Demand for medical assistants remains high. This guide explores how to apply and pay for a medical assistant program and outlines the top medical assistant programs Massachusetts schools offer.
We use a data-driven methodology to rank the best medical assistant programs in Massachusetts, making it easier for you to find a program that works for you. Our methodology is based on metrics that we believe matter most to students, including: academic quality, affordability, reputation, and program offerings.
Keep reading to learn more about the best medical assistant programs in Massachusetts, or go straight to our list of the best medical assistant programs in Massachusetts.
What Can You Do as a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants have both administrative and clinical responsibilities. In larger organizations like hospitals, they typically specialize in one or the other, while in smaller medical offices, they may perform both roles.
Administrative medical assistant tasks include helping with electronic health records, scheduling appointments, and insurance and billing. Clinical medical assistants also work with electronic health records, but they generally focus on adding to medical histories and test results. They maintain supplies and equipment, draw blood, and prepare samples to send for analysis.
Medical assistants must be detail-oriented, good with insurance and electronic health record software software, and excellent communicators with clinical staff and patients. They must understand and follow all rules related to patient privacy and information security.
What To Look For in a Medical Assistant Program
There are many different programs, including associate degree programs and certificate options. The right one depends on your needs, budget, and timeframe.
Most programs require a high school diploma and include open admissions. You do not need a minimum GPA to get in, but there may be prerequisites.
Certificate programs take less time, but an associate degree with a specialization in medical assisting is the best preparation for other healthcare jobs. Many medical assistants programs in Massachusetts offer certificate-to-degree programs.
Learners complete clinical experience, sometimes called an externship, as part of the program. This develops clinical skills, such as drawing blood and taking vital signs.
Massachusetts does not require medical assistants to graduate from an accredited program. However, you can only take the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) certification examination if you graduated from, or are completing a program accredited by, the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Other organizations also accredit programs and offer certification, but AAMA is one of the biggest ones.
Medical assistant programs in Massachusetts vary significantly in length, depending on whether it's an associate degree or a certificate program. Prepare to invest 9-24 months into your education.
The NCLEX-RN pass rate is a good indicator of the school's overall quality and local reputation. Certification pass rates are another valuable metric.
The graduation or completion rate tells you how satisfied and successful students are in the program, an important factor in considering medical assistant programs in Massachusetts.
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Applying to a Medical Assistant Program in Massachusetts
Most medical assistant programs in Massachusetts offer open admissions, but they do require a high school or GED diploma. If you were born outside the U.S., you may need to pass an English language fluency examination, such as the TOEFL, or otherwise demonstrate you can read, write, and speak in English.
High school diploma or GED certificate; completed application; attend an information session
Most programs do not require a minimum GPA.
Current immunizations; clear criminal background check
Why Is Medical Assistant Program Accreditation Important?
Accreditation is the process of evaluating a program to ensure its graduates are prepared to practice safely. Even though you do not need accreditation to work in Massachusetts as a medical assistant, it is still vital to program quality.
- Only graduates of accredited programs are eligible for AAMA certification. Many employers require or strongly prefer certified candidates.
- Because it assesses quality, accreditation protects you, your future employers, and your future patients.
- Most accredited programs don't accept transfer credits from non-accredited programs.
- With the variety of accredited medical assistant programs in Massachusetts, there's no need to risk your time and money on an unaccredited program.
Paying for Medical Assistant Programs in Massachusetts
While most medical assistant programs are affordable compared to other healthcare education, especially if you qualify for in-state tuition, it's still a major investment. Consider program tuition and fees, the length of the program, whether you can work while studying, and other expenses, such as books and travel needs.
You may be eligible for some of the same scholarships and grants as nurses, or for other kinds of financial aid. If you currently work for a healthcare organization, they may have tuition reimbursement programs, especially for students earning their first degree.
Learn More About the Best Medical Assistant Programs and Schools in Massachusetts
Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Assistant Programs
How do I become a medical assistant in Massachusetts?
The best way to become a medical assistant is to take a certificate course or earn an associate degree in nursing with a specialization in medical assistant training. Be sure the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) so you can take the national certification examination.
How long does it take to become a medical assistant in Massachusetts?
You can complete a certificate course in roughly two semesters, less than one year. Earning an associate degree with a specialization in medical assistant work can take up to two years, but if you have already taken prerequisite courses, you can finish faster.
Do medical assistants have to be certified in Massachusetts?
It is not legally required, but many employers strongly prefer certified medical assistants. This ensures that their staff has the skills, knowledge, and understanding of legal and ethical issues to provide quality outcomes for patients.
What is a medical assistant salary in Massachusetts?
Nationally, the average salary for medical assistants is $38,190. In Massachusetts, the mean annual salary is $44,200, making it the fifth-highest paying state for medical assistants, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, Massachusetts also has a higher cost of living.