What to Expect in Medical Assistant Training?

If you are looking for a career in healthcare there is a wide range of opportunities. Positions typically offer job security and competitive wages. You will also benefit from career satisfaction.

Search Medical Assistant Programs

Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

One potential career path to consider is becoming a medical assistant. This article will explore what the role entails and what you can expect from the training required.

It is essential you understand what is covered in the training. This can help you decide whether it is the right career choice for you. It can also help you understand what will be expected of you.

Keep reading to learn more about med assisting training and whether it is right for you.

Overview of the Medical Assistant Training Program

There are a number of MA training program options available. Becoming a certified clinical medical assistant will significantly improve your chances of employment.

The courses are designed to prepare students for the role of theory and practice-based learning.

Medical assisting programs can include:

  • Medical Assisting Certificate or Diploma
  • Associate of Applied Science Medical Assisting Degree

These programs offer different levels of education depending on your desired career goals.

A med assistant diploma or certificate will typically take between 9 and 12 months to complete. While an associate of applied science medical assistant degree will take 2 years to complete.

Online and On-Campus Learning

Students will also find that there are both online and on-campus learning options. Both offer different benefits.

Studying online is a flexible option. It is ideal for people with existing responsibilities. You may have the option to learn at your own pace and can save time and money on commuting.

An on-campus medical assistant program will provide more hands-on experience. In some cases, you will learn in laboratory settings or classrooms. Some courses will also include practical work experience in a medical setting.

This provides invaluable experience for students to put what they have learned into practice. Work experience can also be appealing to potential employers. This is because it shows you can work as part of a team and safely carry out the responsibilities of the role.

Curriculum and Coursework

The coursework students carry out during their time in school will prepare them for the role itself. Theory and practical learning are combined in medical assistant courses. This gives students the knowledge and experience to work safely and efficiently in a medical setting.

Medical assistant classes will also teach students relevant medical terminology.

The course curriculum for a medical assistant program may include the following topics:

Physiology, Anatomy, and CPR

Learning the basics of Physiology, Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and Anatomy is essential to becoming a MA. The names of these classes at different schools may differ, but the fundamentals remain the same. They will form the building blocks for your medical assisting education.

You will learn how different systems in the human body work and interact with one another in anatomy.

A basic understanding of pharmacology will help students grasp the benefits of different medications. You will also learn about the most commonly used drugs and how to calculate dosages.

Learning the latest CPR techniques is essential for all healthcare professionals. CPR certification will include the use of breathing masks and defibrillation.

Office Administration in a Medical Setting

Some patient care will be a part of a medical assistant’s responsibilities. More commonly, a medical assistant will carry out essential administration tasks.

Learning administrative skills in a medical setting will prepare you for a role as a medical assistant. It will provide you with the knowledge required to perform at a highly accurate level.

Administrative tasks in a medical setting that your education will cover include:

  • Scheduling
  • Handling Medical Records
  • Patient Check-ins
  • Arranging Patient Appointments
  • Arranging Specialist Appointments

You will learn the importance of patient privacy. This will include being taught how to maintain the standards of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).

This act covers the regulations and standards that protect the privacy of patient records. This includes the physical and electronic medical records that are kept by healthcare providers.

You will carry out theoretical classwork as well as role-playing scenarios. This will help you to grow accustomed to medical office procedures.

Electrocardiography and Cardiopulmonary System

Students will learn about cardiopulmonary systems in medical assistant training. This will cover the lungs and heart.

CPR training may be involved in this section of your training if it is not covered separately.

You will learn about different testing methods including EKGs (electrocardiographs) and Holter monitors. You will also discover the most common lung and heart illnesses and injuries. The procedures and medications used to treat these conditions are a part of the curriculum as well.

Some schools will include basic nutrition lessons. This will allow you to educate patients on healthy diets. Maintaining a healthy heart may also be covered and this could include advice on exercise.

Some med assistant programs can cover basic information on maintaining a healthy weight and how to stop smoking.

Medical Financial Principles and Bookkeeping

Medical assistants are often responsible for billing and dealing with insurance claims. This makes it essential that the student gains a good understanding of billing and bookkeeping procedures for medical facilities.

A med assistant will also need a good understanding of insurance types and coverage. This will ensure the patient is covered for the tests and treatments being provided by the healthcare team.

