Certified Medical Assistant
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Certified Medical Assistant

Jun 07, 2010

If you have the calling to become a part of the healthcare field but medical school isn't an option for you for any of a number of reasons, becoming a certified medical assistant may provide you with the satisfying medical career you long for. A medical assistant performs many of the duties that the doctor is too busy to handle and the responsibilities vary depending on the state you live in, the hospital or office you work in, and the requirements of the doctor or doctors you are working for.

Once you have determined that becoming a certified medical assistant is the career move you want to make, the next question is "How do I become a certified medical assistant?" This is the most important question you can ask because the path you choose can determine how well qualified you are and what type of employment you obtain. This is the fastest growing career in the health care industry and it offers a diversity of opportunities and the potential for excellent pay. It normally only takes between six months and a year to become a certified medical assistant and you can do so in two simple steps:

  1. Whether you choose to take a course in person or online, you will need to attend a medical assistant school that is accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
  2. Once you have successfully completed the program, you must take the American Association of Medical Assistants' Certified Medical Assistant Exam and pass it.

The popularity of medical assisting careers is due in part to the short amount of time it takes to obtain the required education and certification needed to start practicing and the excellent potential for pay. That doesn't mean it is the right choice for everyone who is looking for a fast way to start a new career. The majority of those who gain employment as a medical assistant are working in physicians' offices while others are in hospitals, clinics, special care facilities, correctional facilities and many others. As a medical assistant, you will be responsible for many of the same duties normally performed by nurses including drawing blood, giving injections, taking blood pressure, etc. This is only a good career choice for those individuals who enjoy working with patients and aren't squeamish about being around illness.

Before making the decision to become a certified medical assistant, it is important to evaluate your reasons for this career choice. If you are a naturally caring, nurturing person who wants the opportunity to give people the care they need, then this is probably a good choice for you. If you are only searching for a career that require you to invest little time in preparation and will help you get a well-paying position, then you should consider another area. No career is going to be satisfying unless it allows you to do something that you truly enjoy.

For a lot of people, the convenience and flexibility of taking an online course offers them the opportunity to get the education they need while still working at their regular jobs. It is also a good alternative to attending classes in person for those individuals who have children at home that require their care or other responsibilities. While this is a great alternative to taking in-person classes for some, it should be the last alternative for those who have a choice. Nothing will compare with the skills you develop from an accredited, hands-on training program in medical assisting.

To get even more hands-on experience, volunteer work can be done while you are enrolled in a program and some schools offer internships after you have completed the program. In many instances, this is a way for a potential employer to determine if you have the skills they are looking for in a permanent position as a medical assistant!

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