On this page we will explain how to become a certified Medical Assistant and an MA without certification. You can jump straight down to learn more about becoming a certified medical assistant and you may also want to learn about the requirements to become a RMA or CMA (Registered Medical Assistant or a Certified Medical Assistant). Page Updated: 01/18/2023
How to Become a Medical Assistant Without Certification
Requirement: High school diploma or GED
Pro: Bypassing education and starting work right away
Pro: Receive on the job training and get paid to learn
Con: Finding a job is much more difficult without certification
Con: You will be paid less in most cases
If you’d like to become a medical assistant, then there are two routes you can take to get started with your career: on the job training or a medical assistant certification.
It is good for some to know that you don’t necessarily need to have a certification to work as a medical assistant. For some people, without time or financial resources for a college education, getting to work as a medical assistant without certification is the only option.
Before working as a medical assistant, you will need to obtain a diploma from high school. If you haven’t finished high school, you’ll need to at least obtain your GED. Then you will need to find employment where you can receive on the job training. However, it may be a bit more of a challenge for you to find the ideal job if you aren’t certified to work as a medical assistant.
Most medical assistants who don’t have their certification are paid a lower salary than those who are certified. If you’re trying to land a job without your certification, you’ll need to have a good personality as well as good listening skills so that you perform well in your job interview since you won’t have any prior experience on your resume.
How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant
Requirement: Completing a CAAHEP Accredited Program, Passing the National CMA Exam
Pro: Education is short, only a 2 year associates degree
Pro: Finding a job is much easier with certification
Pro: You will earn a higher salary and have specialization opportunities
Con: You must make an investment in your education, and the exam fee is $150
If you want a competitive advantage in the job market, more specialized job opportunities, higher pay, and higher job security then you should get certified by the American Association for Medical Assistants. The program is designed to help those who’d like to become medical assistants get their RMA or CMA certification and land better jobs that pay higher.
To learn the exact requirements and fees for getting your CMA or RMA go here. You may also want to see what your state laws and employers require of working medical assistants on this page.
Getting Your Medical Assistant Certification
You’d need to get your associates degree and pass the national exam to become a certified medical assistant. The program can be completed in as little as two years. Go here to find accredited medical assistant programs in your area.
If you complete your education, pass the exam, and get your certification, you will be more competitive in the job market and likely get a better and higher paying job versus medical assistants without the certification.
In addition to higher pay, and you will have more specialized job opportunities to find the exact job you want. There are over 20 different places certified medical assistants can work.
Of course, your education is an investment, and you’ll need to pay for classes to get your associates degree and the fee for the exam. However, it’s often worth it.
To reduce your costs, you could find affordable options by enrolling with a college in your community instead of trying to enroll in a costly university. Or consider online classes to save time and money on commuting and attending classes.
Although you must initially invest in your education, the higher earnings during your career often make up for your investment.
Tools to Help You Become a Certified Medical Assistant
Find CAAHEP Accredited Medical Assisting Programs in Your Area
Find a CAAHEP Accredited Medical Assistant School and complete your associates degree in Medical Assisting.
Get Your Medical Assistant Certification in Your State
Determine if your state requires you to become a CMA, or an RMA, and then complete the certification process. You can see each state’s Medical Assistant requirements here. Included are all of the links, forms, and contact info you need to get your certification.
Learn Reasons Why to Become a Medical Assistant
With help from the Medical Assistants in our Facebook Community and here on the website we have created some resources sharing stories and lists of reasons why becoming a Medical Assistant can be a great career choice.
Learn who is and isn’t a good fit for healthcare and you will know whether or not Medical Assisting is right for you.
How long does it take to become a medical assistant?
The amount of time it takes to become a medical assistant depends on the individual and their chosen training program. Generally, most medical assistant programs can be completed in one year or less. Some programs may take longer if they include additional courses such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, or pharmacology. Additionally, some states require that medical assistants complete an externship or on-the-job training before they can become certified. In these cases, the total time to become a medical assistant could be up to two years.
Medical assisting is a rewarding career that is worth the length of time it takes to begin working in the medical field. It is worth noting that there are some certificate programs that can be completed in a matter of months. They won’t include hands-on training but can still help you take your certification exam. An accredited medical assistant school may take up to two years to complete all courses and clinical experiences through an externship, while some technical schools offer shorter medical assistant training programs. Certification requirements vary by state and professional certification organization.
What education is required to be a medical assistant?
To become a medical assistant, individuals typically need to complete a postsecondary education program. These programs are usually offered at community colleges, vocational schools, and universities. Most medical assistant programs include courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, clinical procedures, and administrative duties. Additionally, some states may require that medical assistants complete an externship or on-the-job training before they can become certified. Depending on the individual’s chosen program and state requirements, it can take up to two years to become a certified medical assistant.
How hard is the medical assistant exam or the CMA Exam?
The medical assistant exam or the CMA Exam is a challenging test that requires a comprehensive understanding of the educational requirements and medical assisting program. The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions that cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, clinical procedures, and administrative duties. Potential employers may use the results of this exam to determine if an individual has the necessary skills to become a certified medical assistant. Common questions on the exam include identifying common diseases, performing basic laboratory tests, and understanding how to properly document patient information. While it can be difficult to pass the CMA Exam, those who have completed an accredited medical assisting program should have no problem passing with flying colors.
How can I become a medical assistant fast?
