✔️ Page Updated: June 23rd, 2023
9 months – 2 years
720 Training Hours
160 Internship Hours
Many MA Programs
Research and compare medical assistant programs nearby, understand medical assistant training requirements, learn about the best medical assistant schools and begin your education by connecting with MA programs.
Medical Assistant Classes Near Me
If you are searching for ‘medical assistant classes near me’ then use the links below to find a list of medical assistant programs near you. Click on your state for a list of schools offering medical assistant classes nearby in your region with additional information such as contact information for the program directors.
There are hundreds of accredited medical assistant programs offered throughout the United States locally and online that meet minimum program requirements. Use the map below, or the list of states below the map, to find medical assisting schools in your area.
District of Columbia
Medical Assisting Program Choices & Career Paths
Medical assistants are indispensable. They help nurses, doctors, and other support professionals in any medical office. They take vital signs, help patients feel comfortable, document patient history, and explain the doctor’s instructions in an effort to ensure the office runs smoothly and patients get the best care possible. There are two main paths to becoming a medical assistant. One way is obtaining a certificate or diploma, while the other option is an associate degree in medical assisting. An Associate of Applied Science Medical Assisting (AAS) is a two-year degree program that prepares graduates for a successful career as a medical assistant. Vocational/trade schools, community colleges, junior colleges, universities, and online colleges all offer training that may lead to a Medical Assisting Technical Certificate.
Most employers prefer candidates who have demonstrated successful completion of some form of higher education, such as a medical assistant program. However, there are many different paths that students can take to become medical assistants, including high school grads or self-taught learners.
Formal education is preferred by most employers, but not all. Some offer on-the-job training for medical assistants with a high school diploma or equivalent to prepare you for the tasks of a medical assistant. Nurses, doctors, experienced assistants, and allied healthcare staff are all important for the supervision and training of medical assistants.
Medical Assistant Certificate/Diploma
Most vocational or technical schools and some online colleges offer programs to train people to become medical assistants with a certificate or diploma. These programs usually take a year to complete and include hands-on work as well as classroom experience. Medical assistant training in these programs includes coursework on the basics of medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, recordkeeping, and administration.
Medical Assistant Associate Degree
At most community colleges, a 2-year degree in medical assisting is offered. Classes for this associate degree program cover much of the same material as certificate programs do but also go into more detail. More than just required courses, students in this program take general education courses in English, math, and the humanities. It can help them enter the field after graduation or be a stepping stone for their bachelor’s degree in related disciplines.
Medical Assistant Training Requirements
The minimum requirement to become a Medical Assistant is a high school diploma but it also depends on one of the many specialty allied health jobs you may ultimately decide on such as a Phlebotomist or Molecular Diagnostic Assistant. Regardless, to be competitive in the job market, you typically need a certificate or degree from a community college, vocational school, or technical school, and most programs take about 1-2 years to complete.
Now, let’s discuss certified or registered medical assistant training requirements. All individual states and territories may have particular requirements for becoming a certified medical assistant in that particular state but most of them are very similar.
The AMT or American Medical Technologist is a non-profit organization that provides the medical assistant training requirements to become a registered medical assistant after you complete your medical assistant program. Meanwhile, the AAMA is the organization offering requirements to become a certified medical assistant.
Let’s go over the medical assistant training requirements to become registered by the AMT.
AMT requirements: To become eligible for the AMT exam needed to become a certified medical assistant, candidates must complete one of the following:
- An accredited medical assistant training program consisting of 720 training hours and 160 internship hours also called a clinical externship
- A military medical services training program
- Five years of qualifying work experience in the past seven years
- Five years of medical assistant instructor experience
Alternatively, you can choose to become certified by the AAMA. You can view the table below to compare the processes of becoming registered by the AMT or certified by the AAMA.
|Meet 1 of the eligibility requirements. (CMA requires graduating a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited program, RMA also offers eligibility from military education, work experience and instructing.)
|View Eligibility Details
|View Eligibility Details
|Submit required supporting documentation for exam application process.
|Apply for exam and pay application fee.
|Schedule your exam date.
|Complete your exam. (Upon completion, the CMA exam will show whether you pass/failed immediately and RMA exams taken online will provide your actual score immediately.)
|Wait 8-10 weeks (CMA candidates will receive official test scores at this time and RMA candidates will receive their certification.)
|Passing CMA applicants then wait another 10 weeks after receiving scores to receive their certification and card.
|You have the ability to retest if you fail for both the CMA and RMA
|Continuing Education, membership fees, and recertification are required for both the CMA and RMA
Medical Assistant Training Steps
Medical assistant training can be broken down into the following 6 steps.
Step One – Obtain your high school diploma or GED
You are required to have this part of your education completed before you can move forward with the other steps. Having an interest in science and anatomy classes in high school is a good indication that you may be a good fit to become a Medical Assistant. Also, working a summer internship or job in a health or science-focused role would help you tremendously as you proceed in your education and career as a Medical Assistant.
Step Two – Enroll at Accredited Program
Find an accredited medical assistant school and enroll. Make sure the school is accredited by one of the following accrediting agencies because, without accreditation, you will not be eligible to take the Medical professional certification exam. For a school to receive accreditation, certain courses must be offered with qualified professors and a minimum number of hours must be taken. The accrediting agencies your school should subscribe to:
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
Many schools such as community colleges or technical schools offer certification or associates degrees. Getting a certification is the quickest route and typically can be completed in about 1 year and an associate degree in about 2 years. The benefit of an associate degree is you can apply your credits to a four-year university if want to specialize in more complex job roles such as doctor or dentist. A certificate is useful to employers who are looking to fill entry-level positions and know a potential employee has a general knowledge of the job.
Step Three – Complete clinical practicum training
Once you completed your classroom training, accredited schools require students to complete on-the-job training to graduate. Medical Assistants are responsible for more than administrative tasks and scheduling appointments and that is what the clinical training is for. During this training, the student will work with medical professionals and get hands-on experience assisting patients by performing clinical duties. The theory learned in an educational setting can now be applied to real-life scenarios allowing students to practice their clinical skills by completing clinical tasks in a real-world setting. As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to learn a variety of clinical procedures, like electrocardiography (EKG), venipuncture, and specimen collection.
It’s a great way to gain experience in the medical field and help prepare you for a successful career. During this experience, students will also learn administrative skills and develop communication skills. Students should work with schools for assistance setting up work with local clinical sites. Working in some type of medical practice such as a physician office is great experience working during clinical hours, practicing medical coding, taking patient medical history, assisting with wound care and learning how to work on a health care team with other healthcare professionals. It will be a great opportunity to perform repetitive tasks that test your medical knowledge and manual dexterity.
Step Four – Get Certified
To be competitive in the job market, certification is a must. Technically it is not a state requirement, but most employers prefer a certification. There are several certification exams to choose from and depending on your career choice, you would choose the exam that your profession requires. The test covers the topics you learned in school and this could be considered your “final exam”.
Some of the certified exams are:
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
- Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
Once you have completed your certification, there are many associations memberships that may be useful to maintain your certifications with continuing education. You can even sign up for the certified exams through these associations.
Step Five – Apply for Medical Assistant Job
Once you are licensed, you are eligible to begin working in a rewarding career in a variety of healthcare fields. Now it is time to apply for Medical Assistant jobs. Searching for a job online is a good start, but you should also consider contacting hospitals, physical therapy clinics, and elderly care facilities for open positions.
Step Six – Maintain your license by continuing your education
Continuing education credits are required to maintain your state certification. Your employer can help you find local classes and physical therapy conferences that will offer these credits.
Medical Assistant Programs: Education and Degrees
Most community colleges and trade schools offer a degree program certified by CAAHEP and ABHES that may require a few prerequisite courses.
A typical school certification program for an RMA is about a 6-12 month time commitment or about 20-40 hours a week.
Tuition costs will vary at different schools depending on factors such as living in-state or out of state, public or private school and how long it takes you to finish. One sample state community college estimated tuition to be $7,643. As you can see below, program completion of the following sample curriculum will leave you prepared to begin your career as a medical assistant.
A sample certification curriculum for a Medical Assistant Admin certified by RMA
- Essentials of Medical Terminology
- Anatomy & Physiology
- Human Disease / Pathophysiology
- Legal & Ethical
- Administrative Procedures
- Procedures in a Clinical Setting
- Administration of Medications
- Introduction of Lab Science
- Practicum: Medical Assistant (clinical experience work in physicians’ offices)
A sample curriculum for a General Studies in Pre-Health Sciences to get an Associates Degree
If you are undecided on a specific career as a Medical Assistant and may want to take on increasing responsibilities in your career, consider getting your Associates Degree. Most community colleges have various degrees of opportunities in the Allied Health field such as Vocational Nursing, Sonography, Dental Hygiene, and many others. It will take about 60 – 64.
A typical course schedule for an Associate Degree:
- Anatomy & Physiology
- English Composition I
- Life and Physical Sciences I
- Anatomy and Physiology II
- English Composition II
- American History
- US Government
- Microbiology for Health Sciences
- Life and Physical Sciences II
- Core Elective
- Creative Arts
- Intro to Psychology
- Life and Physical Sciences III
In addition to the courses in the curriculum students will need to complete their clinical practice requirements. The are a variety of medical settings and healthcare facilities where you can get your clinical practice. During your clinical practice, you will work on a healthcare team with patients for examination, provide patient care, run basic laboratory tests, perform administrative duties, collect laboratory specimens, complete outpatient insurance forms, and get more hands-on training.
Best Medical Assistant Programs
There are a number of websites that rank the best medical assistant programs and schools by a number of factors such as affordability, online courses, number of campuses, graduation rate and more.
So, when searching for the best medical assistant programs you need to decide which criteria are the most important for you.
When our team reviewed rankings of the best medical assistant schools we found the following programs and schools showed up the most frequently.
- Keiser University
- Globe University
- Kaplan College
- Pima Medical Institute
- Bryant & Stratton College
- Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
The reasons that these schools showed up on the top medical assistant schools lists so often is due mostly to the following factors.
- Number of locations
- Graduation rate
- Program offering(s)
Once you determine which criteria are the most important for you, then you will be able to decide which is the best medical assistant program for you by comparing schools on those specific criteria.
Choosing a medical assisting program requires some serious thought. There are a few things to consider that will help you choose a program that meets your needs. It can be helpful to create “T charts” when comparing the following criteria between medical assisting programs.
The most important things to consider when comparing college programs are the quality of the faculty, the size of the student population and campus, the location of your classes, and the cost of tuition as well as any available financial aid. You may also want to consider student pass rates and the ability of the career services department to place you in a clinical externship. These are all things you can ask a representative of the school admissions team before applying, you may also want to ask about any prerequisite courses or other admission requirements and discuss your educational goals to being academic planning.
Accreditation for the Best Medical Assistant Programs
It is important to attend an accredited school if you want the medical assistant degree or certificate program to be worth the most value. Schools can be regionally or nationally accredited. Regionally accredited institutions are considered of the highest quality, but those meeting lower standards can still obtain national accreditation.
Accreditation is a very important thing. It will make sure you qualify for federal financial aid for eligible students, transfer your credits across institutions easily, and enter advanced degree programs and postgraduate certification opportunities. Accreditation will also make sure you have good job and education opportunities. Accredited medical assistant programs can provide you with a certificate of completion to assure the quality of your education standards.
Industry accreditation can affect the value of certifications, so it’s important to consider which ones are right for your career. CAAHEP has set the industry standards for medical assistant programs.
Earning a credential from a CAAHEP-accredited medical assisting program can open doors to greater career opportunities. When comparing the best medical assistant programs, take not of the ones that are CAAHEP accredited.
How Much Does Medical Assistant School Cost?
Depending on whether you go for a certificate, diploma or associate degree will determine how much medical assistant school costs you.
- A 1-year medical assistant program resulting in a diploma or certificate would cost roughly: $1,200 – $4,200.
- A 2-year associate degree program from a local college would cost somewhere between $1,200 and $10,800 for in-state residents and double that for out-of-state residents.
- There is also a 6-week accelerator course to become a medical assistant that costs around $1,500.
It should be noted that credentials such as the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) offered by the AAMA will not only help your chances for employment but be required in some states. The CMA credential requires that students graduate from a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited program.
Additionally, the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) is a professional organization that offers certification for medical assistants and provides ongoing education and support to further the profession.
It may also be noted that the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB) is another organization that establishes standards for the education of medical assistants and accredits programs to ensure quality education.
How Long is Medical Assistant School?
Medical assisting program completion varies. You can choose between attending a certificate/diploma medical assistant program that usually takes about 9 to 12 months or a 2-year associate degree program.
Medical assisting programs are offered at many different types of schools such as vocational and trade schools, community and junior colleges, technical schools, and universities.
Most often the 2-year associate’s degree programs are offered by community colleges.
It should also be noted that there are 6-week accelerator programs where you can become a medical assistant in 6 weeks.
Is Medical Assistant School Hard?
How hard is medical assistant school? Each of us has our own approach to studying and learning. Studying and learning in a Medical Assistant School will be different for everyone and some will find the path to graduation harder than others.
Depending on your strengths in academics, a medical assistant program could be easier for you if you are strong in sciences and hands-on learning compared to someone who struggles in sciences.
Program completion from a medical assistant school is very rewarding as long as you can stay focused and put in the required time and effort.
Program graduates report a high graduate satisfaction rate and US News ranks the career of medical assisting as:
- #8 in Best Jobs Without A College Degree
- #11 in Best Health Care Support Jobs
- #77 in 100 Best Jobs.
Job placement rates are also high for program graduates while unemployment remains low for this profession. From admission to degree a medical assisting degree is a Career-Ready Degree.
So you can be assured that you and your graduate cohorts will be happy medical assisting graduates and competent entry-level medical assistants in the healthcare industry of your choice. Allied health professionals are in high demand across many industries.