September 23, 2023

Get the Facts on Medical Assistant Programs

  • August 25, 2022
  • 4 min read
Get the Facts on Medical Assistant Programs

Medical assistant programs come in a variety of forms. There are vocational programs where you can gain the knowledge and abilities needed to work as a medical assistant without earning college credit. There are other programs offered by community colleges where you can either complete your training and receive a certificate (no college credit) or an associate’s degree (College Credit). In addition, if understaffed, certain hospitals and care facilities will have an on-the-job training program. We’ll talk about each of these possibilities.

Vocational Training

The fastest way to train as a medical assistant is through vocational medical assistant schools. Most vocational training courses last no more than a year. These courses typically last six months in the classroom, followed by six months of laboratory work.

Many high schools will offer an assistant medical curriculum for high school juniors and seniors who want to get ready for the workforce. If you are in this age bracket, research the vocational programs offered at your high school. If your high school offers this program, you might be able to receive the training for nothing.

You can still look for vocational programs even if you graduated from high school or have your GED. Statewide vocational schools are available in many states, including New York. Most states have systems set up to allow you to take out loans or receive financial help, and the cost of the programs is typically little.

Neighborhood Colleges

Medical Assistant Programs can be found at most community colleges. These programs often offer two choices. The first choice is the quickest; you can complete it in a year and receive your medical assistant programs in San Antonio. A two-year Associate’s degree, which will get you college credit, is typically the second choice.

The first choice, a certificate for medical assistants lasting a year, is typically equivalent to a vocational program. You will learn in a combination of classroom settings and practical lab settings. Everything you will need to know to perform your job is included in this curriculum.

I would advise choosing the Associate’s program if you believe you will want to attend school in the future or that you might want to become a nurse. Your Associate’s degree will set you apart from entry-level candidates who only possess a certificate. In addition, promoting your career will be easier if you have a degree and additional years of experience. Typically, the Associate’s curriculum involves 2-3 semesters of in-class instruction and 1-2 semesters of practical laboratory training.

However, there are many Medical Assistant job opportunities, so you should have no trouble obtaining a career with just the certificate if you don’t intend to attend college shortly.

With either choice, you might receive assistance with job placement as most institutions have career centers. In addition, there is so much demand for this profession that employers may visit your school before you graduate to recruit you.

Occupational Training

Due to the high demand for medical assistants, certain hospitals and organizations would hire those without any prior experience. Typically, if you are employed in this manner, you will undergo a brief training period of one to two months. You might receive a certificate if you finish the program, but it’s only suitable for that job. 

When searching for a new position, you can discuss your experience and training, but you typically cannot list it as education. You will likely earn less money if you choose this route. It will be advantageous if you intend to remain employed with the organization, as your work experience will be helpful while looking for your next position. As long as you have two or more years of work experience, the next employer will probably ignore your lack of education.

Which Route is Ideal?

The best course of action truly depends on you and your own objectives, if that makes sense. On-the-job training can be ideal if you need to fill a position quickly and don’t mind working for the same employer for several years.

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