A career in healthcare offers challenging work, the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, and the flexibility to work in nearly any city in the nation. Medical assistants (MA) provide both administrative and clinical assistance in the healthcare setting by scheduling appointments, processing insurance claims, handling medical records, obtaining patient vital signs and medical history, collecting specimens, and more.
Medical assistants work with patients, family members, doctors, nurses, and other members of the healthcare team. They are a valuable member of the team that diagnoses, prevents, and treats health conditions for patients from all walks of life. They work in family practice, podiatry, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, ENT, and more.
Is Becoming a Medical Assistant a Good Career?
Like all fields, it's important to choose a career path that's aligned with your skills, interests, and abilities. Some of the benefits of a career as a medical assistant include:
A short certificate or degree program.
While most people who choose a career in the healthcare industry need at least four years of college, medical assistants can complete their certificate program in less than a year. That means that while your peers are still working on their general education requirements, you can be caring for patients in the field.
While many healthcare professionals are required to work weekends, overnights, and holidays, medical assistants typically work in clinics, which are traditionally open Monday through Friday during business hours. While there are exceptions, like urgent care and walk-in clinics with extended hours, medical assistants have increased opportunity for traditional hours overall.
A professional role in a meaningful field.
Despite a shorter certificate or degree program, medical assistants work alongside doctors, nurses, advanced practice clinicians, clinical scientists, radiology techs, and more, collaborating to provide care to patients that, in many cases, will save or change their lives.
The opportunity to specialize.
Just like many doctors and nurses often choose a specialty, medical assistants can become specialized in their field, making them an invaluable member of the team and allowing them to learn and practice advanced skills.
Opportunity for advancement.
Medical assistants are often promoted to office managers, billing managers, or practice managers. Education, experience, and specialization can help improve your chances of advancement in your field.
Medical Assistant Career Path
Becoming a medical assistant can require completion of these steps.
1. Review the admission requirements.
In order to enroll in the medical assistant program at The College of Health Care Professions (CHCP), you must possess a high school diploma or GED, pass the Scholastic Level Exam (SLE) with a score of 13 or higher, be able to read and write in English, and demonstrate professionalism and organizational skills.
2. Bridge any gaps.
If there are any admission requirements you don't meet, take the necessary steps to ensure you're qualified for the program. Admissions Advisors at CHCP can answer your GED and SLE questions; simply call 800-487-6728.
Apply for the Medical Assisting Certificate Program at The College of Health Care Professions. You can complete your application online and one of our Admissions Advisors will be in touch with you to go over next steps, including how to apply for financial aid.
4. Go to school.
Our program takes 36 to 40 weeks (that's less than a year!) to complete, and many students are able to continue working while they go to school. You'll take courses like Anatomy and Physiology with Medical Terminology, Medical Insurance, and more.
5. Take your exam.
Once you finish your program, we'll provide you with all the information you need to set up an exam date and get certified.
Review state requirements. Check with your state to ensure you meet all requirements to begin working.
Start your career. Once you pass your exam and meet any state requirements, you're ready to go! You can apply for jobs and use what you learned in real life.
How Can a Medical Assistant Further Their Career?
Just because you've completed your medical assisting program doesn't mean you have to stop investing in your future. There are still many opportunities to continue investing in your growth and development in the field.
You can further your career by:
Seeking continuing education in advanced topics, like patient satisfaction, community health, practice marketing, or supervisory functions
Seeking a specialty certification
Going on to earn an associate or bachelor's degree in a related clinical or administrative field like clinical laboratory science, radiology technology, registered nursing, or medical coding and billing
Because the medical assisting program can be completed in less than a year, many students use it as a starting point; they become an MA to start earning faster and to get their foot in the door in the medical field, gaining valuable hands-on experience to support a long, successful career in healthcare. Your education doesn't have to stop when you finish your medical assisting program.
Medical Assistant Advancement Opportunities
Medical assistants often have the opportunity to advance their careers by advancing their education and demonstrating their competency and work ethic. There are two common career paths for medical assistants:
They advance by going back to school for a clinical or administrative degree, or
They advance by being promoted into supervisory or leadership positions using their medical assistant credentials
Common supervisory titles that a certified medical assistant can fill include office manager, billing supervisor, and practice manager. Some practices will reserve leadership roles for those with bachelor's degrees or higher, so if your aspiration is leadership, consider continuing your education.
Where do you see yourself one year from now? Collecting specimens, reassuring worried patients, and processing insurance claims? If so, your journey starts today with a single click. Apply to the Medical Assisting Certificate Program at The College of Health Care Professions online, and we'll be in touch with you to work out the details. We'll point you in the right direction for financial aid, textbooks, and everything else you need so you can focus on becoming a certified medical assistant in just 36 with our on-campus program and 40 weeks in our online program.
Patients need you, and you deserve a career that's challenging, rewarding, and meaningful. We can't wait to see you achieve it - and we'll be right there every step of the way.