Requirements to Become a Medical Assistant

If you’re interested in a career in the medical field, you may be wondering what the requirements to become a medical assistant are. Read on to find out.

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The eligibility requirements to become a medical assistant may vary slightly depending on the state you reside in, but there are some general requirements that are typically necessary before beginning training. In order to become a medical assistant you must first obtain a high school diploma or equivalent degree such as a GED. You must also be able to pass a criminal background check and have received certain vaccinations, such as the MMR (mumps, measles, rubella) vaccine. Once these requirements have been met, you can begin to look for medical assistant training programs.


In order to become a medical assistant, there are many qualifications that one must possess. The most important qualification is, of course, a high school diploma or equivalent; without this, most medical assisting programs will not even consider you for admission. Once you have your high school diploma or equivalent in hand, the next step is to research various medical assisting programs to find one that’s the right fit for you and also meets any state requirements for certification. After completing a medical assisting program, the final step to becoming a certified medical assistant is to pass the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam administered by the American Association of Medical assistants (AAMA).


Medical Assistants can be trained on the job, although most have postsecondary education such as a certificate. Some states have certification requirements for medical assistants.

Education programs for medical assistants typically last 1 year and lead to a certificate or diploma. Many community colleges, vocational schools, and private trade schools offer medical assistant programs. Some hospitals also offer training programs for medical assistants.


There are several different types of exams that medical assistants may be asked to take. The Certification Examination for Medical Assistants (CMA), administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), is the most widely recognized exam. In order to be eligible to take the CMA, candidates must have completed a medical assisting program that has been accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam, administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT), is another common certification exam. To be eligible to take the RMA exam, candidates must have either completed an accredited medical assisting program or have at least five years of work experience as a medical assistant.

To sit for either of these exams, candidates must submit an application, fee, and any required documentation. Once approved, candidates will be notified of their eligibility and will be able to schedule their exam.


Most medical assistants are not required to have certification or to be licensed, but certain states have licensure laws for medical assistants. Certifying organizations for medical assistants include the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the National Healthcare Association (NHA), and the American Medical Technologists (AMT).

There are several routes that one can take to become licensed as a medical assistant. The first route is to graduate from an accredited program, which typically takes about 12 months to complete. Once you have graduated from an accredited program, you will then need to pass a certification exam. The second route is to complete on-the-job training. This typically takes about 18 months to complete. After you have completed on-the-job training, you will then need to pass a certification exam.


There are generally two types of certification for medical assistants- voluntary and mandatory. Employers may require certification as a condition of employment. Voluntary certification demonstrates a medical assistant’s professional commitment and may lead to career advancement and higher earnings. MAs with certification often have an edge in the job market over those without it. Although certification is not always required, many employers prefer or require certification. The two main certifying organizations for medical assistants are the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the National Healthcare Association (NHA).

Job outlook

The job outlook for medical assistants is excellent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 23 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.


The Median Salary for a Medical Assistant is $33,610 per year. The top 10% of earners make over $48,720 per year, and the lowest 10% of earners make under $23,450 per year. Salaries vary depending on experience, education, location, and employer.

Career paths

Medical assistants can have various roles within the medical field. Their responsibilities might include interacting with patients, taking their vital signs, drawing blood, updating patients’ medical records and managing general correspondence. They also might schedule appointments, receive and return phone calls, handle billing and coding information, and prepare patients for examinations. Some medical assistants specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as pediatrics or ophthalmology.

A high school diploma or equivalent is typically the minimum education requirement for employment as a medical assistant. However, many employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed an accredited postsecondary medical assisting program. These programs typically last one year and award a certificate or diploma upon completion. Some community colleges offer two-year associate degree programs in medical assisting. Although not required, successful completion of an accredited program may make it easier to obtain certification and may improve employment prospects.

There are many different types of medical assistants, with various levels of training and experience. Some medical assistants specialize in a particular area, such as optometry or podiatry. Others may work in a general medical practice, providing basic patient care and administrative support.

In order to become a medical assistant, you will need to complete an accredited training program. Most programs take between one and two years to complete, and lead to a certificate or associate’s degree.

Once you have completed your training, you will need to pass a certification exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Once you are certified, you will need to renew your certification every few years by completing continuing education credits.

In addition to formal training and certification, medical assistants should have good communication skills and be able to work well with others. They must be able to follow instructions and have good organizational skills.

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