How Long Does it Take to Become a Medical Assistant?

How Long Does it Take to Become a Medical Assistant

Obtaining medical assistant certification typically requires several steps, like completing an accredited medical assistant training program, gaining any required work experience and passing a certification exam. So, how long does this process usually take?

Medical Assistant Job Description and Requirements

How Long Does It Take to Become a Medical Assistant?

While career paths can vary, many people take 3 steps to become a medical assistant.


Medical Assistant Career Path

Steps Description Details Duration
Step 1 GED or High School Diploma Career-Relevant Courses: Anatomy, Biology, Chemistry, Computers & Business 3 Months to 4 Years
Step 2 Post-Secondary Medical Assistant Training Training & Instruction in Clinical Procedures & Clericals Tasks 9 Months to 2 Years
Step 3 Medical Assistant Certification Studying for & Taking Exam Less than 1 Year for AAMA Certified Medical Assistant

How Long Is a Medical Assistant Program?

  Vocational School Community College
Program Length 9 to 12 Months Varies; typically 2 years for an associate’s degree
What’s Learned Clinical & Medical Knowledge & Practices Clinical & Medical Knowledge & Practices Plus General Education
Credential Diploma or Certificate Associate Degree
Considerations Quicker Program Length, More Focused Program & Typically Less Expensive College Credits May Be Transferrable to a University & May Help with Positions in Specialty Medicine

How to Get Medical Assistant Certification

Below are the steps necessary to obtain Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).

Path to Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant

Steps Description Details
Step 1 Confirm You Meet Eligibility Requirements Complete a Medical Assisting Program Accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Take the Exam within 30 Days of Finishing the Program or 12 Months after Graduating
Step 2 Obtain Necessary Documentation Those Applying 12 Months After Graduating Need Their Official Medical Assistant Program Transcripts
Step 3 Review Information & Policies for the Exam See Candidate Application and Handbook for the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination
Step 4 Choose a Start Date for 90-Day Testing Period Online & Mailed Paper Application Timelines Vary Testing Period Starts Between 1-2 Months after Application Is Received
Step 5 Monitor Your Email Keep a Valid Email Address for 1 Year after Applying for Exam & Monitor Regularly for Notifications
Step 6 Apply for Exam Apply Online or Via Mail & Submit Fee: $125 for Current Students. Recent Graduates $125 for AAMA Members or $250 for Nonmembers
Step 7 Maintain Correct Profile Information Update Name, Postal Address & Email on a Timely Basis
Step 8 Schedule Exam Make an Appointment ASAP for the Exam after Receiving Your ‘Appointment Scheduling Permit’
Step 9 Prepare for the Exam Use the AAMA Exam Content Outline, CMA Practice Exam, Textbooks, and Review Courses to Prepare for the Exam
Step 10 Complete the Exam You’ll Receive a Pass/Fail Notification at the Test Center after Taking the Exam.
Step 11 Watch for Your Official Exam Scores Official Exam Scores Should Arrive within 3 Weeks of Taking the Test
Step 12 Watch for Your Certificate Your CMA Certificate Should Arrive about 3 Weeks after Your Official Exam Scores. The Certification Is Valid for 60 Months.

Midwest Technical Institute (MTI) schedules students of its 9-month medical assistant program for the American Association of Medical Assistants’ (AAMA) National Medical Assistant (CMA) Certification Exam before graduation. MTI offers medical assistant training at its campuses in: