innerbody

How to Become a Medical Office Assistant

What Does a Medical Office Assistant Do?

medical office assistant with doctor and patient

Doctors and patients alike rely upon medical office assistants to bring order to the complex world of medicine. As a medical office assistant – often called a medical assistant, or MA – you are the first point of contact between patient and office, and as such, set the tone for the patient’s experience. In addition to guiding patients, MAs also work behind the scenes to coordinate referrals, lab test reviews, chart updates, insurance reimbursements and other functions that keep a medical office running smoothly.

A medical office assistant can be given great leeway by a doctor who trusts in his or her integrity and judgment, particularly in smaller practices where an MOA must inevitably fill a wide variety of roles that span administrative and patient care duties. The latter might include such responsibilities as measuring and recording patient body weight and blood pressure.

Larger medical practices or hospitals rely on medical office assistants, too, but typically in more specialized capacities. Regardless of the size of the practice, medical office assistants are an integral part of any medical office, and can tip the balance of a patient’s experience from mundane to superlative.

Workplace Details

Medical office assistants most often work in doctors’ or dentists’ offices, hospitals, and surgical centers and less often in insurance companies and government agencies. An MOA interacts with people all day long, including patients, doctors, nurses and other staff. In smaller practices, an MOA may take patients to their exam rooms, record their weight, take their blood pressure and act as a chaperone for opposite sex exams. MAs must be consummate multi-taskers, as frequent interruptions of one task to perform another are commonplace.

Salary and Job Outlook

State
Average Wage
California
$36620
Texas
$30270
Florida
$31080
Pennsylvania
$31430
New York
$35530

Hover over any state to explore local income and job growth data.

Created with Raphaël 2.1.0 AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY

ALABAMA

Median Salary: 
$25,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 27%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 340

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Birmingham$21,510$28,240$40,470
Huntsville$20,870$26,390$35,850

ALASKA

Median Salary: 
$38,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $50,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 50

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Anchorage$23,020$36,720$49,030
Fairbanks$33,690$42,260$48,720

ARIZONA

Median Salary: 
$30,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $43,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 790

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Phoenix$23,830$31,570$44,790
Tuscon$23,130$28,710$40,540

ARKANSAS

Median Salary: 
$27,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $19,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 27%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 130

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Little Rock$19,910$28,770$39,110
Fort Smith$19,300$26,760$36,800

CALIFORNIA

Median Salary: 
$33,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $50,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 28%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 3,920

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Los Angeles$21,910$32,860$50,160
San Francisco Bay$30,090$43,250$57,930
San Diego$26,440$35,260$48,700
Sacramento$24,960$33,380$47,760

COLORADO

Median Salary: 
$32,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $43,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 35%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 500

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Denver$26,150$34,230$45,650
Colorado Springs$24,530$30,480$38,330

CONNECTICUT

Median Salary: 
$34,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 280

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Hartford$26,300$35,100$49,200
Bridgeport$25,890$34,380$50,420
New Haven$22,630$33,160$51,610

DELAWARE

Median Salary: 
$30,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 70

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wilmington$24,920$32,210$39,610
Dover$20,480$28,240$36,030

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

Median Salary: 
$38,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $31,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $50,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 60

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Washington DC$24,310$34,860$48,490

FLORIDA

Median Salary: 
$29,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 33%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 2,450

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Miami$22,620$31,410$39,750
Orlando$22,110$28,770$37,340
Tampa$22,500$29,470$38,370
Jacksonville$21,810$28,250$37,280

GEORGIA

Median Salary: 
$29,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $39,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 37%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,230

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Atlanta$22,400$30,520$40,450
Augusta$21,260$28,730$39,400

HAWAII

Median Salary: 
$33,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $46,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 90

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Honolulu$23,930$33,990$46,720

IDAHO

Median Salary: 
$29,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,700

Job Growth Data Not Available

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boise$23,520$29,500$38,120
Idaho Falls$23,630$31,050$45,830

ILLINOIS

Median Salary: 
$30,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $44,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 12%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 630

