Medical assistants are expected to be very high in demand in the coming years. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a job growth rate of 29% for this occupation, which is significantly higher than the 7% average growth rate for all other occupations. This means an addition of 183,900 new jobs is expected by 2026 to the 634,400 jobs that already existed as of 2016.
Thanks to such a stellar growth rate and relatively easy entry into the field, may aspiring medical professionals want to know the steps to become a medical assistant. If you are one of them, you have come to the right place. The following article provides details on the requirements to become a medical assistant, medical assistant salary and steps to become a medical assistant.

Steps to Become a Medical Assistant

If you are interested in becoming a medical assistant, you will have to fulfill the educational and training requirements. The following steps break down the process for easy understanding.

  1. Get a high school diploma – 3 months to 4 years

This is the minimum level of education required to get into this field.

  1. Enroll in a medical assistant program – 1 year to 2 years

Medical assistant programs are being offered by a variety of community colleges, technical schools and vocational colleges across the US. Most institutes are offering medical assistant training programs in various formats – online, on-campus and hybrid programs. Some community colleges also offer 2-year long programs that can lead to an associate’s degree. A typical medical assistant program would take 1 year to complete.
Medical assistant training programs usually cover topics such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, patient examinations, pharmacology, medical billing and data entry, medical and diagnostic procedures and usage of basic medical equipment.

  1. Get a medical assistant certification – Less than 1 year for AAMA certification

Most states have not made it mandatory for medical assistants to be certified. Nonetheless, you are advised to opt for a certification program since employers tend to prefer candidates with higher educational and training credentials.
Several organizations offer certifications for medical assistants in the US. Some of these are Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential from the American Association of Medical Assistants, the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential from the American Medical Technologists and the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) credential from the National Center for Competency Training. To apply for a certification, applicants will be required to pass an exam after graduation from an accredited program. Candidates are required to be at least 18 years of age before applying, in most cases.

Medical Assistant Salary

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants made an annual median income of $33,610, which is approximately $16.16 per hour. The highest paying employer of medical assistants was outpatient care centers, offering median annual salaries of $35,600. Local, state and private hospitals also paid high salaries to medical assistants, with the annual median income in this industry being $34,980.