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Medical Assistant Diploma Programs

Medical assistants may handle both administrative and clinical tasks within a medical office, such as taking patient histories and preparing blood samples for testing. Learn about courses that prepare you for a career in medical assisting, find out about certification options, and see the average salary of a medical assistant.

What Will I Learn During a Medical Assistant Diploma Program?

A medical assistant diploma program can prepare you for a variety of clerical, clinical and administrative tasks at a medical office or hospital. Since you don't have to take core general education courses, diploma programs are typically comprised of fewer credit hours than associate's degree programs. The medical assistant curriculum consists of topics that may come up during your career, such as:

  • Computer applications
  • First aid and CPR
  • Pathology
  • Medical management
  • Insurance and billing
  • Laboratory procedures

Many diploma programs may require you to complete an externship or clinical experience. These can allow you to prepare patients for examination, clean surgical tools and file medical records. Because of the technical nature of the program, online medical assistant diploma programs are generally not offered by public or non-profit universities.

Common CoursesMedical management, first aid and CPR, insurance and billing, pathology, laboratory procedures
Certification OptionsCertified Medical Assistant credential offered by the AAMA
Median Salary (2018)$33,610* (for medical assistants)
Job Outlook (2016-26)29%* (for all medical assistants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Apply for Certification?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that while certification was not required to gain employment as a medical assistant, it may lead to higher wages or advanced positions (www.bls.gov). Through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), you can apply to become a Certified Medical Assistant (www. aama-ntl.org). You must complete a medical assistant program, and a background check may be part of the examination application. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions that cover both administration and science topics, including:

  • Anatomy
  • Office management
  • Psychology
  • Medical guidelines
  • Professionalism

How Much Can I Expect To Earn?

The BLS reported that medical assistants earned a mean yearly salary of $33,610 as of May 2018. If you're interested in medical assisting, most professionals worked at physician's offices and hospitals, where they earned an average wage of $34,320 per year. The top ten percent of earners made $47,250 or more every year, while the bottom ten percent of medical assistants earned $24,790 or less per year.