Questions You Didn’t Know You Had About Medical Assistant Programs

Posted On August 31,2020

Medical assistant standing in a hallway smiling.

If you’re interested in the healthcare field but aren’t sure where to begin, a career as a medical assistant (MA) may provide the right amount of challenge and excitement.

If you’re wondering if medical assisting is right for you, here are some thoughtful questions you might not have considered asking yet about a medical assistant program:

How Long Does it Take?

The great thing about deciding to become a medical assistant versus other healthcare jobs is you can jump start your new career quickly. Most medical assistant programs take one year or less and provide a set amount of classroom hours and lab participation, followed by an externship. During the externship experience, students have the unique opportunity to practice learned skills in a real-life working situation, while closely interacting with a physician and other health care team staff.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

A Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) holds an important and versatile role in any medical setting, as they are cross trained to perform both administrative and clinical duties. This can include scheduling appointments and filling out insurance forms, to taking vital signs and preparing patients for examination. It’s this vast array of vital skills that continue to make medical assisting one of the fastest growing careers in the healthcare field.

Where do They Work?

Medical assistants work in modern medical facilities, such as physician’s offices, outpatient clinics, hospitals, and assisted living facilities, just to name a few. There are certainly no shortages of work settings for an MA to choose from.

Learn More about our CMA Program

Is Accreditation Important?

Yes, accreditation is extremely important when it comes to choosing a medical assistant program, and it should be one of your top qualifying criteria. An accredited school will have passed a thorough inspection of its educational and administrative policies and procedures, measured by qualified peers in the profession. Accredited schools offer the credentialed assurance and confidence as being a professional institute that only graduates students who are fully prepared to succeed in their new career.

Other benefits of choosing an accredited medical assistant program are they offer access to federal financial aid to help offset the cost, but more importantly, students who complete an accredited program are eligible to sit for the national exam and become a certified medical assistant. The majority of employers prefer to hire certified medical assistants over those who are not certified.

What Should I Look for in a Program?

The number one most important factor when choosing a medical assisting program, is to ensure that it’s fully accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Without proper accreditation, students will not have the ability to become certified, which will greatly limit the amount of job opportunities available to them.

Some other factors to consider are the length of the program, flexibility of the classes offered (do they have day and evening classes for example), cost, and admission requirements.

How Soon Can I Start the Program?

It really depends on the specific medical assistant program you choose, as well as whether or not you have met the registration requirements and deadlines, but if getting started quickly is important to you, look for a program like Athena Career Academy that offers new classes on a regular basis.

Get on the Fast track to becoming a Medical Assistant

How Can I Find Out More?

If you’re interested in learning more about the many exciting and rewarding benefits that a career in medical assisting has to offer, Athena Career Academy can help. Contact us today to learn more about our flexible class schedule and accredited programs.