Here, you will find details on how to become a medical assistant with the five steps discussed here you will become a certified medical assistant in just a few years. Read the post carefully and don’t leave anything out as every step is important for you to be on this career path.
Getting into the medical field can be very hard and while many people aspire to become professional, licensed medical practitioners they can’t get into med school. Medical schools are highly competitive to gain entry and the tuition is one of the most costly programs.
One out of them or both have posed as issues to people who want to become medical practitioners and then they just give up. However, there is another way you can enter the medical field without having to go through the competitiveness or expensive tuition cost.
Being a medical assistant is a relatively quick path and an excellent option if you are looking to enter the healthcare field. It is little or no competition to gain entry into a higher institution for the program neither is it half as expensive as going for a professional medical program. Also, it doesn’t take so much time, in as little as two or three years you will become a professional medical assistant.
Your job as a medical assistant is to offer direct patient care such as performing routine diagnostic procedures, helping attend to patients, recording vital signs, and administering medications and first aid. Just like professional medical doctors, assistant medical assistants also get a certification or license to be in the health care field.
If this sounds good to you keep reading to learn more about what it takes to become a medical assistant and the steps you’ll take to get there.
How much does it cost to become a medical assistant?
The cost of becoming a medical assistant varies by the school of your choice but tuition costs can range from around $5,000 to $15,000.
How many years to become a medical assistant?
The exact amount of time can vary, however, it typically takes nine months to two years to complete the program and become a certified medical assistant.
How hard is it to become a medical assistant?
To become a medical assistant you need to take an exam that tests you for the skills and knowledge you’ll need to serve as a medical assistant. If you study and prepare well enough, the exam shouldn’t be difficult for you.
There are steps you need to take to become a certified medical assistant, the importance of taking these steps cannot be stressed enough, and since it is what you want it shouldn’t pose as a problem since it is your future. Learn more about the milestones you should be planning for along the way.
Steps On How To Become A Medical Assistant
The following are well-detailed, explained steps you must take in your quest of becoming a medical assistant:
Step 1: Get The Necessary Education
You need to get an education that makes you recognized as a medical assistant before going on to seek an entry-level position in this field. That is, you need to pursue a medical assistant degree program at an accredited higher institution. This is where you will get most of your training of being a medical assistant, internships and entry-level jobs will further develop your skill.
However, before you gain entry into a college for medical assistant education there are certain prerequisites you must meet.
You must have completed high school and earned your high school diploma or GED. Your high school diploma or GED must have a strong focus on science and math courses that will help you better prepare for a certified medical assistant career such as biology, chemistry, physics, statistics, algebra, and related electives.
Afterward, look for a community college or vocational school where the medical assisting program is offered and start applying for admission. Ensure that the school you are applying to is accredited by the right accreditation body of that region or country and also ensure that the program itself is an accredited course in the school.
The medical assisting program usually takes nine months to two years of completion, depending on the amount of time spent you can get a certificate, diploma, or associate degree once you complete your studies.
Getting the necessary education is the core of how to become a medical assistant, this is where your skills, knowledge, and ability in the field will be developed. Without the necessary education, there’s no way you can become a medical assistant in the first place since you don’t have the skill nor education, and no one will be willing to accept you.
Step 2: Build Your Experience
Getting the necessary education is important and so is building your experience of medical assistantship which can be done via internships and medical volunteer jobs. Real-life experience is crucial to becoming a good medical assistant and you can gain this experience by being with a healthcare volunteer group, do internships at clinics, medical offices, or hospitals.
During this time of building your experience you’re actually still a student, you can do these internships and volunteer works during mid-term or summer breaks. The experience you will gain from this will develop your skills and knowledge in the field, empower you for future prospects, and would look good on your resume or CV making you gain employment quickly after school.
Step 3: Earn Certification
To be on the safer side you should earn a certification as a medical assistant. This is because some states require medical assistants to be certified and employers could prefer it too, so, you may need to pass a certification exam. As a certified medical assistant, you can show just how much skill and knowledge you have acquired in the field since that is what the exam is designed to test.
Two primary certification options are the Certified Medical Assistant CMA (AAMA)® exam and the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)® exam. These exams usually cover a variety of crucial topics like anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, safety, and legal compliance.
