To become a certified medical assistant, complete an accredited postsecondary education program, pass an exam and earn certification through an industry organization. Before applying for certification, you must be at least 18 years old.
- Complete an accredited postsecondary education program
While a future medical assistant can have a high school diploma and complete on-the-job training, some employers prefer to hire assistants who have completed a medical assistant program at a community college, a vocational school or a technical school. Such programs can take a year or two to complete and result in earning a diploma, associate degree or certificate. Students learn about anatomy and medical terminology while enrolled in this type of program.
- Pass an exam
A state may require that a medical assistant know how to give injections, take X-rays and other advanced tasks before the individual can be considered an actual medical assistant.
- Earn certification through an industry organization
Industry organizations that offer certification include the American Association of Medical Assistants, the National Healthcareer Association, the National Center of Competency Testing and American Medical Technologists. Examples of certification a medical assistant can earn include certified medical administrative assistant, certified medical assistant, certified clinical medical assistant and registered medical assistant.