What Are the Educational Requirements for Medical Assistant


Medical assistants perform a wide range of functions, ranging from official or administrative work assistance to laboratory processing and so on. Thus the educational requirements for medical assistants are both work and experience oriented.

A formal education is given less preference than work experience; but because of the technical nature of the job, some amount of degree-based education is also important. The points to keep in mind with regards to the educational requirements of a medical assistant are as follows:

Formal educational requirements:

As far as the formal institutionalized education of the medical assistant is concerned, a two years associate degree program is a must. This must be followed by the obtaining of a certificate after successfully completing a licensing examination. However, if they wish so, medical assistants can enter the professional sphere even after a one year vocational course in medical assistance, or a diploma course. But this will restrict their scope of professional success and so it is the best if they can complete the two year course for greater chance of success.

Things to consider:

There are a number of factors regarding the two year course which must be kept in mind:

  • The course must be accredited by CAAHEP which is the abbreviated form of Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Program or the ABHES which stands for the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
  • The certification examination which students are required to take to obtain permission for work is called the AAMA examination. After obtaining this certification, they are entitled to work as Certified Medical Assistants or CMAs. The chances of professional progress increase with this certificate.
  • If the student has to join the workforce as soon as possible, then he can opt for the one year vocation course involving a medical assistance program and opt for a diploma or certificate.

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