Medical assistants play a very valuable role, but they are NOT nurses !
Medical assistants play a very valuable
role, but they are NOT nurses !

Medical Assistant Trade Schools

Choosing a career as a medical assistant (MA) gives an individual the opportunity to work in a variety of health care settings. Employment for a medical assistant is found in hospitals, clinics and physician’s offices. Those interested in a MA career should have an interest in working directly with patients, doctors and other health care providers, such as therapists. Through training, individuals who pursue a career in medical assisting will develop the skills necessary to perform duties related to direct patient care. These duties include patient assessment, the administration of treatments and medications and assisting the physician with procedures. They will also learn clerical and management skills.

Picking a Medical Assistant Trade School

An individual who chooses to pursue a career in medical assisting must decide on which training program is best suited for them. Many trade schools offer medical assisting programs. When choosing a trade school MA program, the individual should check to make sure the school’s MA training program is accredited. Some agencies, such as the AAMA, require the successful completion of an accredited MA training program in order to challenge the licensing exam. Although obtaining a MA license is not required to work as a MA, those who obtain a MA license often earn more money and have an easier time finding employment.

Governing bodies such as the ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools) and the CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) accredit medical assistant programs that meet all of the eligibility requirements. There are several types of MA training programs offered by medical assisting trade schools.

Diploma Medical Assistant Training Programs

Some medical assisting trade schools offer the diploma MA training program. This type of program allows students to graduate with a diploma stating they have successfully completed the MA training program’s requirements. These programs typically last one year. They offer the education necessary for students to develop the clinical, clerical and administrative skills necessary to work as a medical assistant.

Diploma MA training programs often include courses that cover phlebotomy, pharmacology, clinical procedures and lab techniques. These programs often require students to complete clinical time. Clinical time refers to time spent working with real patients in real health care settings. It gives students the chance to provide actual patient care, administer treatments and perform assessments.

Certificate Medical Assistant Training Programs

Certificate medical assisting training programs offered by trade schools typically last from one to three semesters. They provide students with a certificate of completion at the end of the program. This type of program provides students with the knowledge and skills needed to work as a medical assistant. These programs are usually completed in the shortest amount of time, when compared to diploma or associate medical assistant training programs. These programs give individuals the chance to complete training and enter the workforce quickly.

Certificate MA training programs often teach less intensive courses. They do cover the need to know basics about medical assisting. They teach students how to complete various medical procedures and treatments. These programs also teach students how to collect, process and manage various types of data. Certificate programs may require students to complete a specific amount of clinical time allowing them to work with real patients and doctors in a health care setting. Those that complete an accredited certificate medical assisting program may be eligible to challenge the licensing exam, if all requirements are met. Requirements for licensing are determined by the licensing agency.

Associate Degree Medical Assistant Training Programs

Associate degree training programs available for medical assisting last two years and are available at trade schools located across the country. This type of MA training program allows students that successfully complete the program to graduate with an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting degree. These programs are the most extensive training programs available in medical assisting. They provide students with a well-rounded education that better prepares them to enter the workforce as a medical assistant.

In addition to the core classes, associate degree programs for MA include classes such as speech, history and psychology. Core classes include anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, phlebotomy, basic surgical assisting and patient care.

The associate degree MA training program requires students to complete a specific amount of clinical time. These programs may have students perform clinical time in a variety of settings, including hospital emergency rooms, hospital patient floors, clinics and doctor’s offices. They may require students to complete a specific amount of time working with various types of patients including pediatrics, geriatrics and general medicine. This gives students the chance to work with a variety of patients suffering from a variety of conditions and physical ailments. Those who choose to specialize may also be required to spend a specific amount of time completing clinical time within their chosen specialty.

Article Written by Rachel Dennis

Rachel Dennis works as both a professional writer and health care provider. She has been a licensed health care provider since 1998, with work experience as a medical assistant, certified nursing assistant and emergency medical technician. She has been writing since 1994 and has been published both on-line and in print.

Comments
2 Responses to “Medical Assistant Trade Schools”
  1. Diana says:

    I just want to thank this website and for all the useful information I have read so far. It gives me an insight on this health path and what to expect. I’m leaning towards becoming an MA too.

  2. Susanne Wissell says:

    Rachel:

    I believe you meant to say that “..obtaining a MA certification is not required…” instead of “…a MA license…”. A license is granted by a governmental agency (typically state but sometimes city/town). If such exists it is never voluntary and always required. Certification is typically national, and involves meeting specific educational requirements to qualify to take an exam. Certification is voluntary, although some states will use that as part of a licensing requirements. To my knowledge, no state at this time offers an actual Medical Assistant license.

    Can you tell me how career & technical schools that have Medical Assistant programs can be added to the list on this site? Although career & technical Certificate / Diploma programs do not offer general education courses, they can offer very comprehensive medical assistant training (including internship and employment assistance). Our medical assistant graduates have excellent careers–and are very much in demand by physician practices, urgent care settings and other health centers. –Thank you. MTTI Education for Employment, Seekonk, MA

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