Clinical Assistant Certificate and Certification Programs

Clinical medical assistants perform administrative tasks for health professionals, take and record patients' histories and vital signs, and perform diagnostic lab tests.

Essential Information

Clinical laboratory assistant certificate programs prepare students for clinical tasks by providing opportunities for hands-on training. Students develop necessary administrative skills, such as knowing how to perform clerical and accounting procedures and verify insurance documentation. They also learn about clinical duties, including specimen collecting, patient care and diagnostic testing.

  • Prerequisites: GED or high school diploma; C+ or higher in math and English; no medical experience needed
  • Experiential Learning: One site training through an internship or partnership
  • Length of Study: One year or less

Clinical Assistant Certificate

Students in the clinical laboratory assistant certificate program learn about medical terminology and administrative tasks. Courses include topics such as biology, anatomy and computer usage. Some of the courses students may take include:

  • Laboratory safety
  • Psychology
  • Clinical laboratory science
  • Clinical experience
  • Healthcare practices
  • Communications

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The majority of medical assistants find employment in physician's offices; however, some work in hospitals and offices of other healthcare professionals, including chiropractors and podiatrists. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clinical assistant employment from 2012-20222 is expected to grow much faster than average with a projected increase of 29%. This increase is due to both the technological advances in the medical industry and the growth of the aging population. As reported by the BLS, the median hourly rate for medical assistants as of May 2014 was $14.41, which translates to a median salary of $29,960 per year of full-time employment (

Professional Certification and Continuing Education Information

Graduates of clinical assistant certificate programs are eligible to sit through certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). It's important to note that certain employers require that their medical assistants be certified by the AAMA. Before graduates take the test, they must graduate from an accredited clinical assistant program and complete a practicum, which some programs already contain. Graduates may take the computer-based exam at any point, since there are tests offered throughout the year. On the date of the exam, students know before they leave if they have passed or failed the exam; however, the official scores are mailed 6-8 weeks later.

For continuing education, graduates can obtain a 2-year associate's degree in medical laboratory technology in order to become a clinical laboratory technician. Clinical lab technicians work under the supervision of clinicians or medical professionals and prepare specimens or manual tests on patients. They could also obtain a bachelor's degree in one of the life sciences to become a clinical laboratory technologist. Lab technologists analyze specimens, develop procedures and supervise clinical laboratory technicians.

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