Ways to become a certified Medical Assistant
If you are an efficient multitasker who works well in a fast-paced environment, have excellent communication and organizational skills, the ability to interact well with people of all ages, keep accurate records and collect specimens without crumbling under the stress then you already have important skills to succeed as a medical assistant.
There are over 819,000 physicians and surgeons in private and group practices, walk-in clinics, health and wellness centers and all sorts of ambulatory emergency and medical care facilities in need of medical assisting staff in the USA. Even hospitals annexed to large regional medical centers now have a strong need for well trained medical assistants and are readily hiring them. Their positions are posted on Internet job sites and newspapers and job offers open and close daily from coast to coast.
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Training for medical assistants comes in many forms, from formal vocational programs to on the job training…
Most aspiring medical assistants complete a twelve to eighteen month course at a local community college, or vocational training institution within their community. This leads to a certificate or diploma in medical assisting. There also are distance education programs—as long as these programs are accredited by ABHES, CAAHEP, or the US Department of Education—they too, can lead to desired diplomas upon to build a solid medical assisting career.
Some formal training programs only last nine months (accelerated program) and some take up to two years from start to finish, depending on the type of program. There you may attain academic and clinical training in a variety of areas, including:
- human anatomy, physiology and pathology
- medical terminology
- keyboarding and computer applications
- record keeping, accounting
- medical coding and insurance processing
- general laboratory techniques
- clinical and diagnostic procedures
- basic pharmacology
- medication administration
- medical office practices
- patient relations/customer services
- general medical law and ethics
- phlebotomy and basics in EKG
- First aid/CPR certification
Experienced medical assistants often choose to continue their education and earn additional career focused certifications or limited licenses that allow them to work in better paying positions, such as medical specialty clinics, laboratory, or sometimes even a research facility. Many vocational training institutions offer medical specialty programs, such as in holistic health care, fitness, rehabilitation, massage, radiography (limited x-ray), sonography, ultrasound, ophthalmology, chiropractic and massage therapy that lead to certified credentials. Universities and colleges offer Associates in Science (A.S.) degrees for those who intend to continue their studies beyond a medical assisting diploma so the credits can be applied to a nursing degree and various other highly specialized technical fields and medical sciences, such as:
- Health Information Technology
- Radiologic Technology
- Sonography and Ultrasound
- Surgical Technology
- Laboratory sciences
- Medical Office Administration and Management,
- Medical records, Health Information Management
- Pharmaceutical sciences
Those interested in environmental sciences, chemistry and biology enroll into programs that lead to a major in environmental biology and forestry, or concentrations in such areas as botany, entomology, fish and wildlife biology, forest pathology, plant physiology, zoology, environmental chemistry, or veterinary degrees for animal lovers, which all are careers of the future with excellent occupational future outlook.
The possibilities are endless.