Medical Assistant Education

As a certified medical assistant you will meet and initially assess patients while working directly under a doctor’s supervision, in addition to completing specific clinical tasks assigned by the physician. Depending on a state’s rules regarding medical assistant education requirements, some M.A.’s are allowed to do more advanced tasks such as administering drugs or performing radiological procedures. Medical assistants are also trained in the filling out and processing of insurance forms, setting up hospital admissions, assisting the attending physician in various diagnostic tests, and even removing stitches or authorizing prescription refills as directed by the supervising doctor. Along with various nursing jobs, medical assisting is looking to be one of the most rapidly growing careers in the next decade according to the United States Department of Labor.

Various education institutions such as community colleges, vocational schools or even online schools offer medical assistant education programs, which are required to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). There are approximately over 500 CAAHEP programs available in over 450 postsecondary schools in the United States. Accreditation of a medical assistant education program needs to adhere to certain state-selected standards and should give the student enough class and laboratory hours in order to become a certified medical assistant. After completing your program, you must take an examination to become certified, which is administered by the AAMA Certifying Board with respect to the National Board of Medical Examiners. You can take the AAMA at any time of the year at certain testing stations located all over the U.S. You can find locations and times by asking your program advisor, but remember to ask about this exam in advance since you may be put on a waiting list in order to take the test.

After passing the AAMA, you will be considered a certified assistant and will have to be recertified every sixty months by either taking another test similar to the one you took to originally receive your certificate, or by furthering your education in a postsecondary school. If you would like more information regarding the AAMA, go to And search the many links available for the answers you are looking for.

Financial aid is accessible to all potential assistant students from both the federal and private level. Medical assistant education generally takes twelve to sixteen months in order to earn a certificate, and two years to earn a bachelor’s degree. A sample of the many classes needed to obtain the title of M.A. are medical transcription and coding, laboratory techniques, medical ethics, and first aid procedures. In addition, you can continue your career in the medical profession by taking more classes in the future and becoming a registered medical assistant (RMA), a certification which has to be renewed once every three years. Labor statistics show the need for medical assistants is great and individuals who have successfully completed an accredited program rarely have any problem finding a job.