If you are asking any of the following:
- Why become a medical assistant?
- Should I become a medical assistant?
- How to become a medical assistant?
Then you’re in the right place 🙂
We have already prepared a guide on how to become a medical assistant, so in this post we will share 25 of the amazing reasons you’d want to become a medical assistant.
Our list was put together by our whole team of medical assisting professionals and includes some MA career benefits we’ve enjoyed that you may not be aware of. Our team also shared these 6 stories about becoming MAs.
So, let’s dive right into the many great reasons to become a medical assistant.
Financial / Job Security
Lifestyle / Flexibility
9 Easy Continuing Education
10 Work in 50 States
11 Work Internationally
12 Work/Life Balance
13 Job Stress
14 Day-To-Day Variety
15 Specialization Options
16 Job Settings
17 Flexible Schedule
18 Transferable Skills
Financial / Job Security Reasons to Become an MA
1. Educational Requirements Are Modest
Many medical professions have steep educational entry requirements. The time and tuition required to achieve advanced degrees can put you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
Becoming a certified medical assistant is extremely affordable. It’s a much faster training cycle than that of a doctor or nurse.
Generally speaking, an MA certificate program takes 9 to 12 months to complete. Alternatively, you may also get a 2-year degree called an Associate of Applied Science if you want your CMA or RMA certification.
While tuition costs vary from region to region, the combined cost of both an associate’s degree and certification is considerably lower than that of a 4-year degree.
Alternatively, depending on your location, some employers hire MAs without certification. So, if you are wondering, “can I become a medical assistant without going to school?” the answer is, yes but you won’t have a certification.
So, if you have been wondering what education is required to become a medical assistant, now you know. You may also be relieved to know that you can become a certified medical assistant online with an in-person externship.
2. Getting Certified as a CMA or RMA is Affordable
After completing the necessary training, you can choose to sit for either of the national certification exams.
These are provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the American Medical Technologists (AMT). The former test currently costs $125; the latter is $120.
The AAMA test delivers the CMA credential discussed above. The AMT exam delivers a similar certification as a Registered Medical Assistant.
Once certified, your credential will be recognized nationally by employers making you more marketable and increasing your earning potential. Learn more about becoming a CMA vs RMA.
3. Opportunities Everywhere
The market for medical assistants has never been more promising than it is right now. With baby boomers aging and requiring more medical services each year, plus other factors, the healthcare field is experiencing massive growth.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts continued growth in the medical assisting field – an increase of as much as 29% by 2026.
This growth curve massively exceeds most other professions; the predicted average growth in the same period is just 7%.
This growth curve translates into 183,000+ positions for new medical assistants.
4. Excellent Pay
A medical assistant’s pay is superior when compared to most entry-level positions, e.g. retail or service industry.
The average standard of living for medical assistants is significantly higher than that of other careers that do not require higher education and are competitive with similar allied healthcare salaries.
The nationwide average salary for medical assistants in 2017 was $32,480 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is subject to some regional variations. The nation’s highest MA salaries are found in DC, with local medical assistants earning as much as $51,370.
Compare Salaries: Use our nationwide medical assistant salary database to compare MA salaries by state, metropolitan region, and city. Get started
5. Long-Term Stability
Between dramas on TV (like House, Grey’s Anatomy, and The Good Doctor) and the sort of exposure to the healthcare industry from social media content, you might get the impression that the demands of a medical career never stop.
This has a big upside once you’re in the industry: There’s a constant, never-ceasing need for more professionals at every level. This definitely includes medical assistants.
While some professions face giant uncertainties in their job prospects thanks to technological innovation, as a medical assistant, you’ll be comfortable in the knowledge that your professional skill-set is essentially future-proof.
People aren’t going to quit getting sick anytime soon; there will always be positions open for medical assistants. Even routine medical care for healthy patients requires the able services of good MAs.
No matter how the profession may evolve, it will be stable and growing for many years to come.
6. Great Employment Opportunities
Health care is one of the fastest growing industries in the work force today, due in no small part to the growing population.
There will always be a need for the expertise of health care professionals, and that includes the skills of medical assistants.
In fact, job opportunities for medical assistants are projected to increase an astounding 34 percent during the 2016 to 2026 decade, adding approximately 183,900 new jobs into the market, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
MAs can work in many places such as podiatry offices, hospitals, the military, pediatric clinics, family clinics, and more. We wrote another article sharing 20 places MAs work, check it out.
7. Excellent Advancement Opportunities
Medical assisting is a great way to get your foot in the door for a variety of other health care positions.
Those who start off in this position can be promoted to becoming administrative assistants, office managers, and a variety of other administrative occupations.
Medical assistants who are dedicated and hardworking will often be considered for advancements to positions of better pay and higher authority.
Additionally, you will have multiple routes to advance down. Between clinical and administrative opportunities you will have many great chances to advance your career.
8. Low Barriers to Entry Into the Field
While becoming a physician is a noble calling, not everyone can make the sacrifice of time and money to complete all of the education and specialized training needed to become one.
However, if the health care industry still excites you, you can easily become a medical assistant. Accredited medical assisting programs are only between 8 months and 2 years.
