A career in healthcare can be 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 (MAs) 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 healthcare professionals. They are valuable members of the team that diagnoses, prevents, and treats health conditions for patients. They work in family practice, podiatry, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, ENT, and more.

Is Becoming a Medical Assistant a Good Career?

As inall 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 many people who choose a career in the healthcare industry need at least four years of college, medical assistants can often complete their certificate program in less than a year. That means that while your peers are still working on their general education requirements, you could  be caring for patients in the field.

Great hours.

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 can 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 invaluable members 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.

3. Apply.

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. Financial Aid is available for those who qualify.

4. Go to school. 

Our program typically takes 36 to 48 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 a date to take the exam to become certified. At that point, you will need to check with your state to ensure you meet all requirements to begin working in the field. Once you pass the certification exam and meet any state requirements, you can begin to apply for jobs in the field.

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 billing and coding.

Because the medical assisting certificate program can be completed in less than a year typically, 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 health care. 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: 

  1. They can advance by going back to school for a clinical or administrative degree 

  2. They can advance by being promoted into supervisory or leadership positions using their medical assistant credentials

Common supervisory jobs that a certified medical assistant can choose to pursue 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 with further 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 medical assistant in as few as 36 weeks with our on-campus program and 48 weeks in our online program

If you are ready to take the first steps towards career training, contact CHCP today to start your application.