What You Need To Know About Becoming a Medical Assistant

Portrait of smiling medical assistant

Medical assistants are emerging as one of the most popular careers in healthcare, offering great employment potential, job security, and a good salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there will be more than 160,000 new positions in this career opening between 2012 and 2022, and about 60% of them will work in doctor’s offices.

But you might be wondering how to become a medical assistant, how to get access to this lucrative and secure career?

One of the first things you need to know is that there is a great deal of education needed to become a medical assistant. You need a GED or high school diploma, a doctor willing to train you on the job or to attend one of many technical schools.

Technical colleges can offer programs that provide a fundamental aspect of your education, as well as provide on the job training to make you progress further in your career path.

Depending on your own personal preferences, you may choose to get either a certificate or diploma, spending somewhere between nine and twelve months or an associate’s degree in 18-24 months. These programs often have both classroom portions and laboratory portions, as well as internship opportunities and assignments.

If you chose to go this route or any route towards becoming a medical assistant, you want to become certified after graduation. This means you should pick a program that is CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) or ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) accredited.

This certification is not a requirement to becoming a medical assistant, but it is highly recommended. Employers are more likely to hire a certified candidate and offer high pay, to those that have been certified.

The reason you want to attend an accredited school is that they would have the medical assistant training program that makes you eligible to sit for the CMA exam. You must complete this training program in order to take the CMA exam. The exam is generally given in January, June, and October of each yeah, and can cost between $95 and $145 for ABHES or CAAHEP members, and $195 for non-members.

These are just parts of the path on how to become a medical assistant, there are many other routes that one can take. If you have questions, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.