If you’re looking for a stable job in the health care industry with considerable opportunity growth that doesn’t require much education – then consider becoming a medical assistant. The responsibilities and work environment of medical assistant vary based on a position, but in general these professionals find jobs in health care offices such as podiatrists, chiropractors, and more. Job duties for medical assistant include administrative work, clinical testing, and helping doctors and nurses with other tasks based on their needs.
Becoming a medical assistant is ideal for a person who doesn’t have the time to go back to school for many years. In fact, some people find jobs as a medical assistant straight out of high school and are trained on the job. However, one of the better ways to get noticed in the job market is by achieving a medical assistant certification. This will give you a great basis of knowledge and experience as well as a great line for your resume. However, there are many different certification programs out there and it’s important you find the most reputable course at a fair price. Here’s how to determine if a medical certification program is worth the cost of tuition.
- Consider the school: Online medical assistant certification programs are offered by private institutions, vocational schools, community colleges, and more. In general, having a certificate linked to a well-known school in the region, even if you never had to step on campus for a class, is your best bet compared to attending a private online only school no one has heard of.
- Consider the courses: You want to graduate from your certification course confident in your skills and knowledge. Things you will learn about are anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, lab techniques, diagnostic procedures, patient relations, medical law, and much more. You may even have the opportunity to specialize by choosing your own electives to better prepare you for working in a particular field you’re most interested in.
- Compare tuition to certification achieved: Costs for certification courses will vary. The key to finding a good value is getting the most education and highest certification for a good price. Compare tuition prices between different online programs and traditional certification courses to find the best price.
- Exam preparation: After you’ve graduated from your course, you can go on to take the Certified Medical Assistant exam. If you pass this test, you’ll receive credentials from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AMAA) which can help you land jobs, meet people in the industry, and participate in continuing education programs. Some certification courses will better prepare you for taking this exam which can reduce the amount of time studying if you have to do.
Medical assistant salaries start around $28,860/year, however with time and experience you can earn more. One of the most appealing parts about becoming a medical assistant is the growing number of job openings in cities and towns around the country. If you’re ready to get into this field, start by finding a medical assistant certification program with the best value.
Best Medical Assistant Certification Programs & Schools by Value:
Anamarc College offers a Medical Assistant program that prepares students for advanced administrative positions as medical assistants in physician’s offices. Requiring 46.5 credits for graduation, students receive training in such medical procedures as taking vital signs, administering CPR and First Aid, nutrition and meal planning, phlebotomy and giving injections and EKG’s. Madison Area Technical College offers students a one-year diploma program as a Medical Assistant. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, it provides students with basic knowledge of dealing with patients such as taking vital signs and administering injections. Practical experience is given through placement at a local medical office during the last four weeks of the final semester, with students eligible to sit for the national certification exam upon graduation. Neosho County Community College offers students a Medical Assistant program that can be completed in less than one year. Students who complete the program are eligible to sit for the exam that qualifies them as Registered Medical Assistants, which is accepted in all 50 states. To give students practical experience, the program includes 160 clinical hours in a medical facility to prepare students for the workforce. Ellsworth Community College offers a Medical Assistant diploma program that can be completed in one year. The school has been rated by CNNMoney.com as having one of the top 20 highest student success rates in the United States, and for having students who graduate with very little student debt. The medical assistant program in the past year has had a 100% graduation rate, with students gaining employment in a variety of medical settings. Valley Grande Institute for Academic Studies offers a great medical assistant program for students that can be completed in just over nine months. Students learn both administrative and medical skills including answering phones, processing paperwork, taking vital signs, administering medications and much more. Many students who have graduated from this program have gone on to become doctors or nurses, a testimony to the training they received at Valley Grande. Lincoln College of New England offers a medical assistant certificate program that’s one of the best in Connecticut. Able to be finished in less than one year, the program prepares students for exciting positions in medical offices and facilities. Students learn administrative tasks such as answering phones and processing billing paperwork as well as medical tasks like taking vital signs and phlebotomy. Northwest Kansas Technical College offers students an Associate of Applied Science degree in Medical Assisting that can be completed in only 10 months, with graduates obtaining jobs with average salaries approaching $29,000 per year. Accredited by the CAAHEP, students learn how to schedule appointments and receive patients, take vital signs, administer EKG’s and other diagnostic tests and much more. University of Alaska offers students an Associate in Applied Science degree in Medical Assisting. Students completing the program are eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant exam, which if obtained can greatly increase one’s chances of obtaining better employment. Students are trained on how to handle patients upon arrival, obtaining medical and insurance information as well as taking vital signs and assisting them with diagnostic tests. Imperial Valley College offers students a program in medical assisting that can be completed in 30 months. The average cost of the program is near $4,000 including books, fees, uniforms and other expenses. Students take a combination of classroom and clinical experiences, giving them a realistic look at a day in the life of a medical assistant. Chattanooga State Community College offers students many fine programs in allied health including dental assisting, nursing and emergency medical technology. However, it does not currently provide any type of training program for people wishing to become medical assistants. Ventura College offers students a unique multi-skilled program in medical assisting. Able to be completed in only 18 weeks during fall and spring semesters or 9 weeks in the summer, it gives students classroom and practical experience in front desk, lab and back office procedures. Students learn how to take medical histories, perform receptionist duties, administer medications and injections and take a patient’s vital signs and EKG. Mountainland Applied Technology College prepares today’s students for tomorrow’s careers. Offering a certificate in medical assisting, the school prepares students for the many demanding tasks that are expected of today’s medical assistants. Both front desk and back office procedures are learned, as are how to perform certain diagnostic tests such as EKG’s and drug tests. Upon completion of the program, students can sit for the Certified Medical Assistant exam. Norwalk Community College offers students a medical assistant certificate program that provides 180 hours of clinical instruction in medical facilities. In addition, it offers a number of financial aid opportunities to students who need help covering tuition and other expenses such as uniforms, equipment and physical exams. Upon graduating, students can take the Certified Medical Assistant exam and begin work on an Associate’s degree in Medical Office Management. Iowa Western Community College offers students a one-year diploma in medical assisting. With an average class size of 18 students, the program prides itself on individual attention within classrooms. In addition to teaching students skills for the front office as well as medical procedures such as taking vital signs and phlebotomy, the program lets students finish their studies by completing a clinical experience in a local medical office. Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute offers students a one-year diploma program in ophthalmic medical assisting. Students in this specialty not only learn front desk procedures such as scheduling appointments, coding and billing but also specialized tasks such as taking vital signs and medical histories. In addition, students in this program learn how to perform diagnostic tests and verifying eyeglass subscriptions. Montana State University is recognized as one of the top research universities in the western United States, offering its students an array of degrees and programs. However, the school does not currently offer any programs in medical assisting to its students. Kalamazoo Valley Community College offers students a one-year certificate program in medical assisting technology. Accredited by CAAHEP, it teaches students a variety of front office procedures including coding, billing, appointment scheduling and taking medical histories. They also learn how to perform phlebotomy, diagnostic tests including EKG’s and drug tests and administering injections. Upon graduating, students can sit for the Certified Medical Assistant national exam, allowing them to practice as such in all 50 states. Nebraska Methodist College of Nursing and Allied Health offers students a one-year certificate program in medical assisting. Learning a variety of skills including vital signs, diagnostic tests and front office duties, student have an opportunity to gain clinical experience by completing internships at local medical offices and facilities. Southwestern Illinois College offers students an Associate’s degree in Medical Assisting as well as a certificate program. The certificate can be gained in 10 months, while the degree takes two years. Students are exposed to a variety of experiences and situations in an array of offices and facilities, letting them perfect their skills in front office duties and patient care. Clinical internships have students performing diagnostic EKG’s and drug tests, drawing blood and taking vital signs. Uintah Basin Applied Technology College offers students a medical assistant diploma program that gives them the skills needed to become excellent members of a health care team in a physician’s office, hospital or other medical facility. Teaching such skills as vital signs, lab testing and records management students are prepared to enter their jobs with the confidence of a seasoned professional. Central Technology Center offers its students excellence in health sciences education while keeping costs low. Offering a full-time medical assistant program, graduates average $11 per hour in their new jobs. With the total cost of the program less than $2,000 the training is seen as a bargain by many students, considering the salaries they receive in their new careers. Los Angeles ORT College offers students a medical assistant diploma program ranging in length from 30-45 weeks, depending upon if taken during the day or evening. Teaching students a variety of skills in administration and medical diagnostics, the program has proven to be very popular with both students and employers. Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College offers an Associate degree in Medical Assisting to students wanting to enter this in-demand field. Fully accredited by the CAAHEP, the program trains students in everything they need to succeed as a Medical Assistant. Blackhawk Technical College offers a one-year program in medical assisting to its students. Teaching a combination of administrative and medical skills, the program lets students learn how to do a variety of tasks in a medical office or facility, making them a valuable member of the health care team. Howard College offers a certificate program in medical assisting to its students. Teaching a variety of administrative, medical and laboratory procedures students are trained in all aspects of a typical day in a doctor’s office. Students who graduate are eligible to sit for the Registered Medical Assistant exam. Raritan Valley Community College offers a medical assistant certificate program for students wanting to enter this high-demand field. Students complete two consecutive semesters of classroom work, followed by a six-week internship in the summer at a local doctor’s office or other facility. The program is fully accredited by CAAHEP, and is well-respected among doctors and hospitals. Platt College offers students an Associate’s degree in Medical Assisting that is viewed by many graduates and employers as one of the best around. Offering students full-time Career Services support as well as generous financial aid packages, the school graduates well-trained medical assistants ready to make a difference with patients and their care. Salt Lake Community College offers a certificate in medical assisting that provides students with many benefits. Requiring only three semesters to complete, the total cost of the program is just over $5,000. Generous financial aid packages are available to those students who qualify.
Trent managed to earn both a B.A. and an advanced degree with a combination of scholarships, grants, loans and a couple of jobs. He brings this experience, and his paid off student loans to you as the voice of Frugal Scholar. Now, he’s heading back to school and saving for/worrying about college for his own kids, Sam and Sarah.