How much schooling is required to become a medical assistant? Education requirements will differ among employers, but most positions do not need more than an associate’s degree. And in order to know more about it, we created this article with the help of MedAssistantEdu.
State education requirements vary, but all 50 states require medical assistants to be certified. Requirements include passing the Medical Assistant Certification Exam (MAC), completing a state-approved training program, and continuing education every year.
Medical Assistant Schooling Options
Students are eligible for an associate’s degree program in either two years or one year of ongoing study. Many schools also offer diploma programs that take only nine months or 1,200 hours to complete. Other options include certificate courses that can be completed in eight weeks or less, apprenticeship programs that last 9-12 months, and online programs that take two years or less to complete.
A medical assistant must have strong computer skills, be good with people, and have a lifelong interest in healthcare. The work is fast-paced, so outgoing personalities are necessary. Medical assistants should enjoy helping people.
Medical Assistant Education Requirements
Most states require medical assistants to become certified within six months of being hired for the first time after graduation from an accredited program. Requirements include passing the Medical Assisting Certification Exam (MAC), completing a state-approved training program, and continuing education every year after certification through recertification or reapproval by your state board of medicine.
To prepare for the exam, students should take high school English, math, and science courses and specific college coursework, including microbiology, anatomy, and physiology. Volunteering at a hospital or clinic will also give students hands-on experience with patients.
Medical Assistant Certification Requirements
All states require medical assistants to be certified within six months of being hired for the first time after graduation from an accredited program. Most states require the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants, while some require a certification exam specific to their state board of medicine.
In addition to passing the CMA exam every seven years, most states require recertification through continuing education courses provided by an AAMA-approved organization such as a community college or online training centre.
To prepare for the test, students should take high school courses in English, math and science. Volunteering at a hospital or clinic will also give students hands-on experience with patients, while a job as a medical secretary provides critical clerical skills.
Once the CMA credential is earned, continuing education courses to maintain certification are required every three years. The American Association of Medical Assistants offers approved online and classroom courses from community colleges and other organizations.
Certification is required in all states, so the CMA exam offered through the American Association of Medical Assistants is a more popular choice. Each state’s medical board has its certification requirements, which typically include passing the CMA exam every seven years and meeting continuing education coursework guidelines set by each state’s medical board.
Some states require recertification every one to three years, while others make it mandatory to retake the test after five or 10 years.
Medical Assistant Schools Requirements
Coursework will depend on pursuing an associate degree, online learning program, or certification exam prep course. You must complete specific courses including anatomy and physiology that cover human systems, general chemistry that covers atoms, molecules, matter, and energy transformations, and microbiology that covers disease-causing organisms.
It’s also essential to take a course in medical law and ethics and a hands-on clinical experience where you work with patients, take medical histories and learn other skills required of a practising assistant.
In addition to being prepared for the CMA exam, certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants helps prove your qualifications to potential employers. Certification is mandatory in all states for first-time hires after graduation from an accredited program.
However, state regulations may vary regarding whether or not it is mandatory once hired by a facility to maintain employment within that facility. Additionally, the level of certification required varies. Some states require that medical assistants are certified by passing an exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) while others may accept multiple methods of certification, including training programs offered through community colleges or vocational schools which can be found with a simple online search.
The AAMA provides online resources such as its Career Center, which lists job opportunities for certified assistants and continuing education courses.
There are several prerequisites to entering most accredited medical assistant programs. These prerequisites include obtaining a high school diploma/GED, completing specific math and science courses, and other qualifications.
Once in most accredited medical assistant programs, students will participate in clinical hours to interact with actual patients under supervision from practising healthcare professionals.