The healthcare field encompasses a wide variety of areas and specializations dedicated to preventing, diagnosing, and treating several conditions that might affect our mental and physical health.
Since the functioning and care of our bodies are extremely complex and the developments in medicine are continuously evolving, the healthcare field seems to be constantly expanding, bringing new career opportunities for those interested in the area.
One of the occupations that have been growing in the last few years, is Medical Assisting.
Let’s review some of the most important information about this career, its School as well as the approximate cost of becoming a Medical Assistant.
Table of Contents
What Is a Medical Assistant?
Medical Assistants are professionals of the healthcare field whose job is to provide assistance to doctors in numerous healthcare facilities.
There are different administrative and clinical tasks Medical Assistants must perform, although they usually vary according to the characteristics of the office.
What Does a Medical Assistant Do?
The duties of Medical Assistants can be divided into two categories: administrative and clinical.
Among the administrative tasks, they are in charge of answering telephones, scheduling appointments, keeping a record of patients’ medical history, filling out insurance forms, managing bookkeeping and billing of the office, and scheduling further hospital visits or tests for the patients.
The most common clinical tasks Medical Assistants perform are preparing patients to see the doctor and for tests, measuring vital signs, preparing laboratory samples, helping doctors during patients’ exams, dispensing medications, and, in some states, they can even administer injections to patients under the directions of a doctor.
Where Do Medical Assistants Work?
Medical Assistants can work in a variety of medical facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, dental offices, doctor’s private offices, nursing homes, college and university health centers, diagnostic facilities, and insurance companies.
What Is Medical Assistant School?
If you aspire to become a Medical Assistant, you must enroll in Medical Assistant School.
The majority of these programs are offered in technical schools as well as in community colleges.
Even though in some states it might not be necessary to have previous education or training as a Medical Assistant, employers tend to prefer those who have knowledge in the field.
Medical Assistant Schools require having a high school diploma or equivalent, such as the GED (General Educational Development) test.
Medical Assistant Programs
There are two types of programs, an Associate’s degree program, and a certificate or diploma program.
Associate’s degrees generally last longer (between a year and a half and two years to complete), whereas a certificate program can last from 10 months to one year.
Selecting which program is a better fit for you is going to depend on the time you have to dedicate to your studies, if you’re thinking about continuing your education beyond Medical Assistant School, and your budget.
It’s not required to obtain certification as a Medical Assistant in some states.
However, being a certified Medical Assistant might also improve your chances of getting a job and a better salary.
There are five certifications you can obtain as a Medical Assistant: Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from American Medical Technologists, Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association, National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing, and Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants.
There are different requirements to apply for each certificate and you must pass an exam to become certified.
How Much Does Medical Assistant School Cost?
The cost of Medical Assistant School is going to depend mostly on the city where you live, the Medical Assistant School, and the type of program you choose.
If you pursue a diploma or certificate program, you can expect to spend an average of $1,500 to $20,000.
If you prefer an Associate’s degree, such as an Applied Science degree, it could cost between $6,000 to $40,000.
The cost of the different certification exams is generally between $125 and $250.