Find A Medical Assistant School Near You!

Start Your Journey As A Medical Assistant

You may be wondering what is a medical assistant, and what role do they play in the health care industry? When you become a medical assistant you could perform administrative or clinical tasks that keep medical and health practices running smoothly. They typically work in a medical office or other healthcare facilities. Other tasks could include answering phones, making appointments, taking patients’ vital signs, and much more.

With the baby boomers getting older, there’s an increasing need for preventative medical services. these services are generally performed by private physicians.  As private practices expand, the need for more medical assistants will also grow. In fact, the BLS states the total number of new jobs is expected to grow at a rate of 19% through 2029 which is much faster than average for all occupations!

Online Schools

See our top list of online programs. See which schools offering medical assisting programs aim to prepare you for certification exams or offer externships.

Certificate Programs

Earning a medical assistant certificate or medical assistant diploma is often a popular educational option for prospective medical assistants, but what exactly is the difference between the two?

Associate Degrees

See our top list of schools offering associate programs that could help you become a certified medical assistant.

Medical Assistant FAQs

How do I Become a Medical Assistant?

Some level of medical assistant training may be required before an employer would want to hire you. According to the BLS, either a medical assisting degree, diploma, or certificate is typical. Programs for medical assistants are usually available at vocational schools, community colleges, and even online. A certificate or diploma program may take about one year to complete, while earning an associate’s degree could take around two years for a full-time student.

What Classes Are Part of a Medical Assistant Program?

Typical programs cover areas like medical terminology, human anatomy, and other essential knowledge areas for a medical assisting career. Programs also generally include both classroom and laboratory work.

Are Medical Assistants Certified?

Certification for medical assistants is also optional. BUT, some employers may prefer or require it. To earn certification, you may need to graduate from an approved medical assisting program, pass an exam, or do both.

Common certs are a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National Healthcareer Association.  Registered Medical Assistants (RMAs) obtain their certification from a nonprofit agency called the American Medical Technologists (AMT)

What are MA Duties?

Medical assistants duties cover various aspects of patient care. Tasks may include recording vital signs, prepping treatment rooms, asking patients questions and giving medication as directed by a physician.

Where to Medical Assistants Work?

MAs work in many healthcare settings. Some may work in hospitals, while most work in physicians’ offices. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

LocationJobsHourly Median WageAnnual Median Wage
Physicians’ Offices408,350$17.06$35,490
Offices of other Health Practitioners58,730$15.65$32,540
Outpatient Care Centers57,930$18.84$39,190
Facilities for the Elderly14,930$14.27$29,690
2018 Data

Explore Other Allied Health Careers


Certified Nurse Assistants, also known as nursing aides, give basic care and help with daily living activities. 


Medical Records Technician

Medical Records Technicians use classification systems to categorize and code patient information.

Dental Assistant

Dental Assistants help dentists with procedures and perform the following four tasks: polishing, sealant application, fluoride application, and topical anesthetics application. 

Pharmacy Technicians

Pharmacy Technicians help licensed pharmacists in dispensing medication. They answer phones, package prescriptions, and process insurance claims. 

Surgical Technicians

Surgical Technicians assist during surgeries. They prep operating rooms, count instruments before surgery, pass sterile supplies to doctors during surgery, and prepare patients for surgery.

Radiologic Technologists

Radiologic Technologists operate diagnostic imaging equipment to do things such as x rays. They follow doctors’ orders regarding what areas of the bodies to image.