So, you want to learn how to become a Medical Assistant? Becoming a medical assistant is a great career to get into. In fact, it’s one of the only careers still growing during this recession. Healthcare is always needed, regardless of how the economy is doing so it’s one of few fields where you don’t have to worry about finding a job in. Jobs as a Medical Assistant are projected to grow even faster than average in the next ten years.
Becoming a Medical Assistant does not require a college degree. Some Medical Assistants are trained on the job and others complete one and two year training programs. We will discuss the different avenues for becoming a Medical Assistant below.
The Path to becoming a Medical Assistant
Before getting a job as a Medical Assistant, you will need to have your high school diploma or GED. If you do not have a high school diploma or GED, you can enroll in classes for your GED at most colleges. There are many free programs for getting your GED so make sure to explore your options.
Also, there is a requirement for the national exam that you may not be able to take the national certification exam if you have pled guilty to a felony or have been found guilty of a felony. If your state has a state certification exam, there may be additional requirements.
Length Of Medical Assistant Training:
Some Medical Assistant positions only require on the job training. However, most require a 1-2 years of vocational training with most programs lasting one year. This training is usually found at vocational schools and community colleges. Some programs at a community college will get you an associate’s degree. It’s important to look at your states requirements before enrolling in a program because the requirements vary drastically from state to state.
What Will You Learn In Medical Assistant Training?:
A vocational program for becoming a Medical Assistant will prepare you for performing many different tasks under the supervision of a licensed physician. These tasks include both clinical and administrative duties, such as taking vital signs and medical histories, collecting medical specimens, scheduling patients and handling billing, answering the phones, handling insurance matters and much more. Programs will include both classroom learning and laboratory experience. It is important to get as much laboratory experience as your can to prepare you for the job.
There is a national certification exam for Medical Assistants given by the American Association of Medical Assistants called the Certified Medical Assistance Examination (CMA-AAMA). However, this exam is not required by most states but passing it will likely lead to better job opportunities. Some states also have their own required Medical Assistant certification tests. Training programs in these states should cover the topics that will be on the required certification exam.
Average Costs of Medical Assistant Training:
The average costs of Medical Assistant Training Programs is between $3,000-$4,000 plus around $1,000 for textbooks and uniforms. Most programs are eligible for financial aid and loans.
Medial Assistant Salary:
Here is the Median Salary for Medical Assistants given by BLS. This is the Median of all Medical Assistants not just entry level but this is what you can expect to earn either right away or after a few years of experience.
- General medical and surgical hospitals $29,720
- Colleges, universities, and professional schools 28,820
- Offices of physicians 28,710
- Outpatient care centers 28,570
- Offices of other health practitioners 25,240