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Medical Assistant

A medical assistant is an allied health professional who supports the work of physicians and other health professionals. On a daily basis, medical assistants are required to wear many hats to ensure that patients, nurses, and doctors all have a favorable experience at various healthcare facilities.

Find local medical trade schools with a variety of medical career programs including accredited online medical assistant.

While medical assistant duties vary by healthcare facility and depend on the size and location of the practice, they always play a critical role in the overall well being of patients and physicians, alike. If you’re looking for a career that’s both financially and emotionally rewarding in a field with rapid growth, then medical assisting may be perfect for you!

What Do Medical Assistants Do?

“They may forget your name, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou

Medical assistants are usually the first and last people that patients see when they’re at a medical facility, and they have a number of medical and administrative responsibilities.

  • On the medical side, some common duties include taking medical histories and performing preliminary physical tests, such as examining vital signs, weight, and temperature of patients.
  • On the administrative side, they often provide explanations and scheduling of procedures, prepare patient charts, and handle pre-admission and consent forms.

In many of our programs, medical assistants will be cross-trained to perform both administrative and clinical responsibilities.

Reasons To Become A Medical Assistant

Pursuing a career in healthcare is a challenging endeavor, but it’s rewarding work. At the end of the day, all medical professionals can rest easy knowing that they have made a positive impact in the world and their community.

There are many benefits of working in the medical field, which is why it is no surprise that the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment in healthcare occupations to grow at a staggering rate over the foreseeable future.

But beyond a sense of making a difference in others’ lives, we’ll help give you a deeper look into the many beneficial aspects of becoming a medical assistant, such as job stability, fast certification time, affordability of education, great pay, and career advancement opportunities.

Projected Job Outlook

With an increasing need for their services, a huge growth in employment is projected for medical assistants in the near future. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects there will be a 29 percent employment growth between now and 2026.

To give you a better idea, that means the field is growing over 4x faster than the average for all other occupations! Factors driving this demand for medical assistants are the aging baby-boomers and the expanding physician practices to accommodate patients.

Because there is so much growth within doctors' offices, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities, medical assistants are essential in keeping the administrative and clinical aspects running smoothly.

Fast Education Turnaround Time

There’s no shortage of men and women that want to break into the medical field. With strong compensation and the ability to change lives for the better, it’s an industry many are eager to join.

However, one large common deterrent in pursuing a medical career is duration of education. For many positions in the healthcare industry, a four-year undergrad degree is required, and that’s not even taking into the fact those that continue education for years beyond undergraduate studies.

By choosing to pursue a career as a medical assistant through one of our 100% certified partner schools, you can complete your training and be career-ready in as few as 10 months. In under a year, you’ll be trained in areas like medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology to best prepare you for real-world situations once you join the workforce.

How Much Will My Education Cost?

While a four-year college degree is necessary for many professions, it can also create six figures worth of debt that many can’t afford. Additionally, at least four years without an income can seem like an eternity, compounded even more by the fact that the debt keeps piling up until after you’ve graduated and found a job.

As a medical assistant, you’ll have a quick certification time and program affordability on your side. Completing a course as a clinical medical assistant at a training school typically costs around $1,200-$4,200.

There are also very few additional costs involved with medical assisting programs aside from school supplies and classroom materials. In many cases, the only additional cost is the certification exam given by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). That costs either $125 or $250 depending on if you’re a recent graduate or and/or a member of the AAMA.

With all of this in mind, the cost of medical assistant training is a very small fraction of what a four-year degree would cost.

Additionally, nearly all of our partner schools offer financial aid for those that qualify, making an already sound career investment even more reasonable.

How Much Does A Medical Assistant Make?

Medical assistants play a vital role in healthcare facility operations, and, as such, they are well compensated for it. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in 2018 among medical assistants was $34,540 annually. In fact, the highest-earning 10 percent made $47,250 or more.

Keep in mind, these numbers are the national scale. Factors such as geographic location, type of practice, and amount of experience can all make figures vary.

Top paying states for medical assistants

State


Average Salary

Alaska


$45,490

District of Columbia


$42,010

Washington


$41,340

Minnesota


$40,320

Massachusetts


$40,270

One benefit of being employed by a healthcare organization is having access to a network of experienced doctors, surgeons, and nurses, which can quite literally be a lifesaver if you experience serious health issues.

Another perk: medical professionals usually receive premier health, dental, and life insurance policies.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Career advancement opportunities are always an option down the road should you choose to pursue them. After gaining experience and refining your medical assisting skills, you could explore specializing in certain medical specialties, sub-specialties, or administrative specialties to open doors to better pay and more responsibility.

After all, healthcare is a multifaceted field. No matter what your goals may be for career growth, a few extra tools may help you successfully work toward advancement opportunities after you’ve gained adequate experience in the workforce.

How To Choose A Medical Assistant Program

It might seem like the options for medical assistant programs are limitless, which can be challenging when deciding the best program for you. When starting your search—and inevitably making your final choice on a medical assistant program—there are a few factors to consider.

  1. Is the program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)? If the programs are not accredited by either of those two, then students are not eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Exam.

  2. Is the tuition plus cost of books and supplies something that you can afford? Find out from the school if they have a financial aid program to bring the cost down to a more attainable figure.

  3. What are the class sizes and are you comfortable with them? Some thrive in large classroom settings, while others benefit from smaller classes. It’s strictly a personal preference.

  4. Are internships offered with the medical assistant program you’re considering? Hands-on experience is one of the best learning tools.

  5. Does the school you’re considering have a job placement program for its graduates? A job placement program is a great way to land your first job and gain the necessary experience for your future jobs.

  6. What are the graduation rates and CMA Exam passing rates of the schools you’re looking at? The higher the number, the better off you may be!

How To Become A Medical Assistant

Students are required to have earned a high school diploma or its equivalent to become a medical assistant.

Employers typically insist that medical assistants pursue further education, including receiving their Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) documentation, but there are some medical facilities that will train high school graduates or GED holders in-house.

The two most common routes in receiving medical assistant training are through vocational school and community college.

  • Most community colleges offer associate degree programs for medical assisting, but those programs typically take two years to complete.
  • There is also the vocational school route, which can be completed in less than one year, where the student earns a diploma.

Both programs will usually include a combination of classroom and practical training.

While both are all great options to study medical assisting, a vocational school typically takes less than half the education time of a community college program, and its courses are usually much less expensive. The most important factor when choosing your school is to find an accredited program.

An easy way to examine your options is to submit your info on the form on this page and find some of our partner schools local to you. Keep in mind that 100% of our partner schools are nationally accredited.

The medical field is filled with excellent opportunities, and one of the fastest ways to get involved is through a medical assisting program. If you want to get started today, submit your local info now and 10 months from now, you could be ready to start an exciting new career!

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