If you are looking to become a medical assistant quickly, the best way is to find an accredited program that offers accelerated courses. These programs typically offer classes online or in-person and can be completed in as little as six months. Additionally, some states may require that medical assistants complete an externship or on-the-job training before they can become certified. If this is the case, it is important to factor this into your timeline when considering how fast you can become a medical assistant. Finally, it is important to make sure that the program you choose is accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
What can a medical assistant do?
A medical assistant is a healthcare professional who performs both administrative and clinical duties in a variety of healthcare settings. Medical assistants can perform tasks such as taking patient histories, recording vital signs, preparing patients for examinations, administering medications, collecting and processing lab specimens, performing basic laboratory tests, scheduling appointments and providing patient education. Additionally, medical assistants may be responsible for filing insurance forms and coding patient information for billing purposes. With the proper training and certification, medical assistants can also assist physicians with minor surgical procedures.
A medical assistant is a healthcare professional who performs both administrative and clinical tasks in a wide range of medical settings. Medical assistants are responsible for taking patient histories, recording vital signs, preparing patients for examinations, administering medications, collecting and processing laboratory specimens, performing basic laboratory tests, scheduling appointments, and providing patient education. Additionally, they may be responsible for filing insurance forms and coding patient information for billing purposes. They also have the ability to assist physicians with minor surgical procedures with the proper training and certification. In addition to these duties, medical assistants may also be responsible for maintaining medical records using paper or electronic health records systems. With their wide range of responsibilities, medical assistants play an important role in providing quality medical care to patients.
Is medical assistant harder than nursing?
The difficulty of becoming a medical assistant or a nurse depends on the individual and their chosen training program. Generally, both medical assistant and nursing programs require postsecondary education and can take up to two years to complete. Both professions also require an understanding of anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, clinical procedures, and administrative duties. However, nurses must have a more in-depth knowledge of these topics as they are responsible for providing direct patient care. Additionally, nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam in order to become licensed while medical assistants do not need to be licensed in most states. Ultimately, it is difficult to say which profession is harder as it depends on the individual’s level of dedication and commitment to learning the material.
Why become a medical assistant?
Becoming a medical assistant is a great career choice for those who are looking to make a difference in the lives of others. Medical assistants provide vital support to healthcare professionals and help ensure that patients receive the best care possible. Additionally, medical assistants have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, from hospitals and clinics to private practices and research facilities. With the right training and certification, medical assistants can also enjoy job security, competitive salaries, and excellent benefits. Finally, medical assistants can take pride in knowing that they are helping to improve people’s lives every day.
Medical assistants can work in a variety of medical facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, ambulatory care facilities, and private practices. In these settings, they are responsible for providing preventative care and assisting healthcare teams with patient care. Medical assistants may also be responsible for hospital admissions and laboratory testing. Additionally, they may assist licensed physicians with minor surgeries and administrative tasks in healthcare environments. With the right training and certification, medical assistants can enjoy a rewarding career in healthcare that offers job security, competitive salaries, and excellent benefits.
What prior education do you need to enroll in a medical assistant program?
In order to enroll in a medical assistant program, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Depending on the program, you may also need to have completed certain prerequisite courses such as biology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, and computer skills. Additionally, some programs may require that applicants have prior healthcare experience or certification in CPR or first aid. It is important to research the specific requirements of each program before applying in order to ensure that you meet all of the necessary qualifications.
How long do you have to go to school to be a medical assistant?
The amount of time it takes to become a medical assistant depends on the type of program you choose. Most medical assistant programs can be completed in one to two years, although some may take longer depending on the curriculum and requirements. Generally, these programs include courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, clinical procedures, and administrative duties. Additionally, many programs require students to complete an externship or internship in order to gain hands-on experience before graduating. Ultimately, the length of time it takes to become a medical assistant will depend on the individual’s dedication and commitment to learning the material.
What courses do you take to become a medical assistant?
To become a medical assistant, you will need to take courses in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, pharmacology, clinical procedures, and administrative duties. These courses provide the foundational knowledge necessary for medical assistants to understand how the body works and how to properly care for patients. Additionally, many programs also require students to complete an externship or internship in order to gain hands-on experience before graduating. This allows students to apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting and develop the skills needed to be successful as a medical assistant.
What are the job responsibilities of a medical assistant?
There are a wide variety of job responsibilities for medical assistants. They are responsible for administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments, maintaining patient records, and handling insurance paperwork. Medical assistants also provide direct patient care by taking medical histories, drawing blood samples, and administering medications. Additionally, they may be responsible for operating medical devices such as X-ray machines or EKG machines. Finally, medical assistants must possess strong interpersonal skills in order to effectively communicate with patients and other healthcare professionals. Technical skills are also important in order to properly operate medical equipment and accurately record patient information. Medical assistants work in many types of health care facilities, clinical settings, and healthcare fields.
Questions About Becoming a Medical Assistant?
If you still have questions about how to become a medical assistant, or a specific part of the process of becoming a certified medical assistant, then ask our community in the comments below 🙂
Hi everyone 🙂
Chris here, I’m happy to answer any questions you all have about becoming a medical assistant.
I just complete my CNA and got certificate from Minnesota Department of Health in Nursing Assistance.my question is can I take admission in school for CMA?
Hi Mitu, thanks for your comment.
Yes, you could be admitted to MA school to become a CMA in addition to your CNA certification.
Let me know if you have any other questions.