If you want to work as a medical assistant, or MA, you’ll need some specialized training in order to increase your employability and career success.
On-the-job experience and training, a diploma program, a certificate program, or an associate’s degree program are all options for an MA to obtain all of the training and education he or she needs to also have a harmonious and productive career that will give you a stable income.
Don’t know the difference between a diploma program or a certificate program? Are you wondering if on the job-experience or an associate’s degree would work for you? Read on about the different ways to become a medical assistant and see which is the right fit for you.
Get Your Training on the Job
While you can become a medical assistant with just a high school certificate and a strong drive to achieve, you’ll need substantial experience in the healthcare area to be considered for the role. Working for the same physician or facility for several years and demonstrating your ability to give all of the essential clerical and clinical assistance is the greatest method to climb the career ladder into an MA job without getting a formal education from an accredited institution such as a trade school or community college.
On-the-job training to become an MA will not cost you any money past transporting yourself to work. There is no need to pay for post-secondary education in this instance. You’ll need a high school graduation or a GED to work as a medical assistant through on-the-job training.
It is preferable to have a high school graduation with a focus on healthcare. This covers classes in human biology and anatomy, for example. The possibility to work while gaining experience is one of the advantages of this approach to getting an MA, which is a terrific option if you are supporting a family. You can also obtain all of the necessary training without having to attend classroom lectures or complete a practical.
The disadvantage of this option is that most healthcare providers such as doctors and hospitals prefer to hire MAs who have had formal training. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants made between $22,040 and $43,880 per year in May 2015. Those with no formal training or certification earned the lowest pay, while those with associate’s degrees and multiple certifications paid nearly twice as much. Finally, those without a post-secondary degree are frequently denied the opportunity to appear for exams by credentialing organizations. When they do, they’ll need one to three years of experience working as a medical assistant.
Getting Certified as a Medical Assistant
Certificate programs last between nine and twelve months, which is about the same as diploma programs. Unlike diploma programs, however, you can apply any credits you earned while studying toward an associate’s degree program in the future. You can sit for any credentialing exam, including those provided by the National Health Career Association once you are finished with your program and have received your certificate from your accredited institution.
Depending on the area, the included courses, and the length of the externship, a one-year certificate program administered through community and vocational colleges can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $20,500. Those who enroll in certificate programs are eligible for the same scholarships as those who enroll in diploma programs. A certificate program, on the other hand, qualifies you for government funding. For example, if you want to get your MA certificate but have never earned a bachelor’s or professional degree in any discipline, the Federal Pell Grant is a terrific alternative.
You have to have a high school diploma or a GED so you can enroll in a Medical Assisting program at a credible institution. To finish your externship, you’ll also need to show proof of immunization or a vaccine card. Immunization records may need to be updated.