Getting a Medical Assistant Degree

Working as a medical assistant can be extremely rewarding, but in order to get to that position, you need to get your degree. 

Learn more about how to become a medical assistant, how to choose the right school, the costs and what the training is all about below. 

Why Become a Medical Assistant?

You may be wondering if becoming a medical assistant will be right for you. Although it's a career that requires a lot of hard work and that isn't for just anyone, it can be incredibly fulfilling.

These are some of the reasons why people choose to pursue a career in the field of medical assistance:

  • Job security: medical assistants can typically get jobs at hospitals, doctor's offices, nursing homes and assisted living facilities, among others.
  • Fulfillment: you can help people every day, which can be very satisfying and a great motivator to get up and go to work.
  • Good income: you can earn between 24k and 42k per year.

How to Choose a Medical Assistant School

To ensure that your classes go well and that you get the education that you are looking for, you will first need to choose a medical assistant school. If you want to choose a good medical school, make sure you:
  • Check the school's accreditations
  • Get references from former students and if possible, professors or current students.
  • Check the reputation of the faculty to make sure you will get a good education.
In terms of costs, make sure you check financial aid options and scholarship opportunities.

Discover which are the best medical assistant programs in the country.

Training

You may be wondering what type of training you will get at school. In your medical assisting classes, you will learn many things that will help you enjoy a successful career in the field of health care, such as:
  • how to take vital signs
  • how to perform CPR
  • how to assist bedridden patients
  • complete administrative tasks for hospitals or private practices (filling out insurance papers, scheduling appointments, manage billing and bookkeeping)
  • how to read a chart and update a medical record
  • how to conduct basic medical tests
  • how to draw blood
  • how to administrate medication
  • how to sterilize equipment
  • how to change dressings or remove sutures
Some of your classes will be focused on things like the parts of the human body and about medical terminology. You may also have some classes that will teach you about things like proper documentation and medical ethics.

In terms of what your tuition covers, you should have the cost of all of the classes covered, as well as books and supplies, may be included. You may be able to access student housing as well. However, make sure you check with the admissions office before starting and ask about any additional benefits and discounts you may be entitled to as a student.

Additional Costs

Even though your tuition should cover most of the cost of your medical assistant courses, you should be prepared for some extra expenses. These are some of the things that you should be financially prepared for when enrolling in school:

  • Child Care Expenses. If you have children, you might need to find a daycare or babysitter so that your children will be supervised while you're in school.
  • Transportation Costs. Going back and forth to school can add to quite a monthly expense. Choosing a school that is conveniently located near you or relocating nearby can help you cut these costs.
  • Books. Your books for school may or may not be included in the cost of your program. Many schools will give you a sample list of books that you will need to purchase and how much they will cost. You can sometimes look for used books if you are looking for ways to save money or access student discounts in nearby book stores.
  • Uniform Costs. When attending your classes, you should be able to wear your regular street clothes. However, when you begin your clinical training, you may be required to wear scrubs. You may also be required to purchase a certain type of shoe. Additionally, when you get a job in the medical assisting field later, you may be required to buy scrubs to wear to work each day.
  • Medical Supplies. At some schools, the cost of medical supplies will be included in your tuition and book fees. However, in some programs, you may be expected to purchase certain supplies, such as a stethoscope.
  • Exam Costs. Even though it is not required, you will probably want to take the exam to become a certified medical assistant when you complete your courses. Before you can take the test to earn your medical assistant certification, you will have to pay the fees for the exam.