IBMC Articles

Guide to Medical Assistant Programs

Medical assistants play a critical role in a variety of healthcare settings, so this is a great career path to consider if you want to enter an exciting and dynamic field with good earning potential.

In this role, you’ll use medical and administrative skills to perform a wide range of tasks daily. Therefore, completing a certified medical assistant program will help you develop the skill set that employers are looking for.

What kind of training do you need, and how can you get started? Here’s a look at some of the things to expect.

Is a degree required to become a medical assistant?

Generally, you don’t always need a degree to start working in this field.

However, the state you live in, or the employer you want to work for, might have specific medical assistant requirements that include having a degree.

Keep in mind that if you hope to stand out against other job candidates, getting a degree is a smart move. Even if an employer doesn’t require this level of education, they might prefer hiring individuals who have completed it.

How long is a medical assistant program?

The amount of time it will take to complete your training will be based on the type of education you pursue.

You can find medical assistant degree programs, diploma programs, and certificate programs at vocational schools and colleges, including community colleges. And each of these can help prepare you for professional certifications, which might be required by your state or employer.

Medical Assistant Degree

Earning an associate’s degree is one way you can work toward a career as a medical assistant. This will typically take around two years to complete.

If you aren’t in a hurry to start working, or you plan on advancing your level of education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree later on, putting in the time and effort to complete this level of education is wise. Plus, it’s a strategic way to stand out when applying for sought-after positions.

Medical Assistant Diploma or Certificate

Completing a medical assistant certificate or diploma program is another option, and it can also give you everything you need to get hired. This typically takes around one year to complete.

Getting a diploma or certificate might be a better route if you want to enter the workforce sooner, or if you don’t think you’ll need a degree to effectively stand out against other job seekers.

What are medical assistant classes like?

Because the job of a medical assistant involves helping office staff and medical professionals, you’ll need to complete a diverse set of courses. Also, you might be required to purchase scrubs and certain medical tools, such as a stethoscope, so you can practice using them correctly.

Generally, an MA program will include classes on the following topics:

  • Anatomy and physiology
  • First aid and CPR
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical assisting and lab procedures
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical transcription
  • Risk management
  • Office/business management
  • Insurance processing
  • Bookkeeping

Medical assistant specialties

If you’re planning on moving into one of the many medical assistant specialty areas, such as cardiology or ophthalmology, consider looking for a program that can help prepare you for the type of facility you hope to work in.

Internships and externships

If you want to go beyond the classroom while you’re still in school, consider enrolling in a program that will provide access to internships or externships. These give you the opportunity to receive real world training in a healthcare facility so you can get a feel for what it’s like working as a medical assistant.

Can you get a medical assistant degree online?

While working on becoming a medical assistant, you’ll study various topics, and some of them will require hands-on practice. Therefore, even though you might come across an online medical assistant program, consider whether it will be able to give you the type of training you truly need.

To get the best of both worlds, check out hybrid programs, like those offered at IBMC. These allow you to complete some coursework conveniently from home and some coursework in the classroom, so you won’t miss out on the valuable in-person training that can help set you up for success.

What are the requirements to get into a medical assistant program?

Usually, all you need is a high school diploma or GED. So, whether you recently graduated or you’re a working adult planning a career change, you can start sooner than you might think.

Remember, selecting the right school is key. The goal is to receive the best training possible so you can gain the confidence and skills necessary to succeed.

At IBMC, you can earn your Clinical Medical Assisting Degree or Clinical Medical Assisting Diploma so you can be fully prepared to enter this popular healthcare field. Contact us if you have any questions about our programs or if you’d like more medical assistant career information.

Request Info