If you have ever wanted to work in the healthcare industry without the hassle of attending years of schooling, you might have heard of medical assistance.
Medical Assistants are healthcare workers that provide support services to physicians, nurses, and other healthcare workers. Medical assistant job duties generally include clinical and administrative tasks, which can range from giving injections to answering calls and scheduling appointments.
You might be wondering how to become a medical assistant, and whether there is a medical assistant degree and if there is, is it required?
Let us find out the answers to these questions and more.
So, do medical assistant degrees exist?
To answer briefly, yes!
Even though medical assistant degrees are generally not required, more and more employers are recently preferring certified candidates over uncertified ones.
What Are Medical Assistant Degrees?
You can earn a medical assistant degree by enrolling in a program at a technical college. These degrees are typically associate’s degrees, which you receive after successfully completing the college’s medical assistant program. The duration of these programs can last up to 2 years.
During your studies, you will cover various subjects such as clinical science, medical terminology, and medical coding. The program will provide you with opportunities to learn and practice these skills in person.
Additionally, you will likely participate in a medical assistant externship, allowing you to gain valuable hands-on experience in a real healthcare setting.
The cost of medical assistant degree programs can vary greatly depending on the institution you choose. On average, the fees may range from $10,000 to $30,000.
Are Medical Assistant Degrees Required?
Becoming a medical assistant does not necessarily require a specific degree. As long as you have a high school diploma or its equivalent, you can pursue a career in this field.
In fact, on-the-job training can provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge, even if you have no prior experience or certification.
Also see: How to get Medical Assistant jobs with no experience
However, it’s worth noting that having additional education beyond the minimum requirements can enhance your prospects when applying for medical assistant positions. Employers often view applicants with higher education more favorably during the hiring process.
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree, a certificate program, or a medical assistant degree can increase your chances of securing a job. Both medical assistant degrees and certificates can lead to similar employment opportunities in the field.
Read more on: Medical Assistant Educational Requirements
Alternatives To Getting A Medical Assistant Degree
When it comes to costs and program length, obtaining a medical assistant degree may not be the most suitable choice for everyone. However, there are alternative pathways that can still provide a solid foundation for a successful career as a medical assistant.
Let us take a look at two such alternatives-
Community Colleges or Trade Schools
Community college programs are designed to prepare students for a rewarding career as a medical assistant. These programs offer a structured curriculum that encompasses important areas such as clinical skills and administrative assistance.
Additionally, they equip students with the necessary knowledge and preparation to pursue certification by taking the medical assistant certification exam.
The cost and duration of certificate programs at community colleges can vary depending on the specific institution. On average, these programs typically span around 10 months, providing a relatively concise timeframe for students to acquire the medical assistant skills and qualifications needed for a medical assistant role.
Even though community colleges and trade schools are better than an associate’s degree, they also have some disadvantages, such as:
- They are often full-time programs, which means you will have to attend classes on a schedule
- These programs take up to a year to complete
- Although they are cheaper than an associate’s degree, they are still expensive for students, costing around $10,000
- Apart from tuition fees, you will also need to bear additional expenses such as the cost of travel, accommodation, etc.
Online Medical Assistant Training Programs
Choosing an online training program is highly recommended. Online medical assistant training programs offer significant advantages in terms of their duration and cost.
Compared to medical assistant degree programs, online programs have a shorter completion time, typically taking only a few months. This enables you to swiftly embark on your career while covering the same content as other program types.
The cost of online programs can vary, but they generally align with other medical assistant programs.
However, due to their shorter duration, online programs provide excellent value for your investment. Many of the most affordable medical assistant training programs can be found online.
Is Getting a Medical Assistant Degree Worth It?
In short, no!
Obtaining a medical assistant degree may not be the most suitable choice for everyone, considering factors such as cost and program length.
The cost of programs can significantly differ based on the institution type, so it is crucial to thoroughly research and identify programs that align with your budget and career aspirations.
Degree programs offered at community colleges generally have a longer duration compared to other options. This structured approach may be preferable for individuals who prefer a more paced and structured learning style.
On the other hand, online programs offer a quicker pace, which may be appealing to those seeking a more expedited path.
However, a university certificate is important for aspiring medical assistants since it builds trust with employers by demonstrating that you have the right skills and knowledge for the job role.
The best way to achieve this is to go for Preppy’s online training program, which is in collaboration with Auburn University. This online course is much faster, you can complete it within 4 to 6 months, is self-paced, and interactive.
Plus, it is the cheapest, it costs only $1599, which is significantly less as compared to other alternatives for completing your training program.
Additionally, once you complete your course, online courses will offer you certifications from accredited universities, which will help you improve your CV.
Also read: Registered Medical Assistant
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