How to Become a Medical Assistant

Doctor and her patient

Medical assistants provide support to physicians by performing administrative and clinical duties. The role is a vital part of the healthcare industry, as it contributes to patient care. In addition to providing administrative support, medical assistants work under the supervision of a physician to perform clinical tasks such as recording vital signs and preparing patients for examination. They may also collect and prepare laboratory specimens and adjust and set up exam rooms. And in order to understand more about this role, we took the help of MedAssistantEdu in creating this article. 

Step by Step Guide to Becoming a Medical Assistant

1- Find Your Degree

Medical assistants typically need at least an associate’s degree. To this end, medical assistant accreditation plays a pivotal role in ensuring the quality and competency of medical assistants, with most employers requiring candidates to have completed an accredited associate’s degree program. Obtaining proper accreditation not only signifies the attainment of a solid educational foundation, but also demonstrates the commitment to professional standards in the field of medical assisting.

Some employers do not require their medical assistants to have completed a formal education program, but there are advantages to pursuing the accredited training provided by medical assistant school programs. Training in a uniformed environment can enable students to build relationships with other professionals from different health care backgrounds and experience what the medical assistant role entails. Students also get to work with patients in a learning capacity, which can help them decide if they want to do long term.

2- Get Certified

Once you graduate, you may choose to become certified by taking an examination offered by one of several organizations that certify medical assistants. To be eligible to take such a test, you must have graduated from an accredited program. The certification exam covers the medical assisting skills and knowledge that you learned in training, and it can help your employer understand your strengths and weaknesses. Also, if you want to move up in the industry or change careers, a certification as a medical assistant may help. Certification may also be required by some medical practices, hospitals, and clinics for you to get hired.

3- Gain Work Experience

The most critical factor in getting your foot in the door of a health care facility is experience with patients. This can be gained through volunteering or shadowing professionals already working in the industry. Volunteering allows you to understand what daily life is like as a medical assistant and see if it will be a good fit for your personality. Shadowing allows the professional to observe how procedures are done and ask any questions they may have, which can help them decide whether or not this is the right career choice before going all in.

family doctor

4- Network

Networking with professionals in the medical field can provide you with a list of contacts to help you find a job. These individuals may know someone who is currently looking for a medical assistant and refer you to them. In addition, if they’re aware of any opportunities that are not listed online or through job boards, they may be able to pass them along to you.

5- Keep Your Skills Up-to-Date

As technology advances, new systems need to be learned for the medical assistant to remain relevant and knowledgeable. It would help if you kept up with changing trends in the industry. Professional organizations like AAPA (American Academy of PAs) and AMT (Association of MTs) offer educational seminars on high-tech medical assisting, such as EMR training and chart retrieval.

6- Be Prepared for a Career Change

A career in the medical assistant field is rewarding but can also be quite stressful. Extended hours may be spent on your feet, and you might end up dealing with unhappy or upset patients. This is not for everyone. If you decide this isn’t the right choice, don’t be afraid to explore other options in the field of medical assisting. Many positions are available, including phlebotomist, patient care coordinator, consultant/advisor, recruiter, benefits specialist, billing specialist, etc.

State Requirements for Medical Assistants

The role of a medical assistant can vary greatly depending on which state they are located in. Some states may require the same amount of training and certification as others, but some may not require any formal education or certification. In either case, a medical assistant needs to stay current with the latest technology and procedures no matter where they are located.