Medical Assistant Programs in the United States: Steps to Follow

Thousands of students attend medical assistant programs in the United States every year and learn about the healthcare industry. In fact, a career as a medical assistant is a great choice for those with the right qualities and skills.

You need to make a lot of considerations when deciding on the right medical assistant program to enroll in. In order to be successful, consider all your options before making any final decisions.

Learn about the top medical assistant programs in the U.S. and discover one that’s right for you based on your learning style and educational goals.

Schooling duration for medical assistant programs?

In general, medical assistant programs require students to complete 900 to 1,500 hours of training, and they typically last between 12 and 18 months. That will include courses like medical billing and coding, anatomy, physiology, first aid/CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), clerical procedures and office management.

Certified Medical Assistants (CMA) and Certified Clinical Medical Assistants (CCMAs) are two certification programs that are highly recommended by the American Association of Medical Assistants.

These certifications are for those who wish to achieve professional status or be recognized as experts in their particular fields. As a result, a high school diploma or GED is required, or a bachelor’s degree, depending on the state.

Overview of Best Medical Assistant Programs

In reality, a professional medical team is incomplete without medical assistants. Because they carry out many tasks that help doctors and other healthcare practitioners provide patients with high-quality care.

These tasks can range from administrative work, such as answering phones and scheduling appointments, to providing basic health care services under a doctor’s supervision.

You may also need to take vital signs (such as blood pressure) and maintain records of patient visits based on the laws in your state. Before you certified by your state or licensed by employer, it is critical to understand the skills you need to get success and the required training.

Based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projections, 36 percent growth in job market for medical assistant by 2016 to 2026.

3 Types of Medical Assistants

The best way to ensure an informed decision regarding your professional future is to know what to expect before enrolling in a medical assistant program. There are three types of medical assistants: clinical, administrative, and research.

It’s helpful to understand that there is over one way to become a medical assistant. Each type of position presents its own set of opportunities and responsibilities, and not all are compatible with every personality type or learning style.

Top Schools

California State University, East Bay

The medical assistant program at California State University, East Bay gives students all the skills they need after graduation to secure the employment.

Undergraduate students can opt for a full program, including specialized courses, practical training and clinical work experience, in only nine months.

It is not necessary to meet any prerequisites in order to apply to the program. Moreover, during their final quarter of training, students are placed within a healthcare center for paid clinical experience.

Graduates of CSU-East Bay receive an Associate of Science degree from one of California’s most respected public universities with a specialization.

Also, secondary teaching credential that may allow them to teach within their schools or work as teachers with other institutions that offer continuing education programs.

Also Read: One-Year Diploma Courses in Canada

Touro University Worldwide, Nevada

Touro University Worldwide is a private institution that offers a top-ranked medical assistant program. If you complete your degree there, you will receive an Associate of Science in medical assisting from Touro University California.

Furthermore, your credits will transfer to Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine for acceptance into its master’s and doctorate programs. Tuition for California residents who are not eligible for financial aid is $5,160 per semester, or $10,320 total.

Besides general studies courses like anatomy and physiology lab, students also complete clinical experiences at local hospitals and clinics. Future graduates of Touro University should have no problem finding a job worldwide.

Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, Anderson

Anyone who wants to become a medical assistant should consider Ivy Tech’s applied science program. Ivy’s on-campus and online curriculum covers everything like anatomy, physiology, and clinical procedures.

Students also receive training in computer applications that can help them become more efficient in their work. That includes billing and documentation software that allows them to enter information into a database.

Although students are expected to gain practical experience by working with doctors or other healthcare professionals, job placement services are available for those who need help to find employment after graduation.

 A degree from Ivy Tech can also lead to several professional certifications, including Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT), Registered Phlebotomy Technician (RPT), and Clinical Lab Scientist Certification.

Clark Atlanta University, Georgia

In fact, Clark Atlanta University is one of only four schools listed here with an AACRAO (Association of American College and Universities) accreditation. This school also has full accreditation from CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs).

It offers a four-year degree that leads to certification as both a medical assistant and phlebotomist. Graduates can choose either full-time or part-time study options. And they’ll have plenty of job opportunities.

There are 23 career-specific programs on campus, as well as a satellite location at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The school also offers online programs, over 20 undergraduate degrees, as well as graduate degrees for adult learners interested in online study.

New York Institute of Technology, Westchester Campus

The medical assistant program at NYIT is approved by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The program takes a hands-on approach to learning, which means you will get plenty of chances to practice on real patients. Plus, you will meet and network with local professionals and professors who are leaders in their field.

By specializing in your studies, you can gain industry credentials like Certified EKG Technician (CET) or Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT).

Both options will help strengthen your resume. Graduates from NYIT’s program also receive continuing education credits so they can keep their skills up-to-date after graduation.

Montgomery College, Rockville Campus

Montgomery College is a four-year community college on a 48 acre campus that opened its doors to students in 1966. It offers a wide variety of educational courses, including medical assistant programs.

The Campus prides itself on being accredited by some of the nation’s most prestigious accreditation bodies, including: Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College (ACCJC), Council on Occupational Education (COE), and NLNAC (National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission).

