Thinking about a career in medical assisting? It’s a satisfying and sought-after job in healthcare. But how long does the training take? In this blog, we’ll walk you through the paths you can choose to become a medical assistant and give you the lowdown on how long each program takes.
What’s a Medical Assistant?
But what exactly does a medical assistant do? Well, they’re like healthcare’s multitaskers. They help doctors and other healthcare pros in various ways.
For instance, they take patient histories, check vital signs, and even assist in exams. Plus, they can give medications and handle admin stuff like appointments and records.
You can find these helpful people in hospitals, clinics, and private practices. Their job may change a bit based on where they work.
What are the various paths you can pursue, and how long will each one take?
- Diploma or Certificate Programs: These usually take 9 to 12 months. You can find these programs in vocational schools, community colleges, or technical institutes. They cover both clinical and admin skills.
- Associate Degree Programs: If you want a more in-depth education, consider these. They take about 2 years and include general education courses along with medical assisting classes. This option is good if you plan to take on higher positions in healthcare later.
- Online Programs: Online medical assistant programs offer flexibility. They can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months, depending on the program.
- On-the-Job Training: In some cases, you can learn on the job. The time can vary, from a few weeks to several months. But remember, this path might limit your career options, and you may need more education or certification later.
Do you need certification to work as a medical assistant?
Certification isn’t a must for medical assistants, but it’s a smart move. It can boost your chances of finding a job and earning more.
There are different certifications out there. You can get the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), or the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification from American Medical Technologists (AMT).
To become certified, you need to meet certain education and experience criteria and pass an exam. The exact requirements depend on the organization you’re getting certified from. The exams cover things like medical terms, anatomy, clinical tasks, and office procedures.
What salary can you expect as a medical assistant?
How much a medical assistant makes can change based on things like where they work, how much experience they have, and what type of job they’re in.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the middle-of-the-road annual wage for medical assistants was about $34,800 in May 2020. But here’s the deal, salaries can start from around $25,000 and go up to more than $48,000, depending on lots of factors.
If you’ve completed a formal training program or have certification, you might find better job options and make more money. Plus, the more experience you have, the higher your paycheck might be.
What job opportunities can you pursue as a medical assistant?
As a medical assistant, you have plenty of job choices. Some common roles include:
- Clinical Medical Assistant: They work in clinical places, helping doctors with patient care, taking vital signs, and doing basic medical tasks.
- Administrative Medical Assistant: These folks handle the admin side of healthcare. They manage patient records, book appointments, and deal with insurance claims.
- Specialized Medical Assistant: Some medical assistants like to focus on specific areas, like pediatrics or geriatrics. They work with patients in their chosen field and might have extra training or certifications.
- Medical Office Manager: With experience and more education, medical assistants can even become managers in medical offices. They take care of admin tasks, manage staff, and make sure the place runs.
The good news is that the need for medical assistants is growing. Healthcare services are in demand, and they need support staff in different settings. So, there are lots of opportunities out there.
Choosing to be a medical assistant is a rewarding and stable career decision in healthcare. The time it takes to become one can vary: a few months for diploma or certificate programs, a couple of years for an associate degree. Online programs provide flexibility, and in some cases, you can learn on the job. While certification isn’t always a must, it can open up better job opportunities. Salaries differ, but there’s room to grow.
If you’re thinking about a career as a medical assistant, do your homework. Look for programs that fit your long-term goals. Consider checking out CCI Training Center – they offer comprehensive programs to get you set for success in the healthcare industry. Ready to take the next step? Explore medical assistant programs today!