How Long Will It Take To Become A Certified Medical Assistant

We’ve all heard of medical assistants – but how much do we actually know what they really do? The job of a medical assistant is related to cooperation with doctors. Namely, they perform a wide range of things related to helping patients, performing minor procedures – as well as various administrative work. Many consider this to be a good and lucrative business. That is true, but this job is also very responsible. Therefore, the quality of education of these staff is extremely important. And how much time do we need if we want to educate for this profession and become a certified medical assistant? We will try to answer that question.

The Job Of A Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are part of the staff in health clinics. They work together with doctors and provide various health-administrative services. This means that the job description of the medical assistant includes collecting samples from the laboratory, explaining the treatment to patients, preparing patients for a checkup – but also answering the phone, filling the insurance forms, scheduling appointments, keeping medical records, etc. Apart from education, this job requires certain qualities. Some of these qualities relate to communication skills, as medical assistants will be in contact with patients. They also need to be well organized as such a job boils down to multitasking. Thus, the daily responsibilities of medical assistants are numerous, significant – and can change from day to day. Therefore, this job must be done by a person who is adaptable, flexible, well organized – and who has a good level of communication.

How To Become A Certified Medical Assistant?

So, we can understand from all this that the job of a medical assistant is actually a multidisciplinary job – and that candidates can be employed in different healthcare institutions. However, you will most often find them in dispensaries, smaller clinics, doctor’s offices, and other outpatient facilities. Today, most employers prefer certified medical assistants (CMA). What does this mean in practice? These are medical assistants who have received an AAMA certificate or a diploma from another accredited institution. And how much time do you need to become a certified medical assistant?

How Long Will It Take You To Become A Medical Assistant?

If you have been thinking of building your further career in this direction, then you are surely interested in how long it takes to educate yourself for this job. Although it’s a bit of a tough question because the timing can vary – we can still say it’s a period between one and two years. If your ambition is to become a medical assistant, you must know that this involves many steps – from high school graduation, through medical assistant training, to taking the certification exam.

What Type Of Training Can You Expect?

To become a medical assistant, you must complete one of the medical assistant training programs. However, some candidates opt for on-the-job training. However, the reality is that employers value more candidates who have completed the medical care program and have a certificate. The certificate definitely gives you an advantage when looking for a job. According to, when it comes to medical care training programs – you can do it in several different places like vocational schools, educational institutes, etc. After that, you can get an associate diploma or take a certificate. Of course, the duration of the education itself will depend on your ambitions and affinities – as well as on whether you want to take the certificate or not.

What Does It Take You To Start Working As A Medical Assistant?

You can’t get a job as a medical assistant without fulfilling the basic conditions. Here are the conditions you must meet to study and practice this profession.

Completed High School Or Possession Of GED: It Takes You 4 Years

Of course, without finishing high school or having a GED, you can’t even apply for a medical assistant program. It is recommended that during secondary education you focus more on natural sciences – such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, or physics. Also, you can acquire additional knowledge by volunteering on weekends or during school breaks in a clinic. There, you will learn a lot of things through practice that will be useful to you later in your education.

Medical Assistant Training Program: It Takes You 1-2 Years

Completing a post-secondary program depends on where you are studying and where you will be working. For example, the American Association of Medical Assistants requires a completed post-secondary program before you can take the certification testing. Namely, they believe that only if you have a degree in medical care from an accredited institution – then you can take the certificate. Of course, there is a list of accredited institutions that can provide you with this program. The teaching itself within these programs involves a lot of professional classes such as anatomy, pharmacology, first aid, laboratory techniques, etc. You can also expect administrative classes such as accounting, patient insurance processing, record keeping, informatics, and computer science, etc. During their education in accredited institutions, students also have an internship in some of the health institutions.

Taking The Certification Exam

After completing the training within an accredited institution, you need to take a certification exam. In this exam, you can expect 200 questions from different areas that fall within the domain of what you have learned and mastered through training within the medical assistant program. Candidates who have passed the training of an accredited institution have the right to take the certification exam, and you can take the exam three times. What is interesting is the fact that you can apply for the certification exam a month before the end of the medical assistant program. After passing the exam, you will receive an official certificate within two to three months.


So, in the end, we can conclude that this is a promising profession – but you have to put a lot of effort and time into it. However, when you take into account the fact that this is the required job, and that more than half of the candidates pass the certification exam from the first attempt – the effort is definitely worth it.