Medical Assistant Training

Formal training is one route of entry into medical assisting career field. Some veteran medical assistants have earned their position through experience and in house training. However the most common route is the one where you complete medical assistant training in school and apply for a job. The training lasts 1 to 2 years depending on the program you enrolled in. Certificate program takes only one year where as AAS (Associate of Applied Science) degree takes two years.

General Admission Requirements

The following list contains the most common admission requirements for medical assistant programs. There may be additional requirements you must meet but that differs from college to college.

  • High school diploma or GED (General Educational Development Exam)
  • Basic computer skills (such as: typing, word-processing, being familiar with windows operating system, internet & email, etc).
  • Some colleges ask, if you can arrange your own means of transpiration for clinical externship
  • CPR certification
  • Current physical/health examination and immunization report
  • Communicate well in English
  • Must take college placement test and score the required score. The test is usually comprises of reading, writing, math and basic computer skills.

If you are not computer literate or you want to enhance your skills, usually colleges offer basic computer course, you can take that course to get ready for admission.

 Course Curriculum

A typical certificate or diploma program contains the following courses:

  • Human Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Legal & Ethics
  • First Aid and Professional CPR
  • Medical Terminology
  • Clinical Procedures
  • Laboratory Procedures
  • Medical Insurance, Billing and Coding
  • Clinical Practicum
  • Pharmacology
  • Keyboarding and Computer Applications
  • Record-keeping and Accounting
  • Externship

The credit hours you take in certificate program ranges from as low as 28 to as high as 50. Credit hours tend to be lower when you take the course in community colleges. AAS degree credits may reach up to 100. But the average credit hours for certificate is around 40 and 65 for AAS.

Remember neither diploma nor AAS credits are transferable in most cases. However, some colleges allow students to transfer credits, if they continue their studies to higher degrees in the same college.

Most colleges require students to score a grade of “C” in all courses or a GPA of 2.0 in order to pass to next term.

Training Cost

Here is a sample current tuition fees of randomly selected community colleges (as of Dec 2011). You should expect to pay higher than these numbers when you join private collages.

Tuition fees per credit hour
In state Out of state
Macomb Community College $84.00 $128.00
Anne Arudel Community College $90/173.00* $306.00
Green River Community College $96.39.00 $109.39
Community College of Vermont $214.00 $428.00
Lehigh Carbon Community College $91/182.00* $273.00
Manchester Community College $210/315.00* $478.00
Everett Community College $95.85 $148.60
Salt Lake Community College $163.00 $436.00
Ivy Tech Community College $107.80 $230.20
Spokane Community College $86.85 $122.20
 * non-sponsoring districts in the same state pay more in some cases

Background Checks

Colleges ask students to go through the following checks prior to starting clinical externship. You should also expect the same requirement from your employer when applying for a job after completion of you studies.

  • Criminal background check
  • Sex offender background check
  • Drug screening