What to Look for in a Medical Assistant Program

Posted by on August 14, 2014

With the medical assistant career field projected to grow by 29 percent from 2012-2022, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it is no surprise that people are considering the opportunities that come with completing a medical assistant program. While many colleges offer training in medical assisting, it is important to determine if the colleges you are considering for a medical assistant program are able to provide you the best education possible.

Consider these areas of interest when deciding on a medical assistant program.

Hands-On Learning

As you likely know, working as a medical assistant requires a great deal of hands-on work with patients. The medical assistant program that you complete should provide hands-on learning opportunities to best prepare you for what a medical assistant position will consist of. In addition to administrative duties associated with many medical assistant positions, the BLS states that medical assistants also are typically responsible for preparing blood for lab tests, measuring vital signs and helping with patient examinations.

When researching colleges to attend, be sure to ask about their hands-on approaches to learning. Some colleges offer service learning or applied learning projects as part of their medical assistant program curriculum.


A college’s facilities are important to any student, but can be particularly significant for students who are enrolled in an allied health program such as medical assisting. It is a good idea to determine if the colleges you are considering are equipped with appropriate medical assistant classrooms or labs, as the medical training you receive as part of a medical assistant program can take place in a lab.

If you plan to spend a good amount of time on campus, consider areas such as the student commons, library and any outdoor areas. These can all be great places to study or relax between classes.

Faculty Experience

The instructors you have as part of a medical assistant program are the subject matter experts who are going to help train and guide you to a career as a medical assistant. For this reason, it is important to determine if they have relevant experience working in the field.

Your instructors should be able to provide you with the skills you need to be successful as a medical assistant. Most colleges require their medical assisting instructors to have previously worked in the field, meaning they could potentially have valuable connections who can serve to benefit their students.

During your college research, request to meet members of the medical assisting faculty to get to know more about their previous experience.

Community Partnerships

The partnerships that colleges have with local companies or organizations can lead to great ways for students to become involved in a variety of ways. Some colleges require or encourage externships or internships as part of their medical assistant program and the connections the college has with local organizations can come in handy when identifying opportunities.

Colleges who have strong community partners can also potentially be of benefit when you are looking for a job. If a community partner has had promising experiences with a college’s graduates in the past and appreciates the way that college prepares their medical assistant program graduates, they may consider additional graduates for future medical assistant positions.

While each medical assistant program will likely offer a similar curriculum, the above areas are a good place to start when comparing a medical assistant program.

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