Because of the recent pandemic, the demand for healthcare workers has increased dramatically around the country.

One job opportunity in healthcare that’s appealing to many is that of a medical assistant. It’s an important job, with a good salary and a lot of demand. 

If you want to become a medical assistant, you will need to get a certification. Which leads to the question “how long does it take to get a medical assistant certification”?

In this article, we will tell you how long it is to study for a medical assistant course, as well as how long it takes to get certified.

Educational Requirements for Medical Assistants

Let us first talk about the education you will go through to become a medical assistant. To become a medical assistant, you will first need to finish secondary education. That means either graduating from high school or earning a GED

After doing that, the next ideal step would be to find a college or university that offers a medical assistant program.

When you are looking for a medical assistant program you have two choices. Either look for a certificate or diploma program or look for an associate’s degree program.

If you choose a certificate or diploma path, that means you will be able to start working as a medical assistant more quickly. Education in a certificate program is more hands-on and experience-based as well as solid career training. 

On the other hand, if you choose an associate’s degree program, you will also study the same scope. However, an associate’s degree program includes general education courses which can help advance your career further. 

Either during or after working toward a certification and/or degree, you’ll also need to get an internship or an externship. This will give you hands-on, clinical experience. It will also help you put what you learn in the classroom to the test in the real world. This will help you further your skills. 

Then, once you complete all that, you will need to pass a certification exam. This will help you get a job as a medical assistant.

However, the question is, how long will this process take? Especially now that we are currently facing a pandemic caused by Covid-19?

How Long Does it Take To Get a Medical Assistant Certification?

To begin with, enrolling in a medical assistant program usually lasts from about 9 months to up to 2 years. This will depend on whether it is a certificate program or an associate’s one.

Certificate/diploma programs usually take a shorter amount of time. The length of this program takes between 9 months to 2 years. 

On the other hand, an associate’s degree takes a longer amount of time to finish. It will take you 2 years to get an associate’s degree. But like I said earlier, you can boost your career by choosing this kind of program.

As for internships and externships, it is different depending on which of the two you choose. While internships can last from 2 weeks to six weeks, externships usually last for 6 weeks.

And now for the certification. To become a certified medical assistant, you will need to pass a certification exam. 

You may take your certification one month before you finish your medical assistant program. Once you are done with the exam, you will receive the results 8 weeks later.

And 10 weeks later, your official CMA will arrive. Then, once you are certified, you will have to take recertification tests every 5 years.

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