Become a Medical Assistant in 6 Weeks

6 week online_medical_assistant_programsIf you think that you would enjoy a career in the medical field, but don’t have the means or the desire for years and years of expensive education, consider becoming a medical assistant.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a medical assistant is $33,610 ($16.16 / hour), and the need for medical assistants is expected to grow by 23% during the next ten years.

What Do Medical Assistants Do?

Medical Assistants help with both clinical and administrative tasks in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and a variety of other health care facilities. On the clinical side of things, they

  • Assist physicians or nurses during patient exams
  • Draw blood for laboratory tests
  • Perform routine tests such as EKGs
  • Dress wounds and remove sutures
  • Take patient histories and record a patient’s vital signs
  • Give injections
  • Educate patients about at-home care and how to take their medications

On the administrative side of things, they

  • Welcome patients and help them with all the required paperwork
  • Answer the phones
  • Schedule procedures and surgeries
  • Update patient records
  • Correspond with insurance companies: code insurance forms and obtain pre-authorizations
  • Handle accounting, bookkeeping, and billing responsibilities

What training is available for medical assistants?

It is possible to be hired as a medical assistant with only a High School Diploma and learn on the job. However, most employers prefer to hire those with a post-secondary certificate or degree.

Accelerated medical assistant programs are available online that allow you to become a medical assistant in six weeks. Other fast medical assistant programs allow you to start earning in less than two months. Still, other programs require six months to two years to complete. Generally speaking, the longer your training course, the higher your starting salary. Many of the longer programs offer certificates and/or an associate degree.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies accredits five certifications for medical assistants:

  • CMA (Certified Medical Assistant awarded by the American Association of Medical Assistants)
  • CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant awarded by the National Healthcareer Association)
  • RMA (Registered Medical Assistant awarded by American Medical Technologists)
  • CMAA (Certified Medical Administrative Assistant awarded by the National Healthcareer Association)
  • NCMA (National Certified Medical Assistant awarded by the National Center for Competency Testing)

State requirements for medical assistants differ. In order to practice as a medical assistant, some states may require that you have graduated from an accredited training program, passed an exam, or a combination of the two. Before you begin a training program, contact your state board of medicine for their exact requirements.

What type of training is best for you?

Before choosing a program, you need to decide whether accelerated medical assistant programs are right for you, or whether a one or two-year course at a local community college is a better fit. You should definitely consider fast medical assistant programs if you want to be employable as soon as possible and if you can devote enough time to learn and keep up with all the assignments.

You also need to decide whether you prefer online instruction or a regular classroom setting. Online programs are best for people whose schedules need to be flexible, and who are highly self-motivated. They also work very well for people who learn best at their own pace where they can go over and over the material until they learn it.

Regardless of your learning style, your financial constraints, and the time you have to devote to your studies, there is a medical assistant program that is right for you.

Before enrolling in any courses, especially those offering six-week medical assistant programs, you should always check with the Better Business Bureau and the accrediting agencies listed earlier in this article. You should also check the school’s graduation/completion rate, as well as their student’s employment rate following graduation.

If you are uncomfortable with any of the reviews or statistics, just keep looking! Listed below are examples of some of the well-known medical assistant programs.

6-Week Medical Assistant Program

Saint Augustine’s School of Medical Assistants

St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants has a high presence on the web and offers six-week medical assistant programs. Their program has no deadlines nor time limits, allowing you to work at your own pace. Most students finish the course in 6 to 8 weeks. Upon completion, you will receive a certificate. The cost of the course is $1,415.

St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants is accredited by the NACB (National Accreditation and Certification Board). However, the NACB accredits alternative holistic health practitioner programs, not specifically medical assistant programs. Before attending this school, be sure that potential employers will recognize their training and certificate.

Accelerated Medical Assisting Programs – 4, 6, 24-month programs

Career Step’s Medical Assistant with Externship program—4 months

With Career Step’s fast online medical assistant programs you will be prepared to take the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) exam. The program included 492 hours of online course material. Upon successful completion of your course material, you are required to complete a 130-hour clinical externship.

This 622-hour program is designed to be completed in 4 months if you study full-time. It also allows you to study at your own pace, so you will have a total of 12 months to complete it.

During the course, you will receive the following training.

  • Microsoft Office skills
  • Healthcare reimbursement
  • Basic anatomy
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical office procedures
  • Routine patient care
  • Clinical patient care
  • Medical office administration
  • Phlebotomy
  • EKG testing

The entire cost of the course is $3,599 which includes 12-month access to online training, one on one help from trainers and tech support, a 130-hour externship, and a voucher to take the CCMA certification exam.

Emily Griffith Technical College—6 months

Emily Griffith Technical College is located in Denver, Colorado and offers an on-campus medical assisting program that prepares students for both clinical and administrative work. Upon completion of this program, students are prepared to take the Registered Medical Assistant exam.

The approximate cost of this program is $6,221. Additional costs for books and fees may also apply. There are no application fees and no obligation to attend if you are accepted. Federal Aid (FAFSA) and Pell grants are available.

Emily Griffith Technical College is just one of the hundreds of public and private institutions that offer fast and affordable training as a medical assistant. If you learn best in a classroom setting search for medical assistant programs in your state. If they qualify for FAFSA, you can be sure that they offer an accredited degree. If they do not qualify for FAFSA, be certain before you register that their certificates will be accepted by your future employers.

Penn Foster College Medical Assistant Associate Degree—2 years

This is a 4-semester associate degree program that also prepares you to sit for 4 industry-standard certifications.

  • RMA (Registered Medical Assistant awarded by American Medical Technologists)
  • CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant awarded by the National Healthcareer Association)
  • NCMA (National Certified Medical Assistant awarded by the National Center for Competency Testing)
  • CMAC (Clinical Medical Assistant Certification awarded by the American Medical Certification Association)

The curriculum for this program is divided among 4 semesters and includes courses specific to the medical assistant program and well as general education courses which will qualify you for an associate’s degree.

  • Semester 1—14 credits: Introduction to Allied Health, Information Literacy, Computer Applications, English Composition, Law, Ethics, and confidentiality in Allied Health, Medical Terminology
  • Semester 2—16 credits: Nutrition, Anatomy and Physiology 1, Anatomy and Physiology 2, Arts ad Humanities elective, Business and Technology Writing or Interpersonal Communication
  • Semester 3—15 credits: Reimbursement Methodologies, Medical Coding, Electronic Medical Records, Essentials of Psychology, Intermediate Algebra
  • Semester 4—15 credits: Pharmacology, Clinical Procedures Theory, Medical-Surgical Procedures, clinical Procedures Labs
  • Externship

All the courses except the externship are available online and completed at your own pace. However, you will be required to take proctored exams each semester.

Tuition is currently set at $79/credit with various discounts depending on your choice of payment options. This puts the total cost of the program at slightly under $5,000. Included in your tuition are

  • Certification Prep Materials
  • Voucher for Certification
  • Mobile-friendly coursework
  • Dedicated success coach
  • All study materials
  • Goal setting-progress tracking tools
  • Unlimited student support
  • Career services

All costs associated with the externship are the responsibility of the student.

Conclusion

Whether you want to become a medical assistant in six weeks, are looking for fast online medical assistant programs that take several months, or want a more comprehensive 2-year degree programs, training to become a certified medical assistant can lead to a rewarding career. For many, it has also served as a stepping stone to other careers in the medical field.

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