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Medical Assistant Certificate: Program Overview

Medical assistant certificate programs are designed for people who want to enter the healthcare field in an administrative role with limited clinical duties. Discover courses and requirements of this program, along with important career information.

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Essential Information

Students in a medical assistant certificate program learn both office administration tasks and clinical duties involving patients and medical procedures. Graduates of a medical assistant certificate program will have the skills to be an effective professional in a medical office, hospital, clinic or other outpatient health care location.

A medical assistant certificate program is typically completed in one year. Prerequisites for admission include a high school diploma or the equivalent. Once enrolled, community colleges may require students to complete specific courses in writing, math, and biology before moving on to core classes.


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Medical Assistant Certificate

In a medical assistant program, students complete class work and labs. They learn about lab and administrative procedures and take courses in medical terminology. Required courses can include:

  • Anatomy
  • Pharmacology
  • Medical office procedures/administration
  • Clinical phlebotomy
  • Medical law end ethics

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants were expected to see a 23% growth in employment from 2014 to 2024, making it one of the faster-growing occupations for that decade (www.bls.gov). In 2015, the BLS reported that medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $30,590.

Continuing Education and Certification Information

A medical assistant may continue studying at the associate and bachelor's degree level in order to become qualified to work in a more advanced area of the healthcare field. Through completing more advanced degree programs, medical assistants could become qualified to become nurses or work in healthcare administration.

Medical assistants can obtain voluntary certification through an agency like the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), which offers certification as a Certified Medical Assistant designation. To obtain this certification, a student must register for an exam, which covers topics like anatomy, professionalism, psychology and knowledge of medical and legal guidelines (www.aama-ntl.org). Certification is also available through the Association of Medical Technologists.

Medical assistant certificate programs require completion of labs and coursework in classes like anatomy and medical ethics. Employment for medical assistants is expected to grow by 23% from 2014 to 2024, so completion of this program can give graduates a competitive edge.

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