Getting one of these certifications is an excellent way to help boost your resume and stand out as a candidate when applying.
Step 4: Apply and Interview
You have completed and earned a certificate, diploma, or an associate degree as a medical assistant, you have developed your experience via internships and volunteer works, and have also obtained a medical assistant certificate.
The next step is to start applying to clinics, hospitals, and other health care centers for the job position of a certified medical assistant. This is where everything you have learned is tested, the real-life, so be prepared at all times for job interviews.
To increase your chances of gaining employment, you may want to apply to several places you already like, and whichever one accepts you can still suit your preference.
So, this is how to become a medical assistant, there’s absolutely no big deal about it when you follow the steps outlined in this post.
Who is a Medical Assistant?
A medical assistant is an allied health professional who supports the work of a professional medical practitioner. They may also be referred to as clinical assistants or healthcare assistants.
What are the roles of a medical assistant?
The roles of a medical assistant vary depending on the office or clinic. Most of their tasks involve administrative work or clinical work. You may meet a medical assistant at the front desk of a hospital or medical office. Their roles also include the following:
- Performing simple lab tests
- Explaining treatment procedures to patients
- Taking patient medical histories
- Instructing patients about medication and diets
- Collecting and preparing lab tests
- Assisting the physician during the patient test
- Taking and keeping records of patients’ medical histories
- Preparing patients for tests
- Filing patient medical records and adding written accounts from physicians to nurses based on exams and any lab tests
What is the Average Salary of a Medical Assistant
With no exact estimate, the average salary of a medical assistant ranges from $27,000 to $42,257 per year.
How to Become a Medical Assistant Online
Some universities and college use remote/distance learning technology to prepare students from any part of the world to become medical assistants. The online program is much faster and flexible but is usually more expensive.
You can become a medical assistant online by joining the online learning platforms listed below:
- CareerStep Online Medical Assistant Program
- CHCP Medical Assisting – Certificate
- Care One Health Training Institute
- Rasmussen College
- Keiser University
- Penn Foster College
- Herzing University
- Renton Technical College
- Cox College
- Concordia University – Wisconsin
CareerStep Online Medical Assistant Program
You can gain the skills, knowledge, and techniques of a medical assistant through CareerStep, a platform that provides distance learning education. The program takes 4 months to complete, costs $3,599, and you earn a certificate upon completion.
The course is taught online using exercises, images, games, and interactive tools to ensure your understanding of the material.
CHCP Medical Assisting – Certificate
CHCP’s Online Medical Assisting Program from the College of Health Care Professions prepares students to become medical assistants with the right skills to perform administrative and certain clinical tasks in healthcare settings.
The program takes 48 weeks to complete and offers a certificate upon completion. Skills you will gain include vital sign recording, EKGs, injections, routine examination, medical law and ethics, human relations and patient interaction, phlebotomy, and more.
Care One Health Training Institute
Care One offers varieties of health-related programs online including the medical assistant program but this time it is offered both offline and online, that is, hybrid. The course can be completed in 26-38 weeks and cost $3,552.50 and covers registration fees, tuition, book, uniform, and background check.
A certificate is awarded upon completion of the program.
This is an accredited college and they offer the medical assistant program via blended learning options, is online or offline. The program here is completed in 12 months, offers a diploma upon completion, and costs $15,249
Keiser University offers an Associate of Science degree, which means it takes 2 years to complete, the medical assistantship program. The learning mode is also blended and costs $34,976 for the course length.
Penn Foster College
At Penn Foster, you can earn an associate degree in medical assistance which typically takes 2 years to complete. The four-semester program consists of courses and labs covering healthcare fundamentals such as clinical procedures, anatomy, and physiology, pharmacology, and more.
Tuition is $79 per credit.
Herzing University offers online classes plus hands-on clinical labs and an externship for the medical assistant program. You can choose a diploma or associate degree program which takes 16 and 20 months respectively to complete.
Renton Technical College
Renton Technical College offers a hybrid medical assistant program, while half of the coursework is conducted online students receive in-class instruction for critical skills. Depending on career goals students may go for the certificate or associate degree which requires 70 and 90 quarter credits respectively to complete.