Students are taught primarily by faculty rather than teaching assistants, which means they get hands-on training at their own pace with fewer disruptions from peers who have already mastered certain skills.

 Students at Montgomery College can pursue a certificate or an associate’s degree in one of three specializations: surgical assisting, diagnostic medical assistant, and phlebotomy.

The program is available to students with no prior work experience or previous training. However, every specialization has explicit requirements that must be met before enrolment.

Surgical Assistants must have a high school diploma or GED, while Phlebotomists are required to have a GED or high school diploma. Also, certification from American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) as either Phlebotomy Technician Level I (PBT I) or II (PBT II).

In addition, diagnostic Medical Assistants require a high school diploma or GED along with certifications from ASCP as PBT I.

American Sentinel University, Colorado Springs Campus

 It is also possible to complete medical assistant schools by doing an online course. Luckily, American Sentinel University features a variety of online options including associates degrees, bachelor’s degrees and even a doctorate degree program.

The college is established by industry professionals who know what it takes to succeed as a medical assistant. And who have seen first-hand how stressful and complicated being a medical professional can be. This knowledge translates into excellent programs that produce real results for students.

Fortis College Online Division, Texas

Fortis College has many courses for aspiring students. The school’s online associate degree program in medical assisting makes it a handy option for many candidates.

Especially those who need a flexible schedule to accommodate work and family obligations. It takes about two years to complete. So, potential students will have plenty of time to get everything together before graduating.

The curriculum includes over 1,200 hours of instruction and covers topics like medical terminology, insurance reimbursement codes, and laboratory procedures.

The cost per credit hour is $324 with an additional $50 registration fee per semester, comparable to other accredited programs. That are both on campus and online.

Basic steps to become a medical assistant

  1. Head to your high school counselor’s office and ask about CNA and medical assistant programs in your region.
  2. Choose which program is suitable for you.
  3. Start volunteering at a hospital or physician’s office near you to learn about what’s involved with patient care before you graduate from high school or college.
  4. Choose a two-year associate degree program that will prepare you for licensure as a CNA or MA after graduation.
  5. Finally, complete your certification, then apply for jobs at hospitals, labs, medical centers, and doctor’s offices wherever you want to work.

This seem like a lot of steps towards career. But from licensing to a job landing as a medical assistant could be conceivable within just two years after completing your training.

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Common Coding Systems Used by Medical Assistants

The majority of medical assistants have trained in CPT and ICD-9 coding. However, the ability to communicate with doctors and other staff members about a patient’s medical condition is essential to a nurse.

These coding systems will be taught to you by top medical assistant programs. By learning these codes, you can save a lot of time in your first year of employment. After that, you will do typing patient information quickly.

Maintaining Accurate Patient Records

Good medical records are essential for helping doctors, and medical assistants remember crucial details about patients’ past health. They also help ensure that everything is accurate and legible, preventing costly errors.

One of the most common mistakes when maintaining patient records is not paying close enough attention to spelling and grammar. To ensure that your notes are clear and grammatically correct, you must spell every word correctly and write every sentence correctly. That will make it easier for someone to understand what you are saying.

The second most common mistake when maintaining patient records is keeping too much information. A person who isn’t familiar with a patient or a patient’s history will probably only need a few critical pieces of information. After all, too much information can make things harder to find.

Ethics & HIPAA Compliance for Healthcare Professionals

Medical assistants may have access to much information on patients, including their medical histories and social security numbers. Therefore, the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requires medical assistants to undergo extensive training to protect patient information.

All HIPAA-compliant medical facilities provide a formal training program that medical assistants must complete before working. Usually, it includes online and on-site components. Additionally, some employers require certification.

As a result, HIPAA-Certified medical assistants should have no problem finding jobs or even starting their businesses at all.

Relationships & Communication with Physicians

The key to a medical assistant’s relationship with a physician is communication. Therefore, your first point of contact with a physician should be through your medical assistant training program. There, you can learn how to communicate appropriately and work as part of a team.

As a result, you will have an advantage over someone who has no experience working in a healthcare setting and does not understand the benefits of working with a team of healthcare professionals.

Career Options for Medical Assistants

Medical assistants (also known as clinical medical assistants) help physicians and other healthcare practitioners run their practices. They perform various tasks, such as scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, organizing files, and filing reports. However you choose to become a medical assistant, these are some of your options:

On-the-Job Training: An internship at an existing practice is one way to gain work experience that can be helpful when applying for jobs.

In addition, new graduates with some college education may qualify for entry-level positions and management roles if they have worked in a clinic setting for several years. Although most jobs don’t require it, students should complete a degree in medical assisting or a related field before beginning an internship or job search.

Online Courses: Distance learning may be ideal for you if you cannot enroll in courses at an accredited institution but still want instruction from seasoned professionals and access to instructional materials like books and audio/video recordings.

