Certified Medical Assistant

As our population grows and ages the need for talented medical professional’s increases. This can be seen in the medical assisting field as the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a growth of 29% through 2022, which is much faster than average. Entering the field of medical assistance gives you multiple paths you can pursue. Understanding your options will ensure that you have the best job opportunities as well as chances for a higher income. You first need to start by finding the right education to pursue. Following that, you’ll need to understand the options for certification. This article will cover all the information you need to ensure that you are able to make the choice that’s right for you.


Many students struggle with finding the right type of education for their personal needs. With traditional campus-based educations, online classes, and hybrid courses, there are enough options available that any type of student can earn their degree no matter what the schedule maybe. While traditional campus-based educations are easy to understand, the drawbacks come from scheduling conflicts, especially if you are currently working. Education and experience go hand-in-hand so successfully balancing a work and school schedule will ensure that you have the best resume ready upon graduation. Hybrid courses combine online and campus-based courses and have many of the benefits that you’d expect from an online course, but also have the drawbacks of the campus-based education. Hybrid courses may be right for some students especially considering the nature of laboratory work that may be required in some medical assisting courses.

For many students the best option is an online education. With an online education you have the option to go to school on your own schedule. While you will have specific due dates that must be met, when you actually study is completely up to you. Some online courses even allow you to take self-paced study courses. Self-paced study courses allow you to spend as much time as you need to complete each assignment. While this can be beneficial it can also lead to a much longer than expected time in school. There is no perfect option for every student but strongly consider your options when it comes to learning online. There are countless online medical assisting courses from large colleges, trade schools, or even local community colleges that are affordable and easy to attend.

There are two primary options for earning a degree in medical assisting. First you can earn a certificate or diploma, second you can earn an Associate’s degree. A certificate program is not the same as becoming a certified medical assistant is simply a shorter education which allows you to enter the field in as little as nine months to a year. An associate’s degree is a complete education that will require 18 months to two years in school but will give you the option to quickly enter higher levels of education and researchers in the future.


As you start to explore potential educators is important to keep in mind how they will be able to prepare you for certification if you decide to take that route. While certification is not perfect for every student it is strongly suggested as the income expectations are significantly better and you have will a much easier time finding the position that you want. While there are time and financial investments required for certification the payoff can be significant. To clear up any confusion there are two types of designations; certification and registration. Certification and registration are viewed the same by most employers. The primary difference between the two is the exam that is taken and the Association that offers it. To ensure that you have the right type of designation for your area speak to local employers to ensure that they do not have a particular preference towards one or the other.

To earn a certified medical assisting license you will need to visit the American Association of Medical Assistants. Upon completion of the CMA (AAMA) you should see a significant increase in income as well as job prospects. According to indeed.com the average income for medical assistant is $43,000 a year. Once you earn your certification you should expect an income of $52,000 a year. This can vary based on experience and education but this is the most current information available at the time of this writing.

You’ll find plenty of assistance on the American Association of Medical Assistants website in regards to preparing for your examination. A step-by-step guide is offered to ensure that you’re completely prepared for the examination, found here. Briefly review the requirements for eligibility for the examination and discuss your goals with potential educational institutions.

Once you have applied, studied and passed the certification exam you will need to become recertified every five years. You will also need to take continuing education courses throughout your career which will ensure that your certification stays up-to-date. It may seem like a great deal of work right now payoff, as you can see, is significant.