Those interested in a career as a medical assistant will want to attend a medical assistant college to get their associate’s degree. It is possible to attend an accredited one year program that results in a certificate, but if you want to be as well prepared as possible for your new career, a two year program is better.
An associate’s degree from a medical assistant college will also help you to better prepare for the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam. Although certification is not required, it is looked upon very favorably by employers. The easiest way to find an accredited medical assistant college is to go to the Commission on Accreditation of Alllied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) website.
Most medical assistant programs are offered through community colleges, junior colleges, and technical colleges. There are a total of 267 accredited medical assistant colleges that have programs resulting in associate’s degrees. This includes colleges in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia.
There is even one medical assistant college with an online option, Kaplan University in Davenport, Iowa. This means that no matter where you are located you can still get medical assistant degrees.
In order to prepare for attending a medical assistant college, it is helpful if you do some volunteer work in a health care setting, and if you take classes such as math, typing, biology, computing, health, office skills and computing while you are in high school. A high school diploma is necessary in order to get medical assistant degrees.
Once you have chosen a medical assistant college and been accepted, you will be expected to complete coursework to prepare you to help physicians out with a variety of administrative and clinical tasks. You will need to take some courses that focus on clinical tasks and medical knowledge, and others that teach you more about the administrative work that is commonly performed by medical assistants. You will most likely even learn a bit about law and ethics as well. Many programs also feature some sort of externship or internship that will give you a small taste of what the day to day job of a medical assistant is like.