Medical Assistant

Autopsy Assistant, Certified Coding Specialist, Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)   More Names
Certified Phlebotomy Technician, Certified Professional Coder (CPC), Chiropractor Assistant, Client Service Coordinator, Client Services Coordinator, Clinic Assistant, Clinical Assistant, Clinical Office Technician, Doctor Assistant, Doctor's Assistant, Eye Technician, Health Information Coder, Health Services Information Specialist, Health Unit Clerk, Hemodialysis Patient Care Specialist, Hospital Clinic Assistant, Medical Assistant (MA), Medical Assistants, Medical Billing Coder, Medical Billing Specialist, Medical Insurance Coding Specialist, Medical Office Assistant, Medical Office Technician, Medical Office Worker, Medical Support Assistant, Medical Technician Assistant (Medical Tech Assistant), Morgue Attendant, Morgue Technician, Ocular Care Aide, Ophthalmic Aide, Ophthalmic Technician, Optometric Aide, Optometric Assistant, Optometric Technician, Optometrist Assistant, Optometry Assistant, Orthopedic Assistant, Orthopedic Cast Specialist, Physician's Aide, Podiatric Aide, Podiatric Assistant, Podiatrist Assistant, Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), Respiratory Therapist Assistant, Sleep Technician, Sterile Processing Technician, Surgery Scheduler, Vein Access Technician, Visual Training Aide
Most Common Education Levels

** This graph is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data and offers a snapshot (based on a statistical sample) of the actual education and training levels of those persons who are currently working in this career. It does not necessarily reflect the education or training that an employer may require of a new hire. **

Current Entry Requirements

Most employers prefer to hire entry-level medical assistants who have at least a one-year postsecondary certificate or a two-year associate's degree; however all medical assistants should have a minimum of a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate. Well-qualified entry-level medical assistants are multi-skilled and have acquired mastery of a complex body of knowledge and specialized skills through formal medical assisting education. The quality of their work directly influences the public's health and well-being.

Postsecondary education and training is available through public community college programs as well as proprietary school and online programs. These programs typically include courses in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology, as well as word processing, recordkeeping, accounting, and insurance billing.

Clinical studies include training in laboratory techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, pharmaceutical principles, administration of medications, and first aid. Opportunities for practical clinical experience are also provided. In addition, all medical assisting students learn about office practices, patient relations, medical law, and ethics.

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are the two organizations that accredit medical assisting programs.

The CAAHEP accredits over 600 public community college and other postsecondary institution medical assisting training programs. This list is available by state on the CAAHEP website under CAAHEP - Find An Accredited Program.

The ABHES accredits at least 300 proprietary school medical assisting training programs as well as other postsecondary medical assisting training programs. This list is available by state on the ABHES website under AHHES - Directory of Institutions and Programs.

While formal postsecondary training in medical assisting is preferred, it is not uniformly required by employers. A number of medical assistants are trained on-the-job. In these cases, recommended high school courses include mathematics, health, biology, bookkeeping, and basic computer literacy and office skills. Volunteer experience in the healthcare field also is helpful. Medical assistants who are trained on-the-job usually spend their first few months attending training sessions and working closely with more experienced healthcare workers.

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Career Snapshot

Typical Education:

Certificate (High School + 0-4 years, Certificate awarded)
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Percent Job Growth:

24% - Much faster than average
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Typical Wages:

Annual: $26,860 - $37,760

Hourly: $13 - $18