How to Get Started?

As discussed above, your entire career depends on the medical assistant program you choose. So, it is essential to do thorough research before enrolling in any medical assistant school. The process is a little bit exhausting but worthwhile as you will be dedicating a lot of time and energy and paying a considerable amount of money to become a medical assistant.

Follow the below-given guide and get prepared for your dream career.

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Length and Structure of Medical Assistant Programs

The shortest medical assistant program is a certificate that can be completed in 9-10 months. You must go for the certification program if you want to start a medical assisting job in a short span of time.

It takes 1 year to complete the diploma. The medical assistant diploma program covers all the topics that are included in the certificate program, but in detail. The benefit of choosing a diploma over certificate is that you can leverage the credits earned in diploma to complete your associate’s degree.

If you want to improve your employability, you can enroll in a 2-year associate’s degree program. This program offers additional courses in biology and legal aspects of healthcare. It also gives you exposure to lab experiences.

Only a few medical assistant programs are available beyond the associate’s degree. You can advance your career and attain supervisory or senior positions by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in health information management, medical office administration, or other disciplines.

Finding the Best Medical Assistant Programs/Schools

Keep the following points in mind while researching the medical assistant programs:



Ensure that the medical assistant program you are enrolling in is accredited by a recognized entity such as Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Pursuing training from an accredited school offers you the following benefits:

  • The accredited school allows you to transfer your credits to other schools for pursuing higher education.
  • You can appear for the national certification examination and obtain medical assistant certification.
  • You can get access to federal financial aid to cover your school expenses.

Student Support

Check how much the institute is open to students’ welfare and well-being, and if it provides the following support services:

  • Counseling and mental health support
  • Assistance with the financial aid process
  • Mentoring and academic guidance
  • Cultural trips and events
  • International student support (visas and immigration)

Retention and Graduation Rates

Retention rate is the percentage of students who enrolled in a school for the first time and choose to continue with the same school for the next year. In other words, retention rate measures student persistence (how many students stayed with the program after enrollment).

On the other hand, graduation rate measures program completion. It indicates how many students leave the school/institute with a degree within 4 or 6 years.

The program is worthwhile if it has high retention and graduation rates.


Scholarships and Other Financial Aids

The medical assistant program cost includes not only tuition fees but also several other expenses such as transportation, books, and supplies, etc. You can cover some of your expenses through grants, scholarships, or other financial aid. So, before getting your name registered in the program, check if it provides financial aid or not.


Class Size

The smaller the class size, the better attention you will get from your instructor. Therefore, enquire about the teacher-student ratio.



Confirm if the program offers an internship or not. The internship provides you hands-on experience and hones your skills.


Placement Services

Ensure that the program you are enrolling in offers job placement assistance. Contact the Admissions Representative and enquire what percentage of graduates find a full-time job after completing graduation from their program.

Types of Medical Assistant Programs



Certificate and Diploma

The certificate and diploma are the fastest way to enter the workforce. As these programs are of short duration (9 months to 1 year), they save you both time and money. You can earn a certificate through technical or vocational schools. The coursework emphasizes on some targeted topics such as medical terminology, laboratory procedures, office administration, and medical billing.


  • The fastest way to become a medical assistant
  • Short duration
  • Time and money saving
  • The credits earned can be transferred to complete the associate’s degree

Associate's Degree

The associate’s degree programs are generally of 2 years. Along with targeted topics, this program covers some general education topics such as pharmacology, human anatomy, and physiology, office practices, etc. The associate’s degree in medical assistant can be earned through community colleges.


  • Provides a broad knowledge of the field
  • The credits earned can be transferred to complete the bachelor’s degree
  • Start your career with a high salary

Online Medical Assistant Programs

Online medical assistant training programs are the best options for those who can’t attend the on-campus programs due to geographical constraints, family commitments, or other reasons. You just need a computer and high-speed internet to pursue online medical assistant programs.


  • These programs offer you more flexibility
  • Take classes at your convenience
  • Saves you money in transportation, uniform, tuition fee, etc.
  • Videos, webinars, and other online study resources make learning easy
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5 Best Medical Assistant Programs in the US

Looking for the best medical assisting programs in the USA? Here, we have listed the best 5 among many.


Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College uses innovative technologies, techniques, and theories to make meaningful experiences for students. The college offers a supportive and engaging environment that encourages students to accomplish their professional as well as personal goals.

Address: 1019 South Knowles Avenue, New Richmond, Wisconsin 54017
Course Offered: A 2-Semester Medical Assistant Program
Key Highlight: The Medical Assistant program of the college is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. The curriculum of the program includes pharmacology for allied health, human body in health and disease, and medical assistant practicum. You can transfer your WITC credits to a 4-year college in Wisconsin to complete your bachelor's degree.


Pima Medical Institute

The institute is providing quality healthcare education in the western United States from the last 45 years. The institute focuses on developing skills in students that healthcare professionals want in their employees. The qualified staff here strives to bring innovation in their teaching methodologies.

Address: 13610 North Black Canyon Highway, Phoenix, Arizona 85029
Course Offered: Medical Assistant Certificate Program
Key Highlight: The program offers you hands-on experience in real-world scenarios in their medical assistant labs. After completing the program from this college, you will be able to correctly interpret the instructions of physicians, record vital signs and take medical histories, and a lot more.


Bryant & Stratton College

Bryant & Stratton College offers the most appropriate academic path and the best career direction to students. All the programs develop workplace skills and career-specific competencies. Along with on-campus classes, the college also provides online classes. Students can also opt for evening and weekend classes.

Address: 7805 Oswego Road, Liverpool, New York 13090
Course Offered: Medical Assisting Associate Degree
Key Highlight: The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. The program is designed to equip students with psychomotor and cognitive skills and prepare them for a rewarding career in clinics, hospitals, and other medical settings.


Keiser University

Keiser University follows “student-first” philosophy and gives emphasis to academic excellence and equal learning opportunities for students. The career-focused curriculum delivered by the university is evaluated by statewide employers. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Address: 2600 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, Florida 33409
Course Offered: Associate of Science Degree in Medical Assisting
Key Highlight: The program is focused on developing students’ skills to perform administrative, clerical, and clinical duties. It also prepares students for the Registered Medical Assistant exam organized by the American Medical Technologists.


Southeast Community College

Southeast Community College is a 2-year public institution providing more than 50 programs (degree, diploma, and certificate) in various disciplines. Students can avail the Academic Transfer program of the college to obtain high education at very affordable rates. The small class size lets instructors pay more attention to each student.

Address: 4771 West Scott Road, Beatrice, Nebraska 68310
Course Offered: Diploma in Medical Assisting
Key Highlight: The diploma program is designed with an aim to prepare competent medical assistants for employment in various healthcare settings. The program can be completed in 3 terms. Students spend 225 hours practicing in a physician’s office, during the final term. It is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.


Carrington College - Sacramento Campus

The Sacramento campus of Carrington College comes with LCD projectors-equipped classrooms and a patient care simulation lab with four beds. There is also a general tutoring lab, a nursing laboratory, and computer laboratories. The Student Success Center is essentially a library with computers, journals, textbooks, and reference materials. Students can rest in the Carrington College break room.

Address: 8909 Folsom Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95826, United States

Course Offered: Medical Assisting Campus-Based/ Blended Certificate Program and Associate of Science Degree Program

Accreditation: CAAHEP

Key Highlight: The Medical Assisting program at the Sacramento campus takes as little as 36 weeks or 9 months to complete. The course is 750 hours long, with a neat division of 415 lecture hours, 155 lab, and 180 externship hours. Graduates receive a Certificate of Achievement after passing the exam, which they can use to get the Associate of Science Degree online. They are also eligible to sit for the CCMA exam.


Minnesota West Community and Technical College

Minnesota West Community and Technical College holds their Medical Assistant courses at the Luverne campus. Originally a hospital until 2005, Sanford opened a new hospital and clinic to let community students use the old one as a learning ground. Students are admitted in small groups and get hands-on training throughout the semester.

Address: 311 North Spring St, Luverne, MN – 56156

Course Offered: Medical Assistant Diploma and Medical Assistant Associate of Applied Science Degree

Accreditation: CAAHEP

Key Highlight: The Medical Assistant Diploma program earns students 44 credits while the Medical Assistant A.A.S Degree achieves 60 credits. The A.A.S degree is a stepping stone for achieving a Bachelor’s degree in other public and private institutions. Students have to get a minimum of C grade in both programs to get the certificate. The certification allows students to take the American Association of Medical Assistants Certification Exam. The two courses last three semesters.

Medical Assistant Program Finder Near You

Looking for a medical assistant program near you? Your search stops here! Use the below tool to find your ideal program that perfectly matches with your budget and aspiration. Search the program by name, location, and degree type. So, don’t think too hard and get started!

Search Medical Assistant Programs

Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Medical Assistant Classes and Coursework

A comprehensive medical assistant program comprises topics from medical coding and medical office management to healthcare privacy law and ethics. In a nutshell, you will study the following:

  • Clinical procedures (e.g., specimen collection, venipuncture, EKG, etc.)
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Pharmacology
  • Phlebotomy
  • Biology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Patient care
  • Medical coding
  • Medical computer applications
  • Workplace safety

The medical assistant practicum program provides training to students in a private clinic, health care service center, or a hospital. You will learn to measure physical functions, prepare patients for different tests, assist doctors in diagnostic examinations, etc.

Career and Future Job Outlook

The future looks promising for medical assistants as the jobs for these professionals are expected to grow by 16% from 2021 to 2031, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. During these 10 years, there will be 123,000 job openings for medical assistants. The reforms in the healthcare industry and the increasing population of baby boomers are some of the major reasons for the high demand of these professionals.

They can assume several related careers, such as dental hygienists, dental assistants, occupational therapy assistants, pharmacy technicians, etc. After gaining some work experience and achieving higher education, you can attain managerial and supervisory roles.

Written by : Casey Gardner

Casey Gardner is both a healthcare support professional and an accomplished content creator.  She has been working as a certified health care professional with marketable skills as a physician assistant,  and a qualified medical assistant for last two decades. She has dedicated her nursing career to produce over hundreds of content pieces since 2001, and her work has been published both online as well as offline.

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