- The difference between a medical assistant certificate and degree
- The benefits of each
- The drawbacks of each
- The best way to decide which is right for you
- The job market for medical assistants
- The salary expectations for medical assistants
- The future of medical assisting
- The role of medical assistants in healthcare
- The training and education required for medical assistants
- The challenges faced by medical assistants
You may be wondering what the difference is between a medical assistant certificate and degree. Both can lead to exciting and rewarding careers in the medical field, but there are some key differences between the two. Read on to learn more about the difference between a medical assistant certificate and degree.
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The difference between a medical assistant certificate and degree
While both a certificate and degree in medical assisting provide the necessary training to work in the field, there are some key differences between the two. A certificate program is typically shorter, taking around one year to complete, while a degree program can take two years or more. A certificate program will also typically focus solely on medical assisting, while a degree program will include general education courses in addition to classes specific to medical assisting.
Additionally, a degree may be required for certain positions, such as management roles or positions in specialized clinics. For most entry-level positions, however, either a certificate or degree will be acceptable. Ultimately, the decision of which path to take should be based on your individual goals and interests.
The benefits of each
While both medical assistant certificates and degrees can lead to interesting and rewarding careers in the medical field, there are some important differences between the two that prospective students should be aware of before making a decision.
Medical assistant certificates generally take less time to complete than degrees, which can be an important consideration for adults who are already working or raising a family. In addition, certificate programs may be more focused on the practical aspects of being a medical assistant, while degree programs may also include liberal arts coursework designed to broaden the student’s education.
However, graduates of degree programs may have an advantage when it comes to getting hired or promoted. In today’s competitive job market, employers often prefer candidates who have completed at least some college-level coursework, and a degree may make a candidate eligible for higher-level positions.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to pursue a certificate or degree should be based on the student’s individual goals and interests. Both types of programs can provide the knowledge and skills necessary for a successful career in medical assisting.
The drawbacks of each
Medical assisting is a rapidly growing occupation, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting a 23% increase in employment from 2016 to 2026.1 With such promising job prospects, it’s no wonder that many people are interested in starting a career in medical assisting.
One of the first decisions prospective Medical assistants must make is whether to pursue a certificate or degree program. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, which are outlined below.
Drawbacks of a Medical Assistant Certificate
-Although medical assistant certification programs are shorter than degree programs, they may not be able to provide students with the same depth of knowledge and clinical experience.
-Students who complete certificate programs may have difficulty transferring their credits to a degree program if they decide to further their education at a later date.
-Because certificate programs generally don’t include general education coursework, students may need to complete additional classes before they are eligible for certification by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).2
-Some employers may prefer or require applicants to have an associate’s degree.
Drawbacks of a Medical Assistant Degree
-Medical assistant degree programs typically take longer to complete than certificate programs—usually two years rather than one year. This can increase the overall cost of tuition and other associated expenses.
-Although an associate’s degree may provide greater opportunities for advancement, it is not always necessary for medical assistants who wish to move into management positions or pursue other roles within the healthcare industry. In some cases, relevant work experience may be just as important as formal education.
The best way to decide which is right for you
There are two primary ways to become a medical assistant: earning a certificate or completing an accredited medical assisting program and earning an associate’s degree. While both will provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to become a successful medical assistant, there are some important differences between the two that you should take into account before making your decision.
One of the biggest differences between a certificate and degree in medical assisting is the length of time it will take you to complete your education. A certificate program can typically be completed in one year or less, while an associate’s degree will take two years to finish. This means that if you want to enter the workforce as quickly as possible, a certificate may be the better option for you. However, if you’re willing to invest a little more time in your education, an associate’s degree can give you a competitive edge when it comes to finding jobs.
Another difference between these two types of programs is the amount of hands-on training you will receive. Medical assistant programs that lead to a certificate generally provide more classroom instruction than those that offer an associate’s degree. This means that if you prefer to learn through hands-on experience, an associate’s degree may be the better option for you. However, if you feel confident in your ability to learn independently, a certificate program may be just what you need.
The best way to decide which type of medical assisting education is right for you is by considering your long-term career goals. If you plan on eventually moving into a management position or becoming a certified medical assistant, an associate’s degree will give you the foundations you need to succeed. However, if you simply want to enter the workforce as quickly as possible and don’t plan on pursuing any further education, a certificate may be all you need.
The job market for medical assistants
The job market for medical assistants is expected to grow by 29% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The aging baby-boom generation will need more medical services as they live longer and remain active.
The salary expectations for medical assistants
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, medical assistants earn a median salary of $33,610 a year, or $16.17 an hour. That’s slightly higher than the median salary for all occupations, which is $32,490 a year. The top 10 percent of medical assistants earn more than $46,680 a year, while the bottom 10 percent earn less than $23,810.
The future of medical assisting
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether a medical assistant certificate or degree is the best option for you. The most important factor to consider is what you hope to gain from your education and how that will fit into your long-term career goals.
For those who want to enter the field as quickly as possible, a certificate program may be the best choice. These programs typically take one year or less to complete and can lead to entry-level positions in medical offices and clinics. If you eventually hope to move into a management or supervisory role, however, a degree may be a better option.
While both certificates and degrees can lead to successful careers in medical assisting, the future of the profession may favor those with higher levels of education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for medical assistants is expected to be much faster than average in the next decade, with 29 percent growth between 2016 and 2026. This rapid growth is due in part to an aging population and advances in medical technology that require more skilled workers.
As the profession continues to evolve, employers will increasingly favor candidates with formal education beyond a high school diploma. While a certificate may be sufficient for entry-level positions today, individuals who ultimately want a successful career in medical assisting would be wise to consider getting a degree.
The role of medical assistants in healthcare
Medical assistants are a vital part of the healthcare team. They provide clinical and administrative support to physicians and other medical professionals. Medical assistants may perform a variety of tasks, including taking medical histories, scheduling appointments, preparing patients for examination, taking vital signs,blood tests and electrocardiograms. Many medical assistants also help with billing and coding.
There are two ways to become a medical assistant: by completing a certificate program or by earning an associate degree. Both programs will prepare you for the job, but there are some key differences.
A certificate program generally takes less time to complete than an associate degree program. Certificate programs typically last one year or less, while associate degree programs take two years to finish. This is because associate degree programs include general education courses in addition to classes in the medical assisting field.
While both certificate and associate degree programs will prepare you for a career as a medical assistant, an associate degree may give you more opportunities for advancement down the road. With an associate degree, you may be able to pursue a career as a manager or supervisor in a medical office or healthcare facility. You may also be able to transfer your credits to a four-year college if you decide to pursue further education.
The training and education required for medical assistants
Most medical assistants have either a certificate or an associate degree from an accredited program. Although a high school diploma or equivalent is the minimum educational requirement for most medical assistant positions, some employers may prefer to hire those with postsecondary education, and some states have implemented educational requirements for medical assistants.
Medical assistants with formal education receive training in both administrative and clinical duties. Administrative medical assistants are responsible for scheduling appointments, preparing and maintaining patient medical records billing and coding insurance forms, and handling correspondence. Clinical duties include taking patient histories and vital signs, preparing patients for examination, assisting the physician during the examination, collecting and processing laboratory specimens, performing basic laboratory tests, administering medications as directed by a physician, and instructing patients on follow-up care.
The challenges faced by medical assistants
those with a certificate in medical assisting often face the same challenges as those with a degree. Many employers require certification, but it is not always a requirement. Many medical assistants find that having a degree gives them an edge in the job market, but it is not always necessary. There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to pursue a degree, and each individual’s situation is different.