Medical assistants work with physicians and other health-care practitioners, as well as health-care related institutions, and carry out a combination of administrative and clinical tasks. The first step in how to become a medical assistant is choosing an accredited medical assistant training program. A common question asked, however, is “How much does it cost to become a medical assistant?”
To answer how much does it cost to become a medical assistant, one must be aware that not all training programs are created equally. The duration of training can vary from as little as ten months to two years, depending on the credential conferred. Naturally, the costs entailed are usually commensurate to the training program duration, and whether or not you take undertake the training program out of state. It can cost as little as $9,000++ for a 9-month program which confers a diploma or certificate to as much as $45,000++ for a 2-year medical assistant training program that bestows an associate degree. The clinical practicum or externship necessary for graduation comes at no extra cost.
In general, community colleges usually offer shorter training programs to become a medical assistant at more affordable prices. They have the advantage of offering only the necessary courses to equip one with the knowledge and skills to become an entry level medical assistant. On the other hand, two-year training programs that bestow an associate’s degree have comparatively higher tuition and fees. An advantage of medical training programs which bestow an associate degree is that the credits earned can contribute towards a bachelor’s degree if you should decide to apply for additional graduate studies.
Additional expenses can be incurred if you decide to apply for membership with the American Association of Medical Assistants (AMA). The fee would depend on the state you are from as well as the type of membership you qualify for, and would range from $25 to $107. Advantages of membership would include access to CMA today, the organization’s bimonthly magazine, the right to practice, legal advice, networking, insurance benefits, volunteer opportunities, continuing education, and finally, discounted fees for the medical assistant certification, workshops and conference fees.
After graduation from an accredited medical assistant training program, certification by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) will set you back $125 for AMA members and CAAHEP or ABHES students that have recently graduated and $250 for all other applicants, as of 2012. Although this is not a requirement for employment in some states, it is prudent to apply for and take the medical assistant certification exam since certified medical assistants are generally favored over non-certified individuals in employment opportunities.
Although the total expenses incurred by medical assistant training programs are significant, a lot of programs provide financial assistance in the form of scholarships and grants. Thus, the availability of such scholarships and grants is a major factor to consider when selecting a training program on how to become a medical assistant. On the other hand, the excellent job outlook for medical assistants can help you breathe easier since earning opportunities are virtually guaranteed upon graduation, and even more so after certification. Hopefully, this article has helped you estimate how much does it cost to become a medical assistant.