Tuition cost per credit is $130.04 for Washington residents, $145 for Non-Washington residents, and $308.28 for international students.
Cox College is based in Springfield, Missouri, and offers an online associate of science in MA. Students may pursue most coursework online, with hands-on administrative and clinical labs and practicums also required to impart critical skills.
Concordia University – Wisconsin
This university offers a certificate in medical assistant via blended learning formats. Most of the 42 credits can be completed online but some courses are required to be face to face. The program costs $335 per credit and has full-time and part-time options available.
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Texas
There’s no special way on how to become a medical assistant in Texas, you still need to follow the four steps outlined and discussed above. The skills and knowledge you will gain in Texas is also what you will gain in any other school except this time you will have to attend a school in Texas to get the degree.
Schools in Texas to get medical assistance education are:
- Panola College
- Cisco College
- McLennan Community College
- San Antonio College
- El Paso Community College
- Laredo College
- Northeast Texas Community College
- Texas State Technical College
- Texas Health School
How to Become a Medical Assistant in California
To become a medical assistant in California, the student must earn a certificate through a medical assistant certifying body approved by the medical board of California or be credentialed to teach in a medical assistant training program at a community college.
Schools to get the medical assistant certificate, diploma, or associate degree are:
- San Joaquin Valley College
- Santa Rosa Junior College
- Cabrillo College
- Cuesta College
- Allan Hancock College
- Chabot College
- Contra Costa College
- West Valley College
- Canada College
- Moreno Valley College
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Florida
There is no requirement for education or training for medical assistants in the state of Florida. However, medical assistants are encouraged to become certified. In order to become certified, they must graduate from an approved training program.
You may choose any of these schools in Florida listed below for the medical assistant program:
- City College
- Keiser University
- Orange Technical College
- Atlantic Technical College
- Florida Technical College
- Sheridan Technical College
- Southern Technical College
- Daytona State College
- Erwin Technical College
- Southeastern College
- Florida Career College
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Canada
In Canada, things are done a bit differently which starts from referring medical assistants to “physician assistants” and here’s how you can become a PA, as it is commonly referred to, in Canada.
- Be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada
- Fulfill PA admission requirements
- Apply to a PA program and get into PA school
- Complete a PA program at an accredited Canadian PA school
- Become a Canadian certified physician assistant (CCPA)
- Apply for a PA job, get the job, and start practicing
- Maintain your PA certification with CPD/CME hours
Medical assistant schools and colleges in Canada are:
- Vancouver Career College
- triOS College
- Reeves College
- Medix College
- CDI College
- Algonquin Career Academy
How to Become a Medical Assistant in NY (New York)
New York does not require formal education to become a medical assistant. However, a medical assistant who prefers to earn certification must graduate from a medical assisting program in order to sit for the examination.
Medical assistant schools and colleges in New York are:
- Mohawk Valley Community College
- Genesee Community College
- SUNY Sullivan
- Niagara County Community College
- SUNY Broome Community College
- Lehman College
- The City College of New York
- Allen School
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Washington State
Follow the steps to become a medical assistant in Washington:
- Get the right medical assistant education and training
- Pass the Washington state medical assistant exam
- Send your medical assistant transcripts and official documents to Washington state
- Prove applicable medical assistant competencies and provide documents
- Verify any other Washington state licensing
- Apply for your medical assistant license in Washington
Medical assistant schools and colleges in Washington state are:
- Renton Technical College
- Whatcom Community College
- Clark College
- Big Blend Community College
- Spokane Community College
- Lower Columbia College
- South Puget Sound Community College
- Everett Community College
How to Become a Medical Assistant Instructor
For you to become a medical assistant instructor you must have earned an associate degree in medical assisting or nursing, and two years of experience in the medical field. However, some colleges will require you to have additional education and experience typically a bachelor’s degree in nursing and five years of experience.
Medical Assistant Instructor Salary
The annual salary of medical assistants ranges from $30,000 to $61,000.
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Thaddaeus is a lead content creator at SAN with over 5 years of experience in the field of professional content creation. He has written several helpful articles for Blockchain projects in the past and even recently but since 2020, he has been more active in creating guides for students who want to study abroad.
When he's not writing, he's either watching anime, making a delicious meal, or definitely swimming.