The demand for healthcare professionals has never been greater, and that includes medical assistants. Medical assistants are invaluable healthcare team members who provide vital support to doctors, nurses, and medical offices. They handle many of the clinical and administrative tasks necessary to keep a medical practice, outpatient center, or acute care center running smoothly and efficiently. They are also often the first and last people that patients see or talk with when they contact or visit a healthcare facility or need to make a follow-up appointment.

The good news is that a career as a medical assistant can be rewarding and exciting, and an educational program for a medical assistant can normally be completed in under a year.

Medical assistants are responsible for a broad range of tasks. It's rare that a medical office doesn't employ at least one medical assistant, if not a team of medical assistants. They act as a link between patients and doctors.

Medical Assistant Job Description 

Medical assistants perform a range of clinical duties under the supervision of a physician. For example, they might take a patient's vital signs, get a patient's medical history, prepare patients for appointments, administer medications, change wound dressings, remove stitches, and draw blood. However, that's far from a comprehensive list. The duties of a medical assistant are different for each position, but one of the most important parts of a medical assistant's job is acting as a link between the physician or other healthcare provider and the patient and his or her family. 

Medical assistants also handle a variety of administrative duties, such as submitting claims to Medicaid, Medicare, and other medical insurance companies, booking appointments, checking in patients, and maintaining patient records.

Medical assistants can be found in a wide variety of environments. These include doctors’ offices, hospitals, outpatient care facilities, rehabilitation clinics, and a wide variety of specialty clinics. Depending on where you want to work, you can choose to specialize in one aspect of medical assisting, such as medical billing or even working in pediatrics or at an obstetrician's office assisting pregnant women.

With experience, medical assistants can grow to supervise a team in a medical practice or in a clinical care facility. A medical assistant certificate can be the first step to a rewarding career in healthcare that may inspire you to advance your education into a degree program in fields like healthcare administration and nursing.

Medical Assistant Salary

The demand for medical assistants continues to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that the number of new medical assistant positions will grow by 16% or approximately 117,800 jobs between 2021 and 2031. One of the reasons for this demand is the aging population in the U.S.

The greatest number of medical assistant jobs are offered by private medical practices, according to the BLS, and the five states with the highest number of jobs for medical assistants are California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Salaries can vary depending on your experience, where you work (geographically), and whether you work in a private practice or in a larger medical center. On average, the highest wages are paid by outpatient care centers and the lower wages are paid by retirement and assisted living communities.

Medical Assistant School Requirements

A college degree is not required to be a medical assistant in most medical facilities. In fact, US News and World Report magazine lists medical assisting as one of the top 10 careers that doesn't require a college degree. However, you do need proper training to qualify for certain positions. 

Medical assistants are not required to be certified in most states, but many doctors and hospitals prefer medical assistants who have successfully completed a formal program and passed a national credentialing exam. Certificate programs vary, but most take between nine months and two years to complete.

In order to be accepted into a certificate program for medical assistants, you need to have earned your high school diploma, GED, or secondary education from another country.

Training to Be a Medical Assistant

Throughout a medical assistant certificate program, you will acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to proficiently assess and record an individual's vital signs, the ins and outs of medical terminology and regulations, anatomy and physiology, clinical skills, how to administer injections, medical ethics, how to handle patient records correctly, and insurance billing.

The College of Health Care Professions (CHCP) offers a comprehensive medical assistant program. In as few as 36 weeks, you can train to be an essential part of the healthcare industry either online or at one of our nine Texas campuses. CHCP is institutionally accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), and financial aid is available for those who qualify.

The medical assisting program consists of eight learning modules. Below are examples of the topics covered in the program:

  • Infection control

  • HIPAA and OSHA laws

  • Medical terminology

  • Anatomy

  • Medical clinical procedures

  • Medical office management

  • Managing medical records

At the end of the program, students will be able to apply the professional skills developed in the classroom in a practical healthcare setting during their externship.

Becoming a Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant 

Completing a medical assistant certificate program is a great way to break into this career field. CHCP’s Medical Assistant Program is designed to help you acquire  the tools and the knowledge needed for the national credentialing exam.

Students in the CHCP Medical Assistant Program take the Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant examination (NRCMA) offered by the National Association for Health Professionals (NAHP) before beginning their externship. Becoming certified is not mandatory to get a job as a medical assistant, but it adds to your resume and lets potential employers know that you have completed specific training for the job. For more continuing education opportunities, visit the American Association of Medical Assistants.

To learn more about training to be a medical assistant at CHCP, visit or call us at (800) 487-6728. One of our admissions advisors will be able to answer any questions and help you get started.