If you have read the medical assistant overview (interlink-Medical Assistant Overview page) and decided that pursuing a career in this field might be a good fit for you, then you will want will want to know exactly how to become a medical assistant. There are a series of certifications and programs that offer a comprehensive curriculum of training and subsequent testing. Medical assistant programs are available online, in-person, and as a hybrid of both online and offline. Once you understand all of the specific steps to becoming a medical assistant, you will want to consider the different medical assistant programs (interlink-Medical Assistant Programs page) available and choose the school that best fits your personal requirements.

Steps to Become a Medical Assistant

Unlike other professions, the steps to becoming a medical assistant are relatively few and very straightforward. The basic requirements are the completion of your education, followed by earning a professional certification.


The first step towards any type of education program is the admission procedure. As your search for the perfect medical assistant program starts, make sure that the institute imparting the education has received the necessary accreditation. All programs will require completion of high school or a GED. There are dual programs offered for medical assistants-certificate and associate degree. Depending upon your preference, you can make the right selection. All you need to be aware of is whether you’re interested in a short-term or long-term curriculum. If you’re in a hurry to join the group of medical assistants, then the certificate program is ideal for you. However, if you don’t have time constraints and you want to ensure a solid foundation in the field, then it is better to opt for the associate’s degree. The significant differences between the two are the duration and type of curriculum. While the certificate program can vary in the period from nine months to twelve months, the associate’s degree lasts for as long as two years. The type of education received in the latter is more advanced, and hence, you may have better chances at climbing the ladder of progress in the healthcare domain. It covers diverse topics ranging from first aid to medical billing and coding. In both programs, you receive hands-on training and education, respectively. However, the nature of practice varies because of the difference in the scope and expanse of the curriculum.

Externship program

A significant requirement in the attainment of a certification in a medical assistant program is the successful completion of an externship program. The externship trains and prepares prospective medical assistants for in the field expectations and requirements. Through an externship you obtain a certain degree of practical experience in the world of medical assistance. Externship training can be easily applied to various medical assistant jobs once you enter into the field professionally. The externship gives medical assistants room for improvement and a safe haven to learn in an on the job setting. They receive first-hand experience in a clinical environment. You will practically apply tools and methods as well as hone your interpersonal skills in the clinical setting. Usually, the educational institution organizes the externship program through a collaborative setup. Either you begin your externship at the clinic or medical facility of your choice or the facility partnered with the medical assistant program that you attend.


In many scenarios, a certification isn’t necessary to begin work as a medical assistant, but many employers do prefer them. Since certification comes highly recommended, you can easily choose from five different types of certifications. The benefit of having a certificate on the professional level is that employers tend to pay more to certified professionals and get the opportunity to grow and level up in their career requirements. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies mentions the following certifications for medical assistants:
-National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
-Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
-Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
-Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
-Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)


With the emerging trends and advances in technology, the clinical field requires highly skilled and determined professionals. Hence, medical assistants need to get attuned and in sync with the changes in the healthcare domain. As medical assistants are responsible for both clinical and administrative duties, they must be informed and well-versed with Electronic Health Records (EHR). Apart from them, there are Electronic Medical Records (EMR) too. The EHR is readily accessible to patients, unlike the EMR, which can be accessed only by the medical professionals. The digitization of medical and health records is changing the medical landscape and medical assistants who are well-versed in the softwares used for these processes will be highly sought after. Gaining knowledge and improving your skillset can set yourself apart from other potential candidates seeking employment as a medical assistant.

Finding Medical Assistant Jobs

There are many clinical institutes and healthcare facilities that are on the lookout for skilled and trained professionals. Medical assistants can easily land jobs in the offices of physicians as well as medical practitioners. Learn more about medical assistant salary and career outlook(interlink-Medical Assistant Salary And Career Outlook page) when considering your best job options. With different branches of medicine available for exploring, you can even choose the area or discipline in which you would like to assist—fields like ophthalmology, podiatry, chiropractic, pediatric care, gynecology, and more. With a strong resume and commendable achievements coupled with a fast-growing demand for medical assistants, your chances of employment will be high. Verifiable credentials are a strong bet for getting a good medical assisting job and putting your skills to use.

Landing Medical Assistant Jobs

Your performance during an interview determines your selection and subsequent responsibilities in the new role. The interviewer will make it a point to ask questions wherein they will gain a better understanding of your skills and the ability to carry out the job with tenacity. Questions about the HIPAA protocol and CPR procedures are frequently asked questions and let the interviewer know about your knowledge and awareness of the field, your expertise and performance potential.

Ready To Become A Medical Assistant?

The landscape of the medical field and the allied health fields is continually evolving. Healthcare professionals equipped with the knowledge of technology will be ideal for the future environment. Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 19% within the next decade. With demand increasing and medical records and information being digitized, becoming a medical assistant with sought after skills is a very attainable goal.
The healthcare domain will always be in need of highly trained and skilled professionals. If you are ready to become a medical assistant, then you can start taking the steps today. Follow the steps with hard work and perseverance and you will be an in-demand medical assistant in no time.

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