Here are the requirements and qualifications for a medical assistant career.
Learn how to become a certified medical assistant. We’ll uncover the steps you’ll need to take to become an expert in this field.
In addition, we’ll discuss how long it takes to become a CMA, the average annual income, and some possible jobs you can take.
Let’s open our discussion by reviewing who these practitioners are.
How To Become A CMA | Requirements
Are you looking for a healthcare career that offers various work possibilities?
Then, consider becoming a medical assistant. You’ll work in several settings, assisting doctors and nurses in providing clinical care in hospitals, physician’s offices, and clinics.
What education do you need to be a medical assistant? We will be discussing this shortly.
What is A Certified Medical Assistant?
A CMA is a multi-skilled clinical expert who assists other professionals in clinical and administrative settings.
They perform many essential roles, including minor procedures such as drawing blood or finishing front-office tasks. A few of them are putting patient data into a computer, scheduling appointments, and taking medical histories.
Certified medical aid can also prepare patients for examination, provide wound care, collect and prepare lab specimens, handle insurance coding, and manage the office.
These practitioners’ additional duties include preparing appropriate medication dosages, recording patient treatment plans, and taking electrocardiograms.
Medical Assistant Education and Qualifications
Luckily, a few steps exist to become an expert in this field. They include acquiring the necessary education, work experience, training, and certification.
What classes are required for medical assistants?
Allow us to explain these steps in detail for better understanding.
Have the Necessary Academic Training
Before moving into an entry-level or top-paying job in the sector, you must have the requisite education.
A high school diploma or equivalent, such as a GED, is enough to get you started. The courses you’ll offer in science and math will provide you with a solid foundation in the field.
Such knowledge will enhance your candidacy for postsecondary school programs. Plus, it exposes you to the rigors of clinical work.
Complete a Medical Assisting Program
Having gotten your high school certificate, the next step is to finish a medical assistant program.
You can choose between a diploma or an associate degree in medical assisting. These programs are offered at community colleges, universities, or vocational schools.
Diploma courses typically last a year or less, while associate degrees can be earned in about two years. These qualifications can be used as stepping stones to a bachelor’s degree.
Meanwhile, during your studies, you’ll cover topics related to the basics of clinical care, such as anatomy and physiology.
Gain Field Experience
You must have hands-on experience to succeed in this field. You can acquire such competency during or after your studies.
Most MA programs include internships in their study syllabus. The aim is to equip students with real-world experience and allow them to put their theoretical knowledge into practice.
Students can complete their medical office, hospital, or clinic internships. During these rotations, you’ll help clinical personnel collect samples for testing and administer medical tests.
You’ll also manage the front desk, measure vital signs, and perform other admin duties.
Medical Assistant Certification
Having satisfied all academic essentials and gained relevant experience, the next step is to get certified. Most states demand practitioners in this field to have such qualifications.
You’ll still need one if your state doesn’t require such credentials. Employers across the country prioritize candidates with attestations from recognized agencies.
Some medical assistant certifications you can obtain include CCMA, CMAA, CMA, RMA, and NCMA. NHA, AAMA, AMT, and NCCT offer these qualifications.
Certain conditions must be met before laying a hand on either of these documents. These criteria vary depending on the agency you wish to obtain certification from.
However, it will demand you have the necessary academic background, have work experience, and pass the professional exams.
You can contact the agency from which you wish to obtain these credentials for further inquiries.
CMA Certification Exams
Here is how to get CMA certification.
The professional exams for practitioners in this field depend on which attestation you desire to obtain. Most tests consist of 200 multi-choice questions to be answered in under 40 minutes.
Questions are obtained from different areas of the field. So, finding the sites for the certification exams you wish to take would be best.
Furthermore, students must take the exams up to 30 days before graduation. You must also pay for the challenge, which can cost around $125, depending on the attestation you opt for.
Once you pass the exams, your desired credentials will be awarded to you. After a certain period, you’ll be required to update it. While renewing your attestation, you must satisfy some criteria.
These include paying for recertification, around $125 to $250. You’ll also be required to finish some hours of continuing education.
Time Commitment to Become a Certified Medical Assistant
You must know how long it takes to grow into an expert in this field.
Such insight will help you decide which academic program will suit you. Clinical assisting programs can now vary from roughly ten months to two years.
Most diploma courses take three trimesters or one year.
Then, an associate degree in the field consists of five trimesters, equivalent to 20 months. For those who desire an undergrad degree, it will take them around four years to finish.
That said, your actual finishing time depends on your choice of schedule. Full-time courses are generally completed earlier than part-time courses.
Moreover, transferring credits can reduce your time commitment to school.
Average Wages of Certified Medical Assistants
Most graduates in this field desire a job that pays handsomely. For that, you must become familiar with the average earnings of practitioners in this profession.
According to reports, CMAs earn an average of $30,000 to $41,000 annually.
However, this amount is subject to change based on certain factors. These include your geographical location, level of work experience, academic background, and work environment.
You can earn more than the stated amount if you have advanced credentials, experience, and work in top-paying organizations.
Similarly, you must know how much you’ll spend to enter this profession. This will help you make informed decisions concerning your finances.
Most academic courses in this field have a price tag of about $2,000 to $15,000. This price can change based on certain factors—your choice of institution, program, and residential status.
Medical assisting is one of the fastest-growing careers in the country. The field is experiencing rapid job growth and is predicted to increase in a few years.
If you want to take advantage of such chances, consider becoming an expert in this field. All the steps you need to take to become one have been outlined above.