Q:

Where can you learn to become a medical assistant?

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Quick Answer

Education for medical assistants comes from several sources, including on-the-job training and in structured academic programs offered by colleges. At a minimum, medical assistants hold high school diplomas or the equivalent, called GEDs. Some assistants learn the skills necessary for working alongside doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on the job, but others attend structured programs to earn associate's degrees or special certificates.

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Full Answer

Medical assistants may learn all requisite skills watching physicians and other medical staff, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, those receiving more formal training through certificate programs or courses at community, technical and vocational colleges receive higher wages and improve employment prospects. These schools offer medical assistance training in 1 to 2-year programs. Upon completing coursework, students pass exams to earn degrees.

While in school, medical assistants receive training in a diverse field of academics. Coursework might include pharmacology, ethics, anatomy and administrative tasks such as insurance billing and processing. Students also learn basic life-saving skills, such as CPR. Coursework often involves business, medical and administrative training, along with communication skills development.

Upon learning requisite skills, medical assistants may pursue certification through an accredited organization, such as the American Medical Technologists or American Association of Medical Assistants. Medical assistants do not need certificates for employment. However, having certificates makes assistants more attractive to potential employers.

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