How to Become a Medical Assistant


Have you ever dreamed of a career that would allow you to use your skills, knowledge, and compassion to help people? Medical assistants are vital members of healthcare teams. They perform a variety of clinical and administrative tasks and spend much of their day interacting directly with patients. Does this sound like the profession for you? Here’s how to become a medical assistant in 3 steps:

Do your research. Before you can become a medical assistant, you need to know what this rewarding and growing profession will be like.  More than a half-million medical assistants were employed in the U.S. in 2012 and as a medical assistant you can expect job growth that is much faster than average through 2022 ¹.  You could work in a variety of healthcare settings including physicians’ offices, outpatient and ambulatory care facilities, nursing homes, clinics, and hospitals. As a medical assistant, you would take patient histories and vital signs, perform blood draws, administer injections and vaccinations, and conduct routine tests such as electrocardiography tests (EKGs). You would assist physicians with patient exams, but also perform administrative tasks, such as scheduling appointments and lab tests, and answering phones and routine questions about procedures. You would also serve as a calm and reassuring presence to patients and their families.

Get training and experience. Choose an accredited medical assisting program that will give you a solid foundation in anatomy, pharmacology, and healthcare law and ethics. Your program should offer a blend of classroom instruction, hands-on lab work and an externship that gives you experience with actual patients in a real world setting. Consider an associate’s degree program in medical assisting for in-depth instruction that could also serve as the foundation to a bachelor’s degree in Medical and Health Services Management.  

Become certified. A good medical assisting program will prepare you to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and/or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification exams. Many employees insist on certification and even those that do not, understand that certification is an indication of your knowledge, skill, and professionalism. According to the American Association of Medical Assistants, CMA certification offers proof to employers that you have achieved the highest standards of education and credentialing in the medical assisting field ².

Once you have the passion, training, experience and certification, you are ready to pursue your career as a medical assistant! Contact us today at American National University to find out how you can get started on the path to this rewarding career right now. Classes in our associate’s degree program in Medical Assisting begin soon. Your future is waiting!


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