How to Become a Medical Assistant in 4 Simple Steps

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What is a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant is one of the hottest jobs in the healthcare industry, so before we start talking about how to become a medical assistant let’s examine what makes this job such a good choice.

Their work is to help doctors and other healthcare professionals by applying a number of procedures on patients.

The daily duties of a medical assistant are:

  • Preparing patients for exams
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Performing basic laboratory work
  • Filling medical records
  • Updating medical records
  • Taking vital signs
  • Facilitating treatment

In order to become a good Medical assistant excellent communication skills are required.

Medical assistants need to make patients feel at home before their procedures and explain them the process. They also answer phones and schedule appointments. With all that said you can understand why communication skills are critical for a medical assistant’s career.

Clinical Skills are also required.

Medical assistants perform a series of clinical procedures from measure pulses and blood pressure to sterilizing medical instruments, so top clinical skills are required.

Another part of a medical assistant’s job is the administrative part.

They schedule appointments with patients, record their medical histories and talk with suppliers. With that being said you can understand how important administrative skills for this work are.

Medical assistants work mostly full time. They work at physicians and other healthcare professionals’ offices and clinical settings. They may be working late nights and weekends depending on the healthcare facility they work at.

The average salary of a medical assistant is $29,960
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Medical assistant specialties

Podiatry

Podiatry is the medical area that focuses on medical conditions and injuries of the foot. Medical assistants who work with podiatrists will perform tasks like post-surgical care, wound care and trimming nails.

Ophthalmology

Medical assistants who work with ophthalmologists help these physicians apply treatments for eye problems. They educate the patients on eye health and help ophthalmologists with minor eye surgeries.

Obstetrics/Gynecology

This is a field of medical assistance that requires a broad range of knowledge.

You can acquire this knowledge by selecting specific courses while on a training program or by hands-on training.

Obstetrics/Gynecology medical assistants work with women of all ages. They help doctors on women’s health procedures like breast examinations, Pap tests, and pregnancy care.

Medical Administrative Assistant

Medical Administrative Assistants work closely with the administrator or management team of a medical facility or a hospital. Their work is to create spreadsheets and documents and participate at policy making.

Becoming a Medical Assistant

Step 1: High School Preparation

Medical Assistant High School Requirements

Science courses

Science courses and especially biology and chemistry are really important for medical assistants. They will help them with their coursework if they decide to attend a training program where they will have to complete courses like anatomy and physiology and also help them understand how body works if they decide to start working without formal training.

Communication Courses

Big part of a medical assistant’s work is patient care so excellent communication skills are required. Courses like speech and debate will help you build these skills during high school.

Management Courses

Management classes will help medical assistants, and especially those who are planning to work as administrative assistants, to understand how business work. They will get basic knowledge on fields like problem solving, communication, planning and organizing.

What is a Medical Assistant

Step 2: Complete an Accredited Training Program in Medical Assisting

Medical Assistant Certificate Program 1 year – 2 years

Medical assistant certificate programs are 28 to 50 semester credit hours programs that can be completely either online or offline.

The admission requirements of a Medical assistant certificate program are a high school diploma or a GED.

Curriculum

  • Principles of Clinical Practice
  • Medical Assistant Skills
  • Advanced Clinical Skills
  • Practicum/Medical Assistant
  • Practicum Seminar Allied Health Computer Essentials
  • Applications/Concepts or Medical Computer Applications
  • Procedures for the Medical Office
  • Medical Terminology
  • Understanding Human Behavior for Health Care Professionals
  • Human Growth and Development
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Psychology/ Human Relations
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical Laboratory Procedures
  • Medical Clinical Procedures I
  • Medical Clinical Procedures II

The cost of a Medical assistant certificate program is between $5,700 and $21,200.

Before you enroll to a college or university we strongly recommend you to contact them and ask about the program’s details.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited Medical assistant certificate programs near you.
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Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting program 2 years

Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting programs are 60-90 semester credit hours programs that can be completed either online or on-campus.

In order to get accepted you will need a high school diploma or a GED. At certain occasions you maybe need to pass an entrance exam.

