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How to Become a Medical Assistant

Learning how to become a medical assistant is a popular career option for those who are interested in a medical career, but do not wish to become a doctor or a nurse. Becoming a medical assistant still requires learning a particular set of skills, usually through formal medical assistant training. There is also a certification process for medical assistants who wish to have a competitive advantage in the job market.

With some patience and dedication, learning how to become a medical assistant can lead to a rewarding career.

What is a Medical Assistant?

how to become a medical assistantMedical assistants work alongside doctors, nurses and other clinical personnel, performing functions that help a medical facility run smoothly. If you learn how to become a medical assistant, you may choose between different types of medical assistant.

A general medical assistant job description will explain the specific job duties of a medical assistant in more detail.

To learn how to become a medical assistant, follow the steps below.

1. Pursue Medical Assistant Training

Most of today’s medical assistants receive formal training at an accredited medical assistant school. Medical assistant courses provide the basic skills needed to perform in medical assisting, and keeps medical assistants competitive in a field that is continually expanding.

The three most popular training programs for medical assistants are certificate programs, associate’s degrees, and diplomas.

  • Certificates and diplomas can usually be completed within one year. They offer a curriculum that is job specific, and have few general educational requirements
  • Associate’s degree programs last around 2 years and offer more general education in addition to job-specific courses

Whatever path you take in figuring out how to become a medical assistant, it is important that your school be accredited. This will become important if you choose to become certified after graduation.

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2. Complete Your Medical Assisting Externship

While learning how to become a medical assistant, you may be required to complete an externship, where you will work as a medical assistant in a live clinical setting for several weeks.

Externships are usually done as part of a medical assistant training program, and are supervised by both your medical assisting instructor and the physician or nurse in charge of your externship facility.

3. Become a Certified Medical Assistant

After you graduate from medical assistant school you have the option to become certified. Although not a requirement to work as a medical assistant, medical assistant certification can make you more employable.

This is where school accreditation becomes important, because if you do not graduate from an accredited program, you will not be allowed to sit for the examination. To learn more about medical assistant certification, read How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).

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4. Become Employed as a Medical Assistant

The final step to learning how to become a medical assistant is to become employed. Here your training, externship experience, and certification should make you competitive enough to confidently join the job market as a medical assistant and earn a respectable medical assistant salary.

Good luck!

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