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Chicago$21,430$32,270$46,480
Rockford$20,850$28,900$38,740

INDIANA

Median Salary: 
$29,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 570

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Indianapolis$24,880$30,480$39,620
South Bend$23,390$29,780$38,060
Fort Wayne$21,150$27,620$36,010

IOWA

Median Salary: 
$30,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $42,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 150

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Des Moines$25,210$35,070$56,030
Cedar Rapids$24,640$31,090$43,670

KANSAS

Median Salary: 
$28,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $39,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 14%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 140

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Wichita$20,960$27,460$37,460
Kansas City$24,450$32,210$47,550

KENTUCKY

Median Salary: 
$28,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 29%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 400

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Louisville$21,770$29,680$38,520
Lexington$22,470$29,350$39,840

LOUISIANA

Median Salary: 
$26,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 260

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New Orleans$20,830$28,220$36,820
Baton Rouge$20,550$27,400$37,530
Lafayette$19,620$26,970$35,530

MAINE

Median Salary: 
$31,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $39,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 10%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 100

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$25,630$34,340$46,070
Lewiston$25,930$29,780$39,810

MARYLAND

Median Salary: 
$33,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $24,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $46,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 26%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 540

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Baltimore$25,420$33,420$46,370
Frederick$23,610$34,470$47,020

MASSACHUSETTS

Median Salary: 
$36,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $27,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $49,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 470

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Boston$28,390$37,420$54,300
Worcester$26,530$35,480$46,890
Springfield$27,090$35,590$46,870

MICHIGAN

Median Salary: 
$29,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 730

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Detroit$21,920$28,760$37,850
Grand Rapids$23,760$31,270$42,660

MINNESOTA

Median Salary: 
$35,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $27,000
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 330

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Minneapolis - St. Paul$27,690$36,130$47,040

MISSISSIPPI

Median Salary: 
$27,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 80

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Jackson$22,290$29,750$38,390
Gulfport$20,660$27,910$45,150

MISSOURI

Median Salary: 
$28,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 11%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 300

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
St. Louis$21,690$28,570$38,310
Kansas City$24,450$32,210$47,550

MONTANA

Median Salary: 
$30,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $39,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 40

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Billings$23,830$30,890$39,560
Missoula$18,730$30,290$39,120

NEBRASKA

Median Salary: 
$29,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $41,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 18%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 130

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Omaha$24,230$30,600$42,540
Lincoln$22,070$30,990$43,070

NEVADA

Median Salary: 
$30,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $23,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $39,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 36%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 320

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Las Vegas$22,460$30,190$39,220
Reno$26,060$33,110$42,840

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Median Salary: 
$33,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $42,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 19%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 90

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Manchester$25,830$32,680$43,020
Nashua$26,290$32,940$39,950

NEW JERSEY

Median Salary: 
$33,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,400
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $46,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 600

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Newark$25,900$34,500$47,880
Trenton$25,140$33,080$46,280

NEW MEXICO

Median Salary: 
$28,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 17%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 180

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Albuquerque$22,340$28,610$37,790
Las Cruces$19,320$26,440$38,620

NEW YORK

Median Salary: 
$33,700
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $24,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $46,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 24%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 1,140

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
New York City$24,060$33,850$46,860
Buffalo$25,390$33,500$44,730
Rochester$23,400$29,050$41,060
Albany$25,710$31,830$42,850

NORTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$29,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $39,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 25%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 660

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Charlotte$23,770$30,700$43,080
Raleigh$23,170$32,080$38,740
Greensboro$24,910$31,130$41,010
Winston - Salem$25,300$31,010$39,030

NORTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$32,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,500
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $43,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 24%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Fargo$23,950$30,440$42,130
Bismarck$25,420$32,920$42,970

OHIO

Median Salary: 
$28,600
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 22%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 910

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cleveland$24,170$29,160$37,990
Columbus$23,900$30,070$41,760
Cincinnati$23,260$29,930$39,150
Dayton$20,950$28,970$37,720