Famous occupations for medical assistants (Annual Salary/Education)

Group 01:

Clinical laboratory technologists and technicians$54,180Bachelor’s degree
Nuclear medicine technologists$79,590Associate’s degree
Radiation therapists$86,850Associate’s degree
Radiologic and MRI Technologists$63,710Entry-Level Education
Registered Nurses (RNs)$75,330Bachelor’s degree
Medical Sonographers: Cardiovascular Technologists and Technicians$70,380Entry-Level Education

Group 02:

Psychiatric technicians and aides$33,140Postsecondary certificate
Dental Assistants$41,180Postsecondary
Physical therapist assistants and aides$49,970Associate’s degree
Dental Hygienists$77,090Associate’s degree
Phlebotomists  $36,320Postsecondary

Group 03:

Pharmacy Technicians$35,100High school diploma
Occupational Therapy Assistants and Aides$60,950Associate’s degree
Nursing Assistants and Orderlies$30,830Complete a state-approved education program
Medical Records and Health Information Specialists$45,240Postsecondary
Licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and licensed vocational nurses (LVNs)$48,820Postsecondary

Nevada US state

Five top medical assisting programs to consider in Nevada

Various programs are available in Nevada–certificate programs, associate degree programs, diploma programs, and bachelor’s degree programs.

Unless you know what kind of career you want, it can be challenging to know where to start. Hence, becoming a certified medical assistant could open up plenty of new opportunities for you in Nevada. Here are five top medical assisting programs in Nevada:

  1. University of Nevada-Reno, Reno
  2. Western Nevada College, Carson City
  3. Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno
  4. The University of Phoenix-Nevada Campus, Las Vegas
  5. Western Institute of Health and Technology at Sierra Nevada College.

Community colleges & others

Many community colleges and private institutions offer medical assistant programs in Nevada. A list of schools with programs is available below:

  • Mesa College – Mesquite,
  • Southern Nevada Junior College – Henderson,
  • Eagle Ridge Hospital – Las Vegas,
  • Desert Research Institute – Las Vegas,
  • Mountain View Hospital/Medical Center – near Las Vegas, also
  • Urgent Care Clinic – near Las Vegas.

What are accredited medical assistant programs in Nevada?

Nevada offers over 20 accredited medical assistant programs at community colleges and technical schools. If you complete a program and take an exam, you can earn certification.

For example, students completing a Certified Coding Specialist (CCS) training program can become certified upon passing their exam with only one year of hands-on experience or two years of formal education.

How do I become a certified medical assistant in Nevada?

Becoming a certified medical assistant (CMA) is an excellent way to enter Nevada’s growing healthcare industry. To become a CMA, you’ll need to complete an accredited program and pass one of two certification exams. The next step is applying for your license.

So, you can apply for a medical assistant license by providing required documentation to your state’s board of health care examiners and paying applicable fees.

Nevada’s Board of Health Care Examiners (NBME) will review all documents submitted and determine whether you are eligible for licensure. If so, they will issue your official license and any necessary business permits or certificates of authority required by federal law or regulation.

What Are the Medical Assistant Salaries in Nevada?

According to national salary survey data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), clinical medical assistants earned an average annual salary in Nevada:

  • $34,150 to $44,040 in Las Vegas,
  • $36,980 to $41,990 in Carson City,
  • $36,330 to $47,050 in Reno.
  • $70,380 for EKG technicians,
  • $63,710 for radiology technologists, and
  • $16.72 per hour for surgical and medical assisting administrators.

These numbers represent averages and can vary depending on location and experience level, among other factors.

How much does medical assistant training in Nevada cost on average?

Program cost depends on many factors, including where you live, what kind of program you want to go through, and whether you qualify for any financial aid.

On average, however, associate degree programs in Nevada are from $4,000 a year for full-time students. Costs can include tuition and books or just tuition.

Associate degrees often range from about 1-2 years, although many people find them valuable enough to extend for a bachelor’s degree.

What is better, CMA or CCMA?

These are two different credentials that require varying levels of education and training. The CMA is a credential with national standards, meaning you can transfer your certification between states. For example, in Nevada, these credentials require about 1,800 hours of training at an accredited school for about 21 months.

The CCMA is a credential specific to Nevada, which means you’ll have to re-certify every year. So, it requires 40 hours of continuing education but doesn’t include strengths such as medical law and ethics or diagnostic testing. Both credentials are considered entry-level positions that prepare students for jobs in labs, physician offices, and hospitals.

Which is better, CMA or RMA?

Although both certifications are highly similar, they do differ slightly. Hence, a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) focuses more on general medical practice.

A Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) is geared more towards administrative and clinical tasks. So which one is better? That depends.

If you’re interested in working as an office manager or front desk attendant with minimal patient exposure, then a CMA certification may be proper for you. So, if you want to work directly with patients as an assistant, RMA certification might suit your needs better.

Regardless of which option you choose to pursue, CMA or RMA, make sure that your chosen program satisfies Nevada state requirements.


The medical assistant profession is an excellent choice for a student fascinated with health care, who wants to work with professionals, and be on hand to assist nurses and doctors.

In fact, getting your Certified Professional title or working towards becoming a Registered Nurse, learning about medical assistant programs. So, it can help you prepare yourself for those chances.

The jobs outlook is promising, with tons of prospect because of growth and lack of adequate supply. This blog should have provided you with some information on how to start a career as a medical assistant.

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