What You Need To Know About Medical Assistant Programs

Are you ready to start a career in the booming healthcare industry? As you explore medical assistant programs, take a look at the top questions to ask the school's admissions staff.

What Are the Admission Requirements?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most medical assistants are post-secondary school graduates. This means most professionals in the field attend some type of career, technical, or associate degree program. To start medical assistant school, you may need specific prerequisites or need to meet requirements.

The prerequisites or requirements vary depending on the school. These may include a high school degree, a high school equivalency exam, an entrance exam, or basic education classes in areas such as mathematics or English. If the program requires the completion of courses you haven't taken, ask the admissions staff about the recommended ways to complete these prerequisites as soon as possible.

What Types of Classes Will You Take in School?

As a healthcare professional, you'll need to take coursework that relates to the human body, illnesses, and other similar medical issues. Like admissions requirements, the specific courses a program requires may vary.

Longer programs, such as associate degrees, typically include in-depth coursework as well as internships or lab/practical experiences. Classroom courses such as anatomy and physiology will help you to build a foundation for professional practice, while hands-on labs will provide you with the experience you need to take a patient's blood pressure, heart rate, or other vital body measure.

How Long Will the Program Take to Complete?

The answer to this question depends on the type of program the school offers. A medical assistant associate degree typically takes two years to complete—if you go to school full-time. Students who need a part-time schedule due to family, work, or other obligations may take longer to complete the degree.

Certificate or diploma programs from trade or career schools may take less time to complete than as associate degree. These types of programs vary in length from a few months to one to two years.

Can You Work While Getting Your Degree?

It's not financially feasible for every student to stop working while they're in school. If you need to support yourself, your child, or other family members, talk to the medical assistant program's staff about your options. These may include distance learning alternatives or part-time program options.

Not every school offers these types of choices. Ask the admissions representative whether your potential program of choices provides these options before making a decision.