Medical Assisting Degree vs. Diploma vs. Certificate

Are you interested in becoming a medical assistant? There are various ways that you can get into the medical assisting career.

The medical field has an abundance of careers that one can get into. It is more than just physicians and nurses. One of the medical careers you can consider is Medical Assisting. A medical assistant usually works in a physician’s office, clinic and other health care facilities. As the term implies, a medical assistant helps in the administrative and/or clinical aspect of the facility.

There are several ways to get into Medical Assisting. You can choose between getting a degree, diploma or certificate. If you are just deciding to get into the field, choosing which way to go can be confusing. Is there really a difference between the three? And the answer is yes.

medical assistant

Medical Assisting Certificate

Medical Assisting Certificate programs are offered both in private schools and community colleges. The program runs for about a year, and sometimes even shorter than a year, and focuses on specific skills – administrative or clinical. When you have completed your medical assisting certificate program, you would have to take the medical assistant certification examination. This option may be the least expensive of the three.

Medical Assisting Diploma

The diploma course for medical assisting can take 9 months to 1 year to complete, depending on the school or college you are enrolled in. The program offers a more comprehensive look into the medical assisting field. It deals with both the administrative and clinical aspect of the job and offers basic training in both. At the end of your program you would also need to take the medical assistant certification examination to get certified. The medical assisting diploma program may cost a little more than the certificate program. The diploma program is offered both in private schools and community colleges.

Medical Assisting Degree

Should you opt to get a medical assistant degree you need two years to finish the whole program. It is more comprehensive and in-depth than the diploma program. Expect higher academic demand that goes with the program combined with practical and on-hand training. Just like in the diploma program, this degree program will train you in both administrative and clinical tasks associated with medical assisting. You will also need to take up additional classes as part of the program requirement. After you have completed your degree you can take the medical assisting certification examination to get certified. This is the most expensive of all the three options. The medical assisting degree program is offered in community colleges and private schools as well.

Each of these educational options will help you get into the field of medical assisting. You have to consider several factors before deciding which road to take. There is the time element – how much time can you devote to studying? Online studies may be an option here. How much money can you spend on the program? What is your career outlook for the next couple of years? Of course, the degree program offers a more lucrative job opportunities and security. Just weigh all the factors and consider all your options before deciding so you will get the best out of it.