How Much Does it Cost to Become a Medical Assistant?

A career as a medical assistant can be extremely rewarding.

However, before you finalize your decision to become a medical assistant, you should familiarize yourself with the costs involved.

The primary responsibility of a medical assistant is to assist doctors in various healthcare settings from hospitals to clinics.

You are responsible for taking vital signs, checking patient height and weight, and escorting patients to the exam rooms.

There are different routes you can take as far as education.

You can earn a certificate, or enroll in an associate or bachelor’s degree program.

Depending on the level of education you choose, costs will vary.

This guide will provide you with all the information you need to know pertaining to costs related to becoming a medical assistant.

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How Much Does it Cost to Complete Medical Assistant Trade/Vocational School?

If you’re thinking about taking a medical assistant program through a trade or vocational school, you can expect to pay a minimum of $1,999.

However, the actual amount you pay will depend on the state you reside in and the type of program you enroll in.

You may even pay as much as $20,000 a year in certain trade schools.

Community College

With community colleges, you have the choice to either enroll in a certificate program and spend less on tuition or enroll in a two-year program and earn an associate’s degree.

Certificate programs are no different from what you would receive if you were to enroll in a trade school.

They typically don’t take more than a year to complete and focus mainly on medical assistant training.

With an associate’s degree in medical assisting, you will receive more than