Becoming a Medical Assistant

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If you’re wondering how to become a medical assistant and are also eager to get started right away on their new career path, you’ve come to the right place! The good news is that becoming a medical assistant may not be as involved as other health care career tracks. Because you may be performing clerical or clinical tasks under the supervision of doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals, you may be able to prepare for a medical assisting career in a year or two. [i] Read on to learn how you can get started.

What medical assistant requirements I should be aware of?

Requirements for becoming a medical assistant vary by state and employer. You may be able to get started in this career with a high school diploma, but in most cases, health care providers look for medical assistants who have completed a diploma or degree program in medical assisting. [i]

Medial assisting certification is optional, but may be preferred by employers. [i] You may want to earn one of 5 certification options, such as Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National Healthcareer Association. Certification may be obtained by passing an exam or by earning a diploma or degree from an accredited program.

What medical assisting courses do I need to take?

Though medical assistant requirements vary, it may be in your best interest to earn a diploma or degree from an accredited program with a good success rate for graduates. There are a variety of medical assisting courses and programs available at community colleges, vocational schools, technical colleges, and universities. In many cases, you can earn a diploma in about a year, but 2-year associate’s degree programs are sometimes available.

In a typical medical assisting program, you can expect to take courses in medical terminology, billing and coding, first aid, and more. You’ll likely cover skill areas such as patient interaction, measuring patients’ vital signs, preparing blood for the lab, and completing administrative tasks like electronic records management. If you’re still in high school and know you’re interesting in pursuing a career as a medical assistant, try to take classes in biology, chemistry, and math; this may help you to prepare for postsecondary coursework.

Still wondering how to pursue a career as a medical assistant? Check out some medical assistant programs offered online or in your community to learn more about this exciting potential career path.