How to become a Certified medical assistant without going to school

While it is possible to become a medical assistant with no more than a high school diploma or GED along with on-the-job-training

Medical assisting has emerged as one of the hottest careers in healthcare, offering tremendous employment potential, a lucrative salary, fantastic employment benefits, and job security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 155,000 new jobs are expected to become available to medical assistants in the US between 2018 and 2028.


On-the-Job Training and Education

Choosing to become a medical assistant through on-the-job training is the fastest way to enter the field since it allows you to begin working and earn money while learning. However, choosing this path requires a great deal of persistence because it can be difficult to find a doctor that is willing to hire an untrained applicant.

If you choose this path, here is what you need to do:

  • Have a high school diploma or GED. The minimum educational requirement for medical assistants is a high school diploma or equivalency degree. If you do not already have this level of education, the first step is to take a GED prep class and to pass the examination.
  • Find a doctor who will provide training. Although most employers now prefer medical assistants with a formal education, there are some who will provide on-site training. Arrange to meet with several doctors and express your passion for medical assisting and your desire to become a medical assistant. If accepted, you will receive intensive hands-on training under the direction of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.

Formal Training Through Accredited Programs

There are many colleges, universities, and technical schools that offer medical assistant training programs. Depending upon your preferences, you may choose to earn a certificate or diploma in as little as 9-12 months, or an associate’s degree in 18-24 months. These programs typically include classroom and laboratory training as well as an externship assignment.


You can choose from schools that offer classroom instruction on campus, online programs, or a hybrid of the two. If you want to become a Certified Medical Assistant after graduation, be sure to choose a program that is CAAHEP or ABHES accredited.

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