Qualifying for a medical assistant career typically involves doing a postsecondary diploma or certificate in medical assisting, states BLS.gov. However, some employers train aspiring medical assistants on the job as long as they have a high school diploma. Certification may also be desired by employers.
A formal medical assistant training program usually takes place at a two-year school or a university. While doing a one-year program leading to a postsecondary nondegree award is most common, there is an option at some schools to earn an associate degree in medical assisting. Students in any of these programs can expect to learn to do clinical and administrative procedures in a medical office, become familiar with medical terminology and the human body and understand safety and infection control. Schools normally use hands-on labs for practice performing medical assisting tasks, and internships near the end of these programs are common.
Although not always required, medical assistant certification from a professional organization is an option for those who complete a formal education program and meet eligibility requirements, such as being 18 or older. For example, the American Association of Medical Assistants has the Certified Medical Assistant credential, while the National Healthcareer Association has the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant certification.