Becoming a Medical Assistant (MA) is definitely a fulfilling career move. The job market for MA's is trending upwards. The generalist nature of the job prepares you for advancement into a number of different fields. What's not to like? Well, you might be worried that the program itself will take too much time to complete. Not everyone can afford to rearrange years of their lives to pursue a new career. Fortunately, MA programs tend to be on the shorter side. No two MA programs are exactly the same, but here's roughly what you should expect.
Your core classes will consist of everything you need to know to be a successful MA. These will involve both classroom learning and practical lab exercises and will take up the bulk of your time in an MA program. There is a lot of information to take in here, so you're looking at hundreds of hours of study over the course of a few months. This sounds overwhelming out of context, but the way classes are spread out is very similar to traditional schooling. As long as you keep up with your coursework, you'll have nothing to worry about.
Every good MA program will offer you hands-on experience. All of the facts and diagrams you labor over will need to be applied in real-world scenarios and the only way to learn this skill is by doing it. These "externships" are typically anywhere from a month to two months long and are done towards the end of your time in the program.
In addition to your core classes, you may be allowed to specialize further in a clinical area such as phlebotomy or a more clerical discipline like billing and coding. This specialization won't be as involved as your core classes, and it's typically the last thing you'll need to do in the program. An MA is a sort of jack-of-all-trades discipline, but a little extra specialization allows you to begin planning for your future advancements early in your career.
Once you've completed the program including all of the core classes, specialized track, and externship experience you'll be fully prepared to take your final step: the national exam. You'll need to use all of the experience you've gained during your MA program in order to pass this, but once you do there is nothing standing between you and your new medical career.
When all is said and done, a Medical Assistant program can be easily completed in under a year. While this is nothing to scoff at, compared to traditional 4-year universities or even 2-year colleges, the return on investment is much greater. In addition, many MA programs will be able to work with you and your schedule ensuring that you still have time for your work and family obligations. No, it won't be the easiest thing you've ever done, but it could be one of the most fulfilling!
Are you ready to start your career as a medical assistant? Please, contact us at Athena Career Academy today. We stick with our students every step of the way — from the day they enroll in their program to the day they begin their new career in medicine.