Some medical students working towards their physicians’ license looking to gain experience and earn income have asked, “how to become a medical assistant while in college?”
So, it is worth noting that some employers don’t require certification and you could become an MA much quicker in these positions.
For example, you could become a medical assistant in 6 weeks through an accelerated program and/or on the job training.
Lifestyle / Flexibility Reasons to Become an MA
9. Continuing Education Is Easy
For those who complete an associates program and become certified, they will be required to continue their education and earn CEs (Continuing Education Credits).
To make this easy, we keep a list of places to get free and/or easy CEs for MAs.
Additionally, completing an associate program is a practical, future-minded option for individuals who may want to secure further education at a later date. Like we have mentioned, becoming a medical assistant may just be your initial entry into healthcare, you can continue your education and advance your career as you please.
If you choose to move up toward a bachelor’s degree after getting some work experience under your belt, you will be able to transfer some of the credits earned in your associate program and get a head start on your next degree.
10. State To State Moves Are Painless
Physicians who move from one state to another are forced to undergo a lengthy new licensing procedure for each state.
Medical assistants are spared this hassle; they can effortlessly carry their professional credentials to any place in the nation. Some states will require their certification and some won’t, but regardless most employers will require certification.
We created a tool to help MAs see certification requirements by state.
Note that compensation varies widely based on region. Besides Washington DC, other areas with notably high pay for MAs include California, Alaska, and Massachusetts.
11. Working Internationally Is A Possibility
The United States isn’t the only place where medical assistants are in high demand. There are burgeoning markets in foreign countries, as well.
Want to give the expat lifestyle a try? Medical assistant positions are plentiful in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Canada, the United Kingdom, Dubai, and many other nations.
In addition to international positions, you can find travel MA positions. These can have you travel around a small radius like 1-3 cities where you service a chain of schools, nursing homes, or health clinics.
Additionally, you may find interstate or international travel MA jobs as well, and could even end up working in the military if you were interested in doing so.
12. Excellent Work/Life Balance
Many professionals in the MA field have a schedule as consistent and reliable as white-collar office workers. This is SUCH an attractive benefit to becoming an MA, especially within the medical community.
You may notice, that not all medical careers offer a good work/life balance.
Medical assistants can expect free weekends and public holidays off as the rule rather than the exception.
Keep stress and professional burnout at bay by enjoying a reasonable balance between your career and personal goals.
13. Job Stress is Comparatively Low
Certain segments of the healthcare industry are extremely stressful.
In fact, 40% of doctors in the US consider their jobs highly stressful. Symptoms of professional burnout affect as many as half of all doctors.
The figures are even more forbidding for nurses; three out of four nurses report experiencing burnout.
Many of these professionals suffer compassion fatigue due to caring for an unending stream of troubled patients.
While the duties of a medical assistant oblige you to take on significant responsibility, the position is far less stressful than some of the medical field’s other professions.
14. Constant Day-To-Day Variety
Medical assistants are obliged to attend to so many different duties that boring days are few and far between. MAs have the training and experience to help with a huge range of tasks, and they’re expected to contribute wherever they’re needed.
A single day could see you managing the front desk, taking patient information, drawing blood, and entering billing information.
Managing the diverse requirements of the job cultivates a set of valuable soft skills. Being an MA teaches you analytical thinking, professional flexibility, and teamwork.
You will never be bored as an MA and you will always find ways to improve and learn in your position. In a way you will be the backbone of your clinic.
15. Lots Of Specialization Options
Besides the day-to-day flexibility just discussed, being an MA also gives you a lot of specialization choices as you push your career forward.
These opportunities come without pressure; you need not pick a specialization at the start of your career.
Based on the AAMA’s data, we can say with confidence that 63 percent of medical assistants work in the primary care field. Roughly half of all MAs end up working in a single-specialty practice.
16. Jobs Available In Many Different Settings
Wherever doctors are working, medical assistants are there too.
Whether you have very specific requirements for your work environment or you’re interested in a wide variety of settings, an MA’s career can satisfy you. Your options are always open.
Just to get some ideas of the nearly endless possibilities of where you could work, here are 20 awesome places where MAs can work.
17. Flexible and Predictable Scheduling
Many healthcare specialties demand that their professionals work long and unpredictable hours. This isn’t the case with MAs.
Schedules are consistent and steady in most MA positions. Don’t worry about getting called in in the middle of the night or during your child’s dance recital – the MAs career is extremely friendly for parents.
A healthy percentage of MAs work in medical clinics, and these offices follow the regular pattern of business hours. This makes your work schedule more predictable and helps with your work/life balance.
On the other hand, if you like a career that lets you pick up odd shifts (like nights, weekends, or holidays), working as a medical assistant at a hospital might suit you better.
You can even find part-time work as an MA if that’s what fits your current schedule or travel positions if you’re interested.
18. Transferable Skills
The medical assistant’s skill-set is welcomed at hospitals and clinics from one end of the country to the other. Want to make a fresh start after a move? Following the career of a spouse? Changing locations won’t put a roadblock in your career path as an MA.