Medical coding and billing is an avenue of progression that many medical assistants take. It will typically be a part of the role’s responsibilities, but there are entire careers based on these tasks.

Medical Business Management

Medical office management is essential for medical assistant career progression. Learning about the structure of the medical business as well as the roles in a medical office is important if you want to move into more advanced roles.

Medical office management will also incorporate valuable HR skills. These can include:

  • Conducting Job Interviews
  • Hiring Employees
  • Internal Disciplinary Procedures
  • Dismissal Procedures

Improving your communication skills is a valuable part of office management in a medical setting. This will allow you to effectively resolve issues and communicate instructions clearly.

You may learn what is behind the opening or closing of practices as well as how to run small or large medical offices.

Risk Management in a Medical Setting

You will be taught the rules and regulations safeguarding patients, employers, and yourself.

This will cover state and federal laws relevant to the healthcare field.

You will learn what information can be divulged and to whom, as well as whether certain events need to be reported to the relevant authorities.

Laboratory Procedures

Learning the procedures of a clinical medical assistant will be covered by some programs. Responsibilities of medical assisting that may be covered include:

  • Helping the patient to their room
  • Preparing Patients for Examinations
  • Checking the patient’s vital signs
  • Phlebotomy (drawing blood)
  • Collecting samples from laboratories
  • Performing injections

Some basic lab procedures may be covered at this point as well. These can include separating blood, plasma and urine tests.

You will practice drawing blood and giving injections, and in some classes, students will practice with each other. However, all safety protocols will be met and you will be under supervision.

This can be one of the more challenging parts of medical assistant training. But, it is an important part of the role and must be covered.

Clinical Experience

Externships and internships allow students to gain valuable experience in a working medical environment.

The hands-on experience puts everything you have learned into practice. Different work experiences will cover different elements of your education. This will be agreed upon between the school and the medical facility.

An onsite supervisor will be in place to guide you through working with real patients. They will then evaluate your performance and report back to your school.

Some schools also provide state-of-the-art simulations. These replicate some of the procedures a medical assistant will be expected to carry out. This can provide valuable experience.

Different Medical Assistant Specialties

There are many different specialties in the medical field. A certified medical assistant can choose to specialize in a particular field of their choosing.

These fields include:

  • Allergy
  • Dermatology
  • Cardiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Gerontology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Obstetrics
  • Neurology
  • Pediatrics
  • Oncology Orthopedics
  • Podiatry
  • Urology
  • Plastic Surgery

Certification and Licensure

Medical assistant certification and licensure are not legal requirements in many states. However, it will be difficult to find employment in doctor’s offices or hospitals without some form of medical assistant certification.

Entry requirements for medical assistant courses aren’t usually too stringent. Most programs require a high school diploma or GED.

The student will then take the relevant classes to prepare them for the nationally accredited certification exam.

Job Prospects

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medical assistant field can expect huge growth between 2021 and 2031. Job positions are expected to grow by as much as 16% at this time. This is over three times the national average.

Medical assistant roles are typically located in:

  • Hospitals
  • Physician’s Offices
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Outpatient Clinics

Students that want a career with potential advancement should consider medical assisting. There are many routes to take when you start this career path. This can include moving into an office or billing management position.

Another role that medical assistants have the potential to move into is practice management.

A background in healthcare can also provide a great springboard for anyone interested in other healthcare roles. Further education will typically be required. The certification and experience gathered as a medical assistant will stand you in good stead.


What is the shortest medical assistant training course?

Phlebotomy Career Training offers a self-paced online course that can be done in as little as 6 weeks, however, it also requires 204 hours of clinical experience to pass.

Which medical assistant gets paid the most?

Podiatry medical assistants earn the highest salaries in the US, at an average of $65,000 per year. Next is an ophthalmology medical assistant, earning $46,377.


The role of a medical assistant offers competitive salaries and great job security.

It is a great option for people looking to get into the healthcare profession and has excellent options for career progression. Exploring these medical training options is a great way to get your foot on the ladder and start a promising new career.

MA courses often offer flexibility, and will also provide you with the knowledge required to become a certified medical assistant.

Online programs can sometimes be completed in as little as 9 months, but there are more extensive courses available, too. They can provide a broader education and open up more employment possibilities.

Becoming a med assistant can be the perfect way to enter the medical field and enjoy a rewarding career. It is also one of the fastest-growing professions in the U.S. with great job prospects.