Medical assistants are vital and versatile members of the healthcare system. These professionals work alongside nurses, physicians, and technologists to ensure patients receive high-quality care during every visit. Medical assistants help to keep healthcare facilities running smoothly and efficiently, tackling a range of clinical and administrative duties as part of their day-to-day. Due to their scope of responsibilities, medical assistants must meet specific education and training requirements in order to launch a career. However, you may be encouraged to know that the medical assistant education requirements do not involve years in medical school. In fact, becoming a medical assistant is one of the fastest avenues into the healthcare field.
If you desire to join the fast-growing healthcare industry, and are looking for a fast-track to get there, you may be considering the medical assisting career path. Before getting started, however, it is important to know exactly what is required to land this important role. You may be wondering:
- What medical assistant education requirements do you need to fulfill to land a job – a college degree, a diploma, a certificate, or other postsecondary award?
- What do you need to become a licensed medical assistant in your state?
- What are the requirements to get into a medical assistant program?
You are in the right place. Below, you will find the high-level educational requirements for medical assistants, a glance at the medical assistant requirements in Connecticut, as well as the typical prerequisites needed to get into a reputable school.
National Medical Assistant Education Requirements
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, most medical assistants will be required to have a postsecondary award, such as a certificate in Medical Assisting, before entering the field. However, there are no official, formal education requirements for medical assistants nationwide. Requirements tend to vary by employer and by state.
Due to the increasing demand in healthcare, completing a postsecondary educational program is a smart move for aspiring medical assistants. These programs teach the ins and outs of medical office management, medical terminology, laboratory procedures, basic patient care, and more. As such, employers typically prefer to hire medical assistants who completed postsecondary training.
Medical assistant training programs are available at different levels. For example, at Goodwin University, you can earn an associate degree in Medical Assisting, or a postsecondary certificate in Medical Assisting. Certificate programs can usually be completed in about one year. Associate degree programs, due to the more robust training involved, take about two years to complete. In both types of medical assistant programs, classroom learning and laboratory training are offered to prepare students for their careers.
Medical assisting students gain important skills needed for their future work. For example, students learn how to communicate with patients, take vital signs, perform EKGs/ECGs, collect laboratory specimens, file medical records, and prepare patients for medical procedures. These are technical skills required of medical assistants that are necessary for the role. Other “soft” skills required include:
- Detail orientation and precision
- Analytics and critical-thinking
- Interpersonal skills to discuss important information
Connecticut Medical Assistant Education Requirements
As noted above, medical assistant requirements can vary by state. In Connecticut, there are currently no formal educational requirements for medical assistants. However, medical assistants are expected to receive and maintain certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to obtain this certification, you must pass the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination.
At Goodwin University, both the certificate and associate degree programs will qualify you to apply for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination as well as the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) examination administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT) upon graduation.
The state of Connecticut also does not require medical assistants to have any particular training or experience in the field. However, most healthcare employers today will set the bar high in terms of formal education requirements. Most want to see some relevant college coursework. Most want to see some previous experience in a practical setting. Most want to see certification and commitment to the field. This is especially the case for advanced medical assisting careers and future job promotions. It can also set you apart from other job candidates, in a fast-growing and competitive employment market.
A postsecondary medical assistant program is a momentous step ahead for those looking to get ahead and stand out. This level of education will provide you with training in both administrative as well as clinical duties, and put you at a great advantage against your peers. At Goodwin University, for example, you can expect to become an expert in the following topics, before stepping foot into your career:
- Medical Law and Ethics
- Medical Terminology
- Medical Assisting Diagnostic Procedures
- Medical Assisting Laboratory Procedures
- Medical Insurance and Coding
- Medical Office Management
Medical Assistant Program Requirements
The admissions requirements for medical assisting programs will vary by school. To get into Goodwin’s medical assistant program, we ask prospective students to fulfill just a few requirements, to ensure they are fully ready and able to join the healthcare field:
- Meet with Us – Prospective students are asked to meet with the Medical Assistant Program Director or Practicum Coordinator within their first weeks of training. This will allow you the chance to ask questions and discuss your goals and class schedule. In addition, you will discuss the medical assistant program, your qualifications, as well as Connecticut’s medical assistant education requirements and what you’ll need to land a job.
- A Physical Examination – Health is a top priority. All medical assisting students must complete a physical examination with their primary care physician before they can continue to the second semester of our MA program. This ensures that students are fully healthy and able to work with patients safely in a clinical setting. Part of this physical may require vaccinations or proof of immunity.
- Prerequisite Coursework – Before entering our medical assistant program, students must also complete two prerequisite courses: BIO 101, which covers the fundamental concepts of human biology, as well as HSC 105, which teaches basic medical terminology. These courses must be passed with at least a “C” grade or better.
- CPR/First-Aid Certification – As with most medical assisting programs, Goodwin students are required to become certified for Healthcare Providers through the American Heart Association and First Aid through the American Red Cross. This certification does not need to be completed immediately upon entering the program, however, will be required before you take on the internship phase (in which you will work in a real-life healthcare facility, with actual patients). If you do not have certification, Goodwin does offer CPR classes to medical assisting students.
Goodwin University is the only medical assistant school of its kind in Connecticut – a fully-accredited, well-respected, non-profit institution that offers real college credits towards an associate or bachelor’s degree. Here, you can complete your training and qualify for professional Medical Assistant certification in as few as 12 months’ time.
Now is the Time to Become a Medical Assistant
As the healthcare industry continues to boom, medical assisting has become a fast-growing, highly-desired, and in-demand field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that medical assisting jobs are expected to grow 18 percent between 2020 and 2030. This is much faster than the average for all other occupations, and one of the top reasons why so many are now looking towards a medical assisting career. Not only are there thousands of job openings, but also great job security and the potential for growth. Get started, and start checking off the requirements to become a medical assistant, today.
To learn about Goodwin University’s medical assisting programs, call 800-889-3282 or visit www.goodwin.edu/landingpages/medical-assisting to learn more.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.