CMA accreditation, as discussed above, is a completely portable credential. It’s recognized across the United States. You’ll never have to worry about requirements changing from state to state.
General Reasons to Become an MA
19. Valuable Credentials Available
Most people who enter the medical assistant field make the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam their ultimate goal in order to become certified nationwide. If not the CMA exam then they shoot for the RMA exam for Registered Medical Assistants. (See comparison of RMA & CMA)
To pass either test, you’ll need to demonstrate a thorough and broad command of healthcare standards and practices. While it’s not an easy test to pass, it does test your mastery of information and skills that will be useful over and over again in your career.
The CMA exam is accredited by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), and passing it earns you the CMA credential. While there are some positions out there that can be secured without certification, becoming a CMA definitely makes you more attractive in the job market.
The CMA credential is a respected and valuable demonstration of professional expertise as is the RMA, or registered medical assistant, offered by AMT (American Medical Technologists).
Additionally, there are other certification programs such as the NHA, however, the CMA and RMA are the most widely recognized by employers.
20. Constant Exposure To Cutting-Edge Technology
Technology has become a huge driver for change in the healthcare industry.
It’s not just new treatments and tools that change the healthcare landscape; even the way medical professionals share and use data is in flux.
Good healthcare practices require a thorough understanding of the latest and greatest technologies.
Working as a medical assistant gives you invaluable first-hand experience with new technologies. You’ll be right there working with the latest innovations and learning exactly how technology is revolutionizing healthcare.
Your tech skills can grow both administratively with coding and billing for example and also clinically with new tech for procedures.
Having technology skills not only increases your earning potential but it increases your job security as the medical profession becomes more and more technologically advanced.
21. Work With People
Medical assistants regularly deal with patients, which is great for those who love working with the public.
Those who have nurturing personalities will find great opportunities to provide care and comfort to those who are ill, injured, or even just going in for a routine check-up.
Each day you will find yourself working with a wide range of diverse people, even more so depending on the setting you end up in. Just think about it, everyone needs healthcare young, old, healthy, sick, etc.
22. The MA’s Work Is Fulfilling
If you’re a people person and you’re passionate about helping others, few careers offer you greater potential for fulfillment than being an MA.
You’ll have constant chances to work face-to-face with both patients and physicians, and the work you do can be downright inspiring.
Want to show your children that helping people is important? There’s no better way to do that than taking up a career that makes it central.
Being an MA calls for dedication and heart, and if the work suits you, it’s a career in which you can take real pride.
Working in healthcare is rated as one of the most rewarding careers year after year and for good reason.
23. Share Your Expertise Through Teaching
Medical assistants aren’t just in demand in themselves. The healthcare industry is also desperate for experienced professionals who can train others.
If teaching is a field that appeals to you, going into training in a full-time capacity may be a good end goal for your MA career.
The 2017 AAMA member survey indicated that the average annual salary for an MA educator is well over $50,000. The most highly experienced individuals can earn more than $75,000.
“On average, full-time medical assisting educators reported earning an annual gross salary of $55,989, with more than 30 percent reporting that they earn at least $65,000 annually, and 17 percent reporting more than $75,000 in annual earnings.”
Most full-time educational positions come with lots of attractive benefits. Examples include extensive medical insurance, dental insurance, prescription discounts, and more.
Transitioning from medical assisting to teaching can be a great option to have later on down the road.
24. Solid Benefits & Great Insurance Coverage
The AAMA’s annual member survey in 2017 found that the overwhelming majority of MAs enjoy benefits, paid vacation and medical insurance coverage through their employers.
With 4,895 assistants responding, the survey shows the following:
- 95% of all full-time medical assistants receive some form of benefits package from their employer
- 84% of full-time medical assistants receive paid vacation
- 79% receive dental coverage
- 74% receive major medical coverage
- 71% receive vision coverage
- 61% receive disability coverage
25. Improve Healthcare & Patient Outcomes
If you have a heart for the sick then being an MA is possibly the best career for you to improve the healthcare system and help patients get better treatment.
Medical assistants have different duties depending on exactly what type of assistant they are. For example, administrative medical assistants update patients’ medical records, handle insurance forms, and arrange hospital visits and laboratory tests.
Clinical medical assistants record vital signs, explain treatment procedures to patients, prepare patients for treatment and examination, and help physicians during examinations.
Specialized assistants, such as podiatry assistants, help health care professionals with routine examinations and screenings, such as administering medications and developing x rays.
As you can see, medical assistants may be responsible for many varying and important duties, they all ultimately work towards making health care facilities run smoother which in turn improves the outcomes of its patients.
What Are You Waiting For?
Well, folks, there you have it, 25 amazing reasons to become an MA.
No need to keep asking, “why become a medical assistant?” or “should I become a medical assistant?”.
If you have been looking to join a new and exciting field, then I think you will want to consider becoming a medical assistant.
The profession is filled with challenges and great rewards that are sure to enrich your life, competitive salaries, and very secure jobs with much room for growth and advancement.
So, what are you waiting for?!
Get started becoming a medical assistant right now, you can use our guide to become a MA.
And for those of you who are already MAs, drop a comment down below and tell us your favorite thing about being a medical assistant 🙂