The decision to become a medical assistant is one that can kick-start a rewarding career path. Being familiar with the requirements for medical assistant training is an important step when getting started.
As you apply to your program, you may want to consider whether or not you wish to earn your certification after graduation/program completion. While you can find a job without certification, many employers will prefer their medical assistants to be certified.
After graduating from an accredited school or program, you can apply to take the AAMA exam. This certification exam was established by the American Association of Medical Assistants, and must be taken within a year of graduation. One can even opt to take the exam a month before graduation if he or she chooses.
While your exact requirements will depend on the state you live in and the program itself, we will review some of the most common ones.
Requirements for Applying to a Medical Assistant Training Program
Keep in mind, these may vary. However, some common requirements when enrolling in a medical assistant training program are:
- A high school diploma or a GED equivalent
- Complete and submit your application by its deadline
- Application fee
- A cover letter and possibly letters of recommendation
- An interview
- A physical exam and required immunizations
- CPR certification
- A passed background check and/or drug test
Physical Requirements for Medical Assistants
In addition to the list above, there are also some physical requirements medical assistant schools and programs may ask you to meet.
- Ability to exert force on up to 50 pounds; ability to safely push, pull, or carry weight to help with patient transfers
- Operate and transport medical equipment
- Remain standing or sitting for up to 8 hours
- Reach above shoulder level to operate equipment
- Reach below waist level to operate equipment
- Have free range of motion
Switching to a Medical Assistant Program
It can be difficult deciding on a career path or major. If you are someone who is switching your major, you are not alone. In fact, it can be argued that switching your major is more common than not.
If you are switching to a medical assistant program, you are headed in a direction that is predicted to be stable. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that demand for medical assistants is set to increase 18 percent by 2030.
Entering training for this in-demand career path will generally require a cover letter. Use your cover letter to your advantage; play to your strengths, and inform the recipient on personal qualities that make you a strong candidate. You may even include your reasoning for switching majors to become a medical assistant if the situation is appropriate.
You may also be asked for:
- A resume
- Letters of recommendation from professors or professional connections
- College transcripts, high school transcripts, or your GED equivalent
Ready to go!
If you meet all of these requirements, or are preparing to, then you should feel confident when pursuing medical assistant school or training.
Medical Assistant Job Description
Medical assistants perform crucial day-to-day tasks to keep doctors’ offices running smoothly and patients’ information up-to-date. A medical assistant may work in a hospital, doctor’s office, or other clinical setting. Their responsibilities range from clinical to administrative.
Medical assistants work with patients and their families, taking vitals, running tests, preparing a patient for tests/procedures, cleaning exam rooms, and maintaining patient files. To train to become a medical assistant, you should enroll in an accredited school or program.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in 2021 made an average of $38,190.
Reference and more reading: