psychological, and legal agent.

* Students may substitute more advanced courses if able to meet specific course prerequisites.


Field experience is an essential element of the Esperanza College program for students to gain first-hand experience the field of health care. All Medical Assisting students complete a mandatory 160-hour clinical externship in an outpatient or inpatient setting. Some of our externship partners include the primary care sites of Delaware Valley Community Health, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Esperanza Health Centers, and offices within the Holy Redeemer system. At these locations, students are mentored as they practice key clinical and administrative skills—from administering injections, billing and coding for third party payers to documenting an electronic medical record.

Upon matriculation into the program, students will be informed of field experience placement and timeline from the program Clinical Assistant.

Four Year Plan

An Associate’s degree opens doors to a long-term career and is the first step toward other credentials, certifications, and higher-level degrees, all of which can lead to a rewarding career and increasing your earning power.

Graduates of Esperanza College with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Assisting receive certification in safety and first aid, and the opportunity to sit for a nationally recognized Certified Medical Assistant exam.

Esperanza’s Associate’s in Applied Science is organized to give students a strong foundation: the general education courses, field experience, and critical degree-specific courses are designed to prepare students for the academic rigor in the medical sciences field.

By completing the first two years of undergraduate work along with the initial prerequisites of the program, graduates are also prepared to begin work toward the next degree or certification.

With an Associate’s degree in Medical Assisting, Esperanza graduates can continue towards a bachelor’s degree in several allied health fields, including hospital-based nursing programs, or towards specialized certification. (The exact number of credits transferred is determined by each receiving institution.)


The Esperanza College HOSA Chapter is a program medical assisting students can join to enhance their learning. Our HOSA Chapter has been active in the following ways:

  • Raised money for AIDS research and the March of Dimes
  • Volunteered with The Garces Foundation to provide health screenings to uninsured patients
  • Received certification as “lay health educators” from Drexel Medical School’s Ujima program
  • Organized a health fair to raise awareness about Type 2 Diabetes in the North Philadelphia Latino community
  • Won a gold medal at the 2014 Pennsylvania HOSA State Leadership Conference

To find out more about HOSA, visit


Nilsa Graciani, Program Director

Nilsa Graciani, Program Director

PhD, Organic Chemistry, Texas A&M University
BS, Concentration in Chemistry, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras

Dr. Nilsa Graciani joined the team at Esperanza College in July 2011 as an Adjunct Professor. In October 2013 she assumed the position of Director for Middle Level Education, Math and Science, and currently serves as the Director of STEM and Medical Assisting.

Prior to her work at Esperanza, Dr. Graciani held research scientist positions in the pharmaceutical industry. Her research included work with peptides and small molecules in various therapeutic areas including cancer, cardiovascular, inflammation, infectious diseases and women’s health. She has been a speaker at scientific and health conferences.

Professor Graciani lives in Garnet Valley, PA with her husband and three children. She is actively involved at her church. She is on the Advisory Board of the Young Professionals Network at the Greater Philadelphia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Fox Chase Cancer Center Community Advisory Board.  She also serves on the Occupational Advisory Board of two local high schools. In 2019 her role expanded to Chief STEM Officer at Esperanza where she identifies and leads opportunities for the youth at Esperanza and the surrounding community.  Her work allows her to impact younger generations by sharing her passion and developing in them a love for becoming professionals in STEM and health related fields.

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Colleen Ingram, Clinical Assistant

Colleen Ingram, Clinical Assistant

RN, Northeastern Hospital School of Nursing

Professor Colleen Ingram has 24 years of experience as a Critical Care Registered Nurse.  Becoming part of the Esperanza family has taught her the importance of a one to one relationship.  Every day she is surrounded by people who are passionate about wanting to teach our students the skills they need to succeed in their relationship with God, their community, and themselves.  Her students can expect a professor who wants to know what their long-term goals are and who will help them achieve them.

Courses taught:

  • MEDA 101 | Introduction to Medical Assisting
  • MEDA 150 | Medical Terminology
  • MEDA 300 | Medical Assisting Externship

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Ann Sullivan

Ann Sullivan

RN, Germantown Nursing School
BSN- Chamberlain University- In progress

Ann Sullivan is a Registered Nurse who has been in the nursing field for over 30 years.  She has been teaching in the medical field for the past 6 years. Previously, she was a Director of Nursing at a local home care, worked as a manager at a long-term care facility, and has worked as a critical care nurse in a hospital setting.  She started teaching at Esperanza in 2017 and enjoys teaching in a Christian atmosphere and counts among her blessings all of her wonderful coworkers and all of the dedicated students at Esperanza.  She enjoys learning from her students as much as she enjoys teaching them.  She lives in Montgomery County with her husband, mother and 5 children.

Courses taught:

  • MEDA 160 | Clinical Procedures and Diagnostics
  • MEDA 260 | Phlebotomy

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