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Prerequisites for Medical Assisting

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According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for medical assistants is expected to increase 34 percent from 2008 to 2018. It is important for anyone interested in the medical assisting field to understand the prerequisites involved. Medical assisting requires a person to work in a clinical setting such as a doctor’s office to make sure the office runs efficiently.

Prerequisite for Medical Assistants Without a Degree

Although some employers will hire someone without a postsecondary education, there are still some prerequisites required before obtaining a job. For instance, a person must have either a high school diploma or GED. In addition, she must have taken classes in high school such as keyboarding, mathematics, biology, computers and health education. These courses help prepare a person for the medical assisting job. Volunteer work in the health-care field isn't a prerequisite, but can help an individual obtain a job.

Education Prerequisites

For employers that prefer hiring medical assistants with postsecondary education and training in the field, there are different prerequisites. For instance, an individual must complete an accredited medical assisting program offered at community and junior colleges or vocational schools. Medical assisting programs that lead to an associate’s degree last approximately two years and include courses such as medical terminology, transcription, insurance processing, diagnostic procedures and how to administer medication. Medical assisting programs that lead to a diploma or certificate takes a year to complete. Courses are similar to the classes offered in an associate degree program, such as medical terminology.

Training Prerequisite

Regardless of the education requirements, medical assistants must complete the training prerequisite. The length of training depends on the amount of experience and education a medical assistant has at the time he starts working. Typically, newly hired medical assistants receive on-the-job training before they take over the daily tasks of running the medical office. For example, assistants without a degree receive approximately three months of training sessions to learn more about the duties and work with experienced medical assistants, according to BLS.

Meeting Job Requirements

Another perquisite is having the qualifications to complete the medical assisting tasks. For instance, medical assistants must know how to work with the public and provide customer service. Also, the assistant has to know how to communicate, since one of the medical assisting tasks is to explain instructions to patients and calm patients’ fears.


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