Curriculum

General Education Requirements (30 credits)

  • Expository Writing
  • Composition and Literature
  • Business Writing
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Integrated Business Applications
  • Fundamentals of Communication
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Current Topics in English
  • Fundamentals of Mathematics
  • College Algebra
  • Current Topics in Mathematics
  • Principles of Ethics
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Current Topics in Humanities I
  • General Science
  • Microbiology
  • Social Psychology

Core Courses (40 credits)

  • Introduction to Health Care Policy
  • Introduction to Contemporary Health Issues
  • Medical Office Procedures
  • Medical Assisting I
  • Medical Assisting II
  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Coding and Billing for the Medical Assistant
  • Clinical Laboratory Procedures
  • Phlebotomy and Electrocardiography
  • Medical Assisting Practicum
  • Computer Office Application
  • Anatomy and Physiology I
  • Basic Clinical Procedures
  • Medical Computer Applications
  • Anatomy and Physiology II
  • Professional Procedures
  • Medical Law and Ethics
  • Pharmacology I
  • Externship

The cost of an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting program is between $18,350 and $33,300.

Before you enroll to a college or university we strongly recommend you to contact them and ask about the program’s details.

Click the button below to get free info about accredited Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting programs near you.
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Step 3: Get Clinical Experience

We highly recommend when choosing a training program to find one that offers working clinical training as a part of the studies.

It is really important to get some on the job training as you will have the opportunity to apply everything you have learn in classes. It will also make you more employable as you will have some experience under your belt when looking for a job.

Step 4: Get Certified

While it is not required by law for medical assistants to get certified it will certainly help your resume if you do so.

There are several certifications issued by different organizations.

Below we have listed the 5 most popular amongst medical assistants.

(CMA) – Certified Medical Assistant

Organization: (AAMA) American Association of Medical Assistants

Requirements

Have completed an accredited either by the (ABHES) – Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools or the (CAAHEP) – Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs medical assisting training program.

Examination

Pass a 200 multiple choice questions written test. The test is divided in 4 forty minutes segments.

Cost: $125 (members) – $250 (non-members)

(CCMA) Certified Clinical Medical Assistant

Organization: (NHA) National Healthcareer Association

Requirements

High School Diploma or GED.

Completed a medical assisting training program within the last 5 years.

OR

High School Diploma or GED.

Have not completed a medical assisting training program within the last 5 years.

1 year of working experience in the last 3 years.

Examination

Pass a 150 questions test in a 2 hours and 50 minutes exam.

Cost: $149

(CMAA) Certified Medical Administrative Assistant

Organization: (NHA) National Healthcareer Association

Requirements

High School Diploma or GED.

Completed a medical Administrative assisting training program within the last 5 years.

OR

High School Diploma or GED.

Have not completed a medical Administrative assisting training program within the last 5 years.

1 year of working experience in the last 3 years.

Examination

Pass a 110 questions test in a 2 hours and 10 minutes exam.

Cost: $105

(NCMA) National Certified Medical Assistant

Organization: (NCCT) National Center for Competency Testing

Requirements

Current Student in an NCCT (authorized) Medical Assistant program

OR

Graduated from an NCCT (authorized) Medical Assistant program in the last 5 years

OR

2 years of full-time working experience as a Medical Assistant within the past 5 years

Examination

Pass a 150 questions test in a 3 hours exam

Cost: $90 (Students or graduates) -$135 (working experience)

(RMA) Registered Medical Assistant

Organization: (AMT) American Medical Technologists

Requirements

Graduated from an accredited medical assistant program with at least 720 clock hours of training with 160 of them being a clinical externship

OR

Graduated from, a formal medical services training program of the US Armed Forces

OR

High School Diploma

5 years of working experience in the last 7 years

Examination

Pass a 2 hours written or computerized test.

Cost: $100

How Long Does it take to Become a Medical Assistant and How Much does it Cost?

Option1: Certificate

Degree Time Cost
Certificate 6 months – 2 years$5,700- $21,200
Certification 1 month$250- $500
Total 7 months – 1 year$5,950 - $21,700

Option 2: Associate’s Degree

Degree Time Cost
Associates Degree2 years$18,350 to $33,300
Certification 1 month $100 - $250
Total 2 years & 1 month $18,450 - $33,550

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Medical Assistant Training Video

 


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