In case you have decided that a career as a medical assistant (MA) is an ideal one for you, we highly suggest that you get acquainted with the education that you have to take so as to be given the opportunity to work in a health care setting.
It is true that an MA can look for employment in hospitals, clinics, and physician’s offices, but prior to it all, he/she has to finish the appropriate medical assistant training program.
Furthermore, a desire to work directly with patients, doctors, and other medical staff is necessary.
Medical assisting students should be ready to perform duties related to direct patient care, such as patient assessment, treatments, and assisting the physician with procedures.
As you are reading this, you have probably found out everything you should know about this profession, so we are here to give you information on how to become a medical assistant.
Picking a Medical Assistant Trade School
Just like any other career, a career in medical assisting starts with choosing an appropriate training program that will suit your interests and needs.
Medical assistant programs are offered in numerous trade schools, colleges, and universities, and it is up to you to enroll in the one that you consider the best.
What you need to pay attention to when choosing a program is to make sure that the school’s MA training program is accredited.
This is important due to the fact that you will need to graduate from an accredited MA training program if you want to take and pass the licensing exam after it.
We would like to mention that having a MA license is not obligatory to be allowed to work as a MA.
However, applicants with a MA license are always given preference when finding employment and often earn more money.
The ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) and the CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) accredit medical assistant programs.
A program can become accredited only if it meets all of the eligibility requirements.
Diploma Medical Assistant Training Programs
You can choose to attend medical assisting trade schools that offer the diploma program.
Upon graduation, you will be awarded a diploma which proves that you have successfully completed the MA training program.
The length of these programs is one year during which students gain clinical, clerical, and administrative skills.
Diploma MA training programs curriculum is designed so as to cover phlebotomy, pharmacology, clinical procedures, and lab techniques, and a student cannot graduate unless he/she finishes clinical time.
This means that he/she will work with real patients in real health care settings.
Certificate Medical Assistant Training Programs
Another kind of MA program is a certificate medical assisting training program.
They are offered by trade schools and they take one to three semesters o to be completed.
Students are awarded a certificate of completion and they will possess the knowledge and skills needed to work as medical assistants.
These programs are very attractive among young people as they can usually be completed in a shorter period of time than a diploma or associate medical assistant training programs.
By finishing this program, you can enter the workforce quickly, as you will be attending less intensive courses.
The curriculum is designed so as to cover only the basics of medical assisting.
Some of the things students learn are how to complete various medical procedures, and how to collect, process, and manage various types of data.
Certificate programs may also require students to finish clinical time before they graduate.
It is worth mentioning that students who complete an accredited certificate medical assisting program are eligible to take the licensing exam if all requirements are met.
Associate Degree Medical Assistant Training Programs
Future medical assistants can also decide to enroll in an associate degree training program.
You will be attending medical assisting courses for two years at trade schools that offer it across the country.
Students who successfully complete this program are allowed to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting degree.
As you could notice, this is the most extensive training program, and students who finish it will be better prepared to enter the workforce as a medical assistant.
The core classes, anatomy, and physiology, medical terminology, phlebotomy, basic surgical assisting, and patient care, which are learned during certificate and diploma programs are followed by additional courses such as speech, history, and psychology during associate degree studies.
The associate degree MA training program demands that students finish a clinical portion as well.
Clinical time can be completed in hospital emergency rooms, hospital patient floors, clinics, and doctor’s offices.
Students will need to work with various types of patients including pediatrics, geriatrics, and general medicine during the clinical part.
Furthermore, those who choose to specialize will need to complete clinical time within their chosen specialty so as to be allowed to graduate.