If you want a job that offers variety on a day-to-day basis, medical assisting could be the career for you. A range of duties from front office work to helping with patient care will keep you busy during your shift.
But what kind of education is required to become a medical assistant? Here’s everything you need to know.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is no formal education or training requirements to work as a medical assistant. All you need is a high school diploma or GED. However, it is best to enroll in a program in order to advance in this career.
Where are Classes Offered?
Many junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities, as well as vocational schools offer medical assistant programs.
Types of Programs
You have a few options when it comes to your education. But first, you will have to decide how quickly you would like to begin working and if earning a higher salary is important to you.
Certificate – This usually takes one year to complete and gives students the knowledge to work as an entry-level medical assistant.
Associate Degree – Depending on a student’s schedule, an associate degree can be completed in two years. This will allow you to further your education and earn a bachelor’s degree. Both of these options will earn you a larger salary than if you only have a certificate.
No matter which option you choose, you might have to wear scrubs during your classes.
You will take many courses as you inch your way to becoming a medical assistant. They range from general health to office procedures and include:
- Anatomy and Physiology – A lot of studying will be required when you take anatomy and physiology. You will learn about topics such as the muscular, nervous, and skeletal systems.
- Insurance and Coding – This will teach you how to process insurance claims and medical insurance terminology.
- Medical Laws and Ethics – Upon completion, you will have an understanding of basic legal terms, patient/physician relationships, ethical issues, and professional liability.
- Medical Office Management – During this course, you will study general office procedures that are necessary to run a medical practice.
- First Aid – Emergency treatment procedures such as CPR are taught which will allow you to work in an emergency room or know how to properly handle an emergency should one arise in a doctor’s office.
- Health – This will give you an overview of human health and diseases.
- Pharmacology – Learn about the various drugs, their side effects, and interactions.
- Clinical Procedures – A clinical course where you will learn proper clinical protocols.
- Bookkeeping – This will teach you how to properly handle medical office expenses and revenues.
- Medical Information Security – Protecting a patient’s privacy is very important when working in the healthcare field. This course will teach you how to do that when medical information is electronically stored.
Once you have finished all of your courses, you will move on to the final phase of your education. This is known as an externship, and you will gain hands-on experience by working in a clinic, doctor’s office, or other medical facility. You will help an experienced medical assistant or other medical professionals with daily tasks that will earn you a grade upon completion. You must work (without pay) at least 160 hours before you can take your final exam.
To get the best out of your classes, you will need to study hard and make a good impression during your field experience. Now that you now the education requirements, does this sound like the profession for you? If you are still undecided, contact us. We will answer any questions you may have.