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, 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 student led HOSA Chapter has been active in the following ways:

  • Organized a health fair to raise awareness about Type 2 Diabetes in the North Philadelphia Latino community
  • Actively participated in the Champions of Hope: Latinos Preventing Diabetes efforts, including work in a community garden to facilitate healthy eating
  • Fundraising efforts
  • Students attended PENN HOSA State Leadership Conference and won gold and silver medals in 2022 and 2023
  • Students attended HOSA International Leadership Conference in Dallas in 2023 and also won medals

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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Russell Reyes, MHA, Clinical Assistant

Russell Reyes, MHA, Clinical Assistant

Masters of Health Administration, Drexel
Bachelors in Health Service Administration, Drexel
Associates Applied Science in Medical Assisting, Esperanza College

Current Job Title: Practice Manager, Education Plus Health

Russell Reyes joined Esperanza College in August 2022 as an Adjunct Professor in the Medical Assistant Program. In August 2023, Russell stepped in as the Clinical Assistant/Lab Manager for our current Medical Assistant Students. Professor Reyes has over 8 years experience as a Certified Medical Assistant across various specialties such as pediatrics, urgent care, primary care, infectious disease, school health & in-patient care. Professor Reyes’ students can expect him to ensure they are successful throughout their program and understand their long-term goals they have set for themselves during and after their educational studies.

Professor Reyes resides in Philadelphia, PA with his partner and his dog Princess. In his spare time, he is a cheerleading coach for the Fishtown Sharks Cheerleading organization. Russell completed his degree at Esperanza College as part of the first graduating class in the MA program.

Courses Taught

    • MEDA 150- Medical Terminology
    • MEDA 160- Clinical Procedures and Diagnostics
    • MEDA 300- Clinical 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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