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Registered Medical Assistant: Education Requirements, Training & Certification

Take a look at how to become a registered medical assistant. Read on to find out more about the education requirements, training and certification needed to be registered in the field.

Career Information At A Glance

Medical assistants aid the work of other healthcare professionals by handling a range of patient-focused duties, both medical and administrative. They oversee patient records along with undertaking non-invasive duties such as recording blood pressure. See the chart below for further details about being a registered medical assistant.

Education Required Postsecondary nondegree award
Education Field of Study Medical assisting
Training Required On-the-job
Certifications Available Various certifying agencies
Skills Required Analytical, detail-oriented, interpersonal, technical
Job Growth (2020-2030) 18% (for all medical assistants)*
Median Salary (2020) $35,850 (for all medical assistants)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Is A Medical Assistant?

Medical assistants work in healthcare facilities such as hospitals or doctor's offices. They are responsible for administrative and clerical tasks relating to a healthcare environment. Medical assistants work with patients' records, updating and recording information as necessary. They will also often check blood pressure, prepare blood samples or help physicians with patient examinations. It is important for many medical assistants to now learn how to use electronic health records (EHR), as many facilities are switching from traditional paper-based patient records.

What Education Do I Need?

Medical assistants, and those looking to become registered medical assistants, typically complete a non-degree postgraduate program before working in the role. Most courses will lead to a certificate or diploma, depending on the college. This is the preferred qualification for most states, but it is not considered an essential requirement, as it is possible to receive on-the-job training as an alternative route into the role.

What Training Will I Receive?

The Registered Medical Assistant Certification exam covers areas such as anatomy and physiology, along with administrative details regarding finance and bookkeeping. You will learn records and chart management as well as how to communicate with patients, both in writing and verbally. It is also typical to learn about minor surgeries and laboratory procedures. At the end of your preparation and training, you will be required to pass an exam to become certified.

What Certification Will I Get?

Being a registered medical assistant means that you receive certification from American Medical Technologists, or a similar certification agency, to show your suitability and knowledge for the role. Many employers will look for certification, as it shows that you can meet the standards of a third-party organization and are dedicated to your professional development. It is not uncommon for an employer to put an uncertified medical assistant through training while on the job.

What Are The Benefits Of Certification?

Becoming a registered medical assistant allows employers to see your capabilities in the role, and you may be able to apply for a wider range of jobs within the field to expand your scope of practice once you are qualified. With certification, it is possible to increase your earning potential and build your reputation in the field of medical assisting as you show a higher level of knowledge and expertise. You may find that registered medical assistants have the edge at the application stage compared to those who are not certified.