A medical assisting certificate program can prepare individuals for a career in a wide variety of healthcare settings. Students who enroll in a certificate school will be tasked with completing a diverse list of courses, giving them the tools, skills, and knowledge to succeed as a medical assistant. Besides completing a formal education program from an accredited institution, medical assistants may need to pass a certification exam to become eligible for more advanced aspects of the job. This includes the ability to administer injections, take x-rays, and more.
Benefits of Medical Assisting Certificate Programs
Unlike associate’s degree programs that can take up to 2 years to complete, medical assistant certificate training, as well as diploma programs, last anywhere from 6 weeks to a year. This allows students to complete their education and begin working more quickly, saving both time and money. However, some advanced jobs may require a higher degree, although most medical assistants begin with a certificate.
Beyond saving time, medical assistant certificate schools also offer convenience. For example, several schools exist entirely online. Unlike traditional certificate programs, online education involves completing coursework and exams in a digital setting. This can be done on a personal computer in any location with a reliable internet connection. Students benefit from having a more flexible schedule and the ability to learn from home.
Choosing a Medical Assistant Certificate School
Before enrolling in a medical assisting certificate program, applicants must keep several things in mind.
- Suggested Education Background: To begin with, it is a good idea to prepare for a certificate program by taking courses like biology and anatomy in high school.
- Decide on a Location: In addition, students must decide which type of certificate program they will enroll in. For example, there are programs at community colleges, larger universities, and online. Applicants must decide which environment will work best for them.
- Accreditation: Finding an accredited school is also important. While not required in every state, some employers will only hire applicants with a certificate from an accredited institution. There are two organizations that offer accreditation for medical assisting programs, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Several certification exams also require applicants to have a certificate or degree from an accredited institution.
Medical Assisting Certificate Coursework
Most medical assisting training programs involve coursework like medical terminology, insurance filing, bookkeeping, and more. Because many medical assistants handle both healthcare and administrative work, certificate programs have a diverse and varied last of classes. However, because certificate programs are generally take less than a year to finish, they usually do not require students to complete general education courses like math and liberal arts. In addition, the focus in certificate programs is usually on the administrative aspect of the job.
Some medical assisting certificate programs include training for specialized areas of the job description. For example, a program may offer courses related to fields like optometry or podiatry. While courses like this are not for everyone, students who wish to pursue work in a specific area of focus may benefit from these options.
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