What Are the Qualifications to Become a Medical Assistant
Choosing a lucrative healthcare career that doesn’t require years of training can seem hard. If that’s the path you’re interested in, though, becoming a medical assistant might be right for you. According to government statistics, medical assistant jobs will continue to rise in popularity until at least 2030. That’s exciting! Especially if you want to be involved in a thriving field. To get started, you have to understand the necessary medical assistant qualifications and skills employers require.
Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant
Below are some of the top medical assistant qualifications that most medical assistant jobs will require.
1. Get a high school diploma (or the equivalent).
At the very least, you’ll need to show that you graduated from high school if you want to be a medical assistant. Alternatively, you can always take GED classes if you are an adult who left school before earning your high school degree.
Some employers will hire you as a medical assistant with only this background. However, you won’t be able to perform all the duties that a thoroughly trained certified medical assistant can. To build a career in the field, you’ll want to invest in further education.
2. Attend an accredited medical assistant program.
What’s next on the list of medical assistant qualifications? Get the training you need! Remember that medical assistants can do a variety of duties, from handling paperwork to evaluating bloodwork. That said, you need the confidence that comes from immersing yourself in a well-regarded medical assistant program and the expert guidance that comes with training.
As you’re evaluating different programs, like the medical assistant certification at Lackawanna College, look beyond tuition. You want a program that’s going to help you stand out among other certified medical assistants who are also seeking employment. The best-of-best medical assistant programs will offer you both classroom and hands-on (practicum) learning. That way, you’ll have all the experience and knowledge you need to step into your new role.
3. Pass the examination to become a certified medical assistant.
Did you know that the National Health-Career Association (NHA) holds medical assistant examinations throughout the year? Again, you don’t need to sit for the NHA exam to apply for some medical assistant jobs. But it does strengthen your resume if you can say that you’ve taken and passed the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) held by the NHA.
This only makes sense: If an employer has to decide between two people, they’ll likely lean toward the candidate who has more of the qualifications for medical assistants. Besides, many certified medical assistant programs fold NHA study material and the cost of the NHA certification exam into tuition.
4. Pursue specialized certifications.
Sometimes, medical assistants discover that they have a passion for certain practice areas. These could be anything from chiropractic medicine to ophthalmology. If that happens for you, consider advancing your skillset and education to obtain a specialized certification.
What happens if you can’t find a school to offer specialized certification in your interest area? You may want to take more classes in very narrow subjects. Some schools will allow you to take individual courses to improve your overall understanding of one or more topics. When you speak with an admissions counselor at your preferred school, be sure to ask about this option.
Other Considerations After Becoming a Medical Assistant
You’ve gone through all your education and passed your certification. As a result of your incredible schooling and training, you’ve landed an entry-level dream job. Just don’t stop there!
Below are some ways to keep improving.
- Stay on top of your medical assistant certification. Know when it’s about to expire and renew it before that happens.
- Attend all continuing education classes and workshops offered to you through your employer. The more you learn about emerging trends in the medical assisting field, the stronger you’ll be as a candidate for promotions.
- Stay in touch with your alma mater. You may even want to offer to speak with students who are just getting started.
Is Medical Assisting in Your Future?
It’s a great time to jump into the medical assistant world. To enroll in the medical assistant program at Lackawanna College, click here and apply!