OKLAHOMA

Median Salary: 
$28,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,700
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $37,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 16%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 290

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Oklahoma City$20,510$27,860$37,010
Tulsa$22,710$30,000$38,540

OREGON

Median Salary: 
$34,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $25,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $45,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 25%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 440

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Portland$26,090$35,920$46,700
Salem$25,130$34,350$47,470

PENNSYLVANIA

Median Salary: 
$29,500
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $40,300

2014-2024 Job Growth: 15%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 850

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Philadelphia$23,850$33,280$45,230
Pittsburgh$21,810$28,640$38,410
Harrisburg$22,740$30,030$39,580
Allentown$22,840$30,330$39,310

RHODE ISLAND

Median Salary: 
$33,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $42,000

2014-2024 Job Growth: 4%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 60

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Providence$26,160$32,930$42,350

SOUTH CAROLINA

Median Salary: 
$28,300
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 350

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Greenville$20,220$27,530$37,070
Columbia$19,210$27,600$37,220
Charleston$19,890$28,900$40,850

SOUTH DAKOTA

Median Salary: 
$28,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $36,400

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Sioux Falls$24,600$29,220$37,300
Rapid City$21,080$27,270$36,330

TENNESSEE

Median Salary: 
$28,800
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,200
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $39,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 33%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 730

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Nashville$24,540$32,320$43,870
Memphis$21,170$28,380$38,880
Knoxville$21,300$28,450$38,110
Chattanooga$21,830$28,430$38,730

TEXAS

Median Salary: 
$28,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $20,300
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 34%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 3,070

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Dallas - Ft. Worth$22,320$30,860$41,790
Houston$20,920$28,430$38,870
San Antonio$20,280$27,930$39,020
Austin$23,980$31,800$39,440

UTAH

Median Salary: 
$29,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $22,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $38,600

2014-2024 Job Growth: 31%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 380

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Salt Lake City$24,740$29,610$39,040
Ogden$22,620$29,400$38,660

VERMONT

Median Salary: 
$34,000
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $26,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $45,800

2014-2024 Job Growth: 6%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 20

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Burlington$26,560$33,860$45,390

VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$30,400
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,800
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $42,900

2014-2024 Job Growth: 32%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 570

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Virginia Beach$22,240$29,260$38,430
Richmond$21,000$30,360$38,890

WASHINGTON

Median Salary: 
$35,900
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $27,100
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $47,500

2014-2024 Job Growth: 21%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 560

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Seattle$29,100$37,110$48,200
Spokane$25,740$33,790$45,970

WEST VIRGINIA

Median Salary: 
$25,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $18,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $32,200

2014-2024 Job Growth: 9%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 100

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Huntington$20,020$25,200$33,200
Charleston$20,050$26,330$35,240

WISCONSIN

Median Salary: 
$32,200
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $24,600
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $42,100

2014-2024 Job Growth: 8%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 330

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Milwaukee$22,630$31,750$40,010
Madison$25,400$33,770$44,970

WYOMING

Median Salary: 
$30,100
Bottom 10% (Entry Level): $21,900
Top 10% (Lots of Experience): $39,700

2014-2024 Job Growth: 20%
Projected Annual Job Openings: 30

SALARY BY METRO AREA:

CityEntry LevelMedianLots of Experience
Cheyenne$22,800$30,220$42,820
Casper$24,860$33,600$39,150

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average MA’s salary is $31,910 per year. The middle fifty percent of MAs earn between $26,080 and $36,800 per year. Salaries improve with more experience and/or education, and also according to geography and cost of living. Those living in larger cities and towns, particularly along both coasts, will earn more. The top three employers for MAs are doctors’ offices, hospitals and dentists’ offices.

Available positions for MAs are increasing, driven by the ongoing retirement of the baby boom generation and general increases in population. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 23% growth in jobs for medical office assistants from 2014 to 2024, which is far faster than average.

Compare Salaries by City

Los Angeles CA Median Pay

$32860 Per Year

$15.79 Per Hour

New York City NY Median Pay

$33850 Per Year

$16.27 Per Hour

Steps to Become a Medical Office Assistant

1

Get an education.

A high school diploma or graduation equivalency degree (GED) is sufficient for an entry-level medical office assistant position, with further training done on the job. However, many employers prefer to hire MAs with a certificate or associate’s degree in medical assisting, which are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Show Me Schools »

2

Experience in the workplace.

Many accredited programs provide opportunities for their students to gain experience in the medical setting. Students benefit greatly from this experience not only because hands-on learning helps to reinforce lessons from the classroom, but also because students who’ve already gained some real-life experience in the workplace tend to be more desirable to employers after graduation. If your program doesn’t offer this, look for internships in your area.

3

Consider getting certified.

Certification as a certified medical administrative assistant (CMAA) will increase your chances of getting hired, as employers prefer the stamp of approval it bestows. Practice tests and other test preparation materials are available online at either of the links above.

4

Training on the job.

Since every office varies in its procedures, a certain amount of on-the-job training is inevitable. On-the-job training for smaller practices will be more extensive due to the need for an MA to cover a greater variety of tasks.

Explore Degree Paths

Aspiring medical assistants have two possible educational routes: a certificate or an associate degree. Both typically include lots of hands-on experience and an externship component. They differ in length, cost and transferability – read on to determine which one is best for you!

NON-DEGREE AWARD

1 year

A typically one-year certificate program in medical assisting is often a great choice for students who want a less expensive program that prepares them strictly for the duties of a medical assistant. It’s not for everyone, though – if you anticipate that you may want to go back to school within five years or so in order to advance your career further, you should consider an associate degree instead, since credit earned from the associate degree is often transferrable toward a bachelor’s degree later. By contrast, certificate programs often cannot be counted as college credits later.

Certificate programs in medical assisting are hands-on and intensive.

ASSOCIATE DEGREE

2 years

An associate of applied science (AAS) degree in medical assisting requires two years, which makes it longer in duration and often more expensive than the certificate. However, on this path, you will gain a broader education that can make you more desirable in a competitive employment landscape. Additionally, your coursework can often be applied as college credit if you pursue a higher degree in the near future. The associate degree in medical assisting consists of courses in biology and medical terminology along with record-keeping, accounting and insurance practices, and liberal arts courses.

Show Me Schools »

Curriculum commonly includes courses such as:

Intro to healthcare

This course provides orientation to the sprawling and dynamic industry.

Medical terminology

Students gain familiarity in the terminology involved in medical procedures, treatments, pathologies, etc. Students also learn basic anatomical terminology as well as the meaning behind common prefixes, suffixes and structures of medical terminology.

Anatomy and physiology

Students learn about basic anatomical structure of the human body, as well as related illnesses and treatments.

Intro to medical coding

This course demystifies and explains basics of the complex world of medical insurance and coding.

Patient care

This course, among others, helps to prepare the budding assistant to properly handle electronic health records, take vital signs during physical exam, and handle specimens to be sent to labs for diagnostics.

Laws and ethics

Learn about the legal concerns in healthcare, starting with the history of these laws but also exploring current trends and possible future scenarios in healthcare. Along the way, students learn about important concepts like confidentiality and liability, and explore the complex ethics of end-of-life matters.

Pharmacology

Students learn the history and modern usage of various drugs. They gain familiarity with the Physicians’ Desk Reference and learn about drug names, dosage, administration methods, storage and legality.

Keys to Success as a Medical Office Assistant

Organizational skills

Without proper organization, this job would be impossible!

Personable nature

MOAs interact with others throughout the workday, both colleagues and patients.

Computer skills

The employer will assume a candidate has computer skills, including familiarity with basic word programs and spreadsheet functions.

Inquisitive mind and readiness to learn

An MOA must be willing to learn new systems and methods, such as how to work with specific scheduling and billing software common to most medical practices.

Attention to detail

As in virtually all medically related jobs, attention to detail is a must.

x