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How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant

In the health care industry, a career as a certified medical assistant can be a lucrative opportunity. Explore the necessary educational requirements.

Are you organized, efficient, and enjoy helping people in need? Consider becoming a healthcare worker. Healthcare workers work in a doctor’s office, urgent care centers, and hospitals.

One of the fastest-growing jobs in the medical field is the medical assistant. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected job outlook growth for medical assistants is 23 percent.

Certified medical assistant jobs offer stability and flexibility. If you believe this field is right for you, then continue reading.

Find An Accredited Program

Not all medical assistant programs are equal. Some programs teach you the basics of the job, but the institution isn’t accredited. Accreditation of medical assistant coursework comes from two sources:

  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)

If a medical assistant program isn’t accredited, a student can’t get certified. While certification isn’t needed for all medical assistant jobs, many organizations want it.

The type of medical assistant program you pick depends on your job goals. Shorter programs place students sooner in jobs with a medical assistant certificate.

Many medical assistants transition into nursing school to be an LPN or RN. So it might be better to complete an Associate’s program.

It might seem a bit daunting to find the right school, but using discretion will save you frustration later on. For more information about medical assistant, programs conduct further research.

Enroll in the Medical Assistant Program

After finding the best school to suit your needs, it’s time to apply. Every school’s admission process is different. But most schools want to see your high school diploma or GED, your transcript, and state I.D. Some programs ask applicants to complete an entrance exam.

Program tuition could run between $5,000 to $15,000, according to the American Institute of Medical Sciences & Education. So filling out the FAFSA paperwork helps too.

But the tuition may cover your textbooks, eBooks, supplies, and job coaching.

Complete Coursework

Most medical assistant schools offer a similar curriculum that includes:

  • Anatomy & Physiology
  • Medical Terminology
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical Law & Ethics
  • Clinical Procedures & Phlebotomy
  • Medical Assistant Office Procedures
  • Clinical Externship

Some coursework varies by program and may provide electives. After the successful completion of classwork, a student must pass a clinical externship.

Complete Externship

An externship takes place inside a medical setting like a doctor’s office or hospital for a set amount of field hours. Students complete tasks like drawing blood, taking patient vital statistics, and scheduling patients.

Externship completion is necessary for students to sit for a certification exam.

Choose a Certification

Medical assistant certifications come in five formats:

  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

To select which certification credential to pursue research, the benefits each provides.

Become a Certified Medical Assistant

The medical assistant certifications ask students to pass an exam. The exams have multiple-choice questions on a variety of topics.

Students should take the exam after the externship while the information is fresh.

Ready to Enroll

If becoming a certified medical assistant is right for you, then it’s time for enrollment. Select an affordable program that meets your state’s requirements and apply. Before you know it, you’ll be helping patients in need.

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