How to Become a Medical Assistant

Are you considering a career in the healthcare field? Becoming a medical assistant (MA) can be a rewarding and fulfilling career choice. They're vital in healthcare, offering admin and clinical support. In this blog post, we will explore the steps to becoming a medical assistant, the requirements for this career, the different training programs available, and the job outlook for medical assistants.
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What is a Medical Assistant?

MAs are a crucial part of the healthcare team. They collaborate with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to ensure patients get top-notch care. MAs do many things like:

  • Taking down a patient’s medical history.
  • Getting patients ready for check-ups.
  • Drawing blood.
  • Giving medications.
  • Handling office stuff, like setting appointments, managing records, and billing.

If you have a passion for helping others, a career as an MA might be perfect for you. You’ll need good organizational skills and attention to detail. The demand for medical assistants is expected to grow in the coming years. This makes it an excellent career choice for those seeking job stability and security.


What are the requirements to become a Medical Assistant?

To become a medical assistant, you will need to meet specific requirements. Although the rules can differ by state and employer, here are the basic things you’ll need to become a medical assistant:

  1. Education: Most employers require MAs to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers might like it if you’ve finished a proper medical assistant training program. 
  2. Certification: Certification is optional. Still, it can boost your job options and prove you’re skilled as an MA. The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential is offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and is recognized nationwide.
  3. Skills: MAs must be excellent at talking to people. They work with patients, doctors, and staff every day. They should be organized. Paying close attention to details is essential for office and medical tasks. 
  4. Physical Stamina: MAs might need to stand a lot and lift heavy things. Good physical stamina is essential to handle the physical demands of the job.


What are the steps to becoming a Medical Assistant?

Now that you know the requirements, let’s explore the steps to becoming a medical assistant:

  1. Research: Start by researching the role of a medical assistant and the responsibilities involved. This will give you a better understanding of the career and help you decide if it is the right path.
  2. Education: Complete your high school education or get a GED if you still need to do so. It would be best if you had a high school diploma. However, some employers prefer it when you have more training, like a certificate or an associate degree in medical assisting.
  3. Training Program: Enroll in a medical assistant training program. You can find these at trade schools, community colleges, or online. In these programs, you’ll do both class learning and hands-on training. They’ll teach you medical terms, how the body works, office stuff, and hands-on medical skills.
  4. Internship/Externship: Many MA programs include an internship or externship in a healthcare setting. This hands-on training is essential for learning the practical skills needed for the job.
  5. Certification: While certification is not always required, it is highly recommended. The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential is recognized nationwide and can improve your job prospects. To become a CMA, you must pass an exam administered by the AAMA.
  6. Job Search: Once you have completed your training and obtained any necessary certifications, it’s time to start your job search. Look for job openings in hospitals, clinics, physician offices, and other healthcare facilities. Networking and contacting healthcare professionals can also help you find job opportunities.
  7. Continuing Education: As an MA, it’s wise to keep learning about the newest stuff in healthcare. You can take extra classes or go to meetings to get better at what you do.


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Different Medical Assistant training programs

There are several different training programs available for aspiring medical assistants. Here are some of the most common options:

  • Certificate Programs: Certificate programs in medical assisting typically take 9-12 months to complete. These programs focus on providing students with the essential knowledge and skills needed to become a medical assistant. Vocational schools and community colleges often offer certificate programs.
  • Associate Degree Programs: Associate degree programs in medical assisting usually take 18-24 months to complete. These programs offer a more comprehensive education and may include additional coursework in medical ethics, pharmacology, and medical coding. Community colleges and technical schools typically offer associate degree programs.
  • Online Programs: Online medical assistant programs offer flexibility and convenience for those who may not be able to attend traditional on-campus classes. These programs allow students to complete coursework online and typically include clinical training at approved local healthcare facilities.


What is the job outlook for Medical Assistants?

The job outlook for MAs is promising. According to the BLS, employment of MAs is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. More people need healthcare, the population is getting older, and there are more healthcare places. That’s why there are more jobs for MAs.


Final Thoughts

Choosing to be an MA is a great job if you really care about healthcare and helping people. With the right schooling and training, you can have a good job that’s stable and secure. You can check out online programs or ask schools nearby, like CCI Training Center, to see how you can start your journey to become a medical assistant in the healthcare field. Good luck!

Written By

Martin Zandi

A committed leader in the career education industry, Martin enjoys working with the community and colleagues in further improvement and expansion of education programs to improve outcomes.

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