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How to Become a Medical Assistant in 5 Steps

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Are you interested in a career in the medical field? Have you ever considered being a medical assistant?

If you’re interested in medical work, medical assisting could be the job for you.

Do you like helping others? Do you want to work directly with patients without going through all the schooling to become a doctor or nurse?

Would you like to help with office tasks, minor surgeries, preparing patients, and collecting specimens?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are you’d enjoy being a medical assistant. Working a job you enjoy is good for you, so follow your interests.

The great news is, the medical assistant job market is projected to have excellent growth. And, it doesn’t take long to get the training you need. (BLS as of September 2018)

Interested in learning more? Keep reading to learn how to become a medical assistant in five simple steps.

1. Obtain a High School Diploma

The first step on the road to becoming a medical assistant is graduating from high school. If you weren’t or can’t graduate from high school, you’ll need to obtain an equivalent diploma.

This is the minimum requirement for becoming a medical assistant. It is possible to get into the field without further schooling, taking the harder route.

InterCoast offers students an opportunity to obtain a high school diploma while attending the Medical Assistant Programs! Call for more information at 1-877-227-3377! *some restrictions may apply

If you don’t want to pursue further schooling, look for a doctor willing to train you. On-the-job training will get you the skills you need, plus you’ll be paid to learn.

While that sounds like a great route, be warned: if you choose not to become certified through further schooling, it will be harder for you to find a job. And most likely, you won’t be paid as much as someone who is certified.

2. Compare Programs

There are many medical assisting programs to choose from. Because of this, you’ll need to do some research. Certification programs exist in various institutions of learning, including vocational schools, technical schools, and universities.

In your search, look for programs that are American Association for Medical Assistants (AAMA) qualified.

If you’re looking for the most inexpensive route, check out your local community colleges.

While professional training costs you time and money, it’s definitely worth it in the long run. You’ll likely have recouped your total schooling cost within a year or two of working.

As you compare programs, you should also consider your learning style. Both in-person and online programs exist. However, online programs will still have an in-person component in the form of an externship.

Consider your schedule, funds, and needs. You’ll need to keep yourself more motivated if you pursue an online program, while in-person programs provide more structure.

3. Enroll in Your Chosen Program

Once you’ve found a program that meets your needs and interests, get enrolled in the program! As you go through your courses, remain dedicated and try your hardest. You want to present the best when you start looking for jobs.

While the job market for medical assistants is large, you still want to show that you’re a cut above the rest.

Your program of choice will likely take around two years, which is pretty short for schooling, comparatively.

Once you’ve finished your training, it will be easier for you to land a job, and you’ll be eligible for higher salaries.

4. Take the CMA Exam

Your training will help prepare you for the Certified Medical Assistant exam, which you’ll want to take to complete your credentials. Remember, you don’t have to be certified, but it’s far better if you are.

The test is pricey, likely around $100-150 depending on your testing location and membership in medical groups. Make sure you study first! You want to get it right the first time.

As part of your studies, you may want to take a prep class. Or take a practice exam from the AAMA website.

5. Apply and Interview

Once you’ve completed your training and certification, it’s time to put yourself out there. Start by creating a killer resume that highlights your newly acquired professional skills.

For each application, create a brief but detailed cover letter to accompany your resume. Present your skills. Show that you’re desirable! Many others will likely be going for the job, so show why you’re their best option.

Your school likely offers job placement resources, so take advantage of those! Don’t just think hospital. You can find medical assistant jobs in many medical offices, including those of podiatrists and chiropractors.

Once you’ve located jobs you’re interested in and qualified for, send in your application and begin preparing for your potential interview. Don’t just wing it. Seek out interview-taking guidance if need be, and consider potential questions and how you’d answer them.

Be kind, courteous, and professional, and show them what you’re made of!

How to Become a Medical Assistant: A Summary

Now you know how to become a medical assistant. We weren’t pulling your leg; it really is simple! Follow these five tips, and you’ll be on your way in no time.

Get your high school diploma, then find a doctor to train you, or enroll in professional training. Don’t fret if you missed out on a high school diploma. You can also take the GED.

And don’t worry if you haven’t been to school for a while. Medical assistant programs are short and will get you to a new career quickly.

Soon you’ll be enjoying a nice salary, and probably some benefits to going with it, all while doing a job that you enjoy.

And you’ll be doing work that helps other people, too. You don’t get much better than that!

Ready to jump in? Head to our website to learn about our medical assistant training programs today!

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