To become a medical assistant, complete either an associate degree or a certificate program in medical assisting, and participate in a practicum in a professional environment. After all the formal training is complete, the medical assistant can obtain certification by passing an exam offered by an accredited organization.
- Complete a program in medical assistance
Students must complete either a two-year associate degree or one-year certificate in medical assisting from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. Medical assistant programs include coursework in math, science and medical terminology, in addition to learning about clinical and administrative duties.
- Participate in a practicum
To complete their education, students of medical assisting must participate in the practical application of concepts learned in the classroom. This involves working in a professional environment while shadowing professional medical assistants as they perform their duties.
- Get certification
Although some employers do not require that an assistant be certified, formal certification opens up more job options. To get certified, the medical assistant must pass a certification exam offered by an accredited organization. In addition to offering the exam, the American Association of Medical Assistants offers a course for the exam several times a year. This certification must be renewed every five years.