Medical assistants (MAs) are in high demand. As one of the fastest growing jobs in healthcare, professionals are needed to fill roles in a variety of care settings. Thankfully, there are a number of training programs available to job seekers looking to start and grow their careers as medical assistants. If you’re looking for a new MA career opportunity, here’s what you need to know about medical assistant training programs.
First, while some healthcare providers will accept a high school diploma or high school equivalency as the minimum education needed for an entry-level medical assistant role, this can vary from state-to-state. From there, you will be required to complete a post-secondary medical assistant training program. These programs can vary in length from a few months to two years, depending on the level of education you choose to pursue. Most medical assistant training programs provide a combination of coursework and hands-on experience. However, it is important to pay attention to factors such as online versus in-person and program costs when deciding which medical assisting program may be the best fit for you.
Next, while some employers may accept a degree or certificate of completion from a medical assistant training program for a given role, many may require you to complete a certification exam. The two primary certifications are known as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam and the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam. While these two certifications are offered by different organizations, they both serve equally well as an initial entry point into the medical assisting profession.
From there, medical assistants can choose to pursue additional certifications, such as the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) or National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA). Each designation comes with requirements for minimum workplace experience and exam scores. Once completed, they open new opportunities for medical assistants in the field, including expanded clinical duties.
Finally, MAs looking to further their careers can choose to pursue specialty certifications. Typically, candidates must complete one of the primary certifications before pursuing these specialty options. By obtaining a specialty certification, job candidates can open new career opportunities in a variety of care settings.
These medical assistant training program specialties include but are not limited to:
- Dermatology (SCMA-D)
- Cardiology (SCMA-CD)
- Endocrinology (SCMA-END)
- Family Medicine (SCMA-FM)
- Geriatrics (SCMA-G)
- International Medical Assistant (IMA)
- Internal Medicine (SCMA-IM)
- Obstetrics and Gynecology (SCMA-OBG)
- Oncology (SCMA-ON)
- Orthopedic Surgery (SCMA-ORS)
- Pediatrics (SCMA-PD)
- Transplant Surgery (SCMA-TTS)
- Urology (SCMA-U)
- Women’s Health (SCMA-WH)
Whichever medical assistant training program path you choose to pursue, earning this sort of certification can increase your earning potential and open new doors in the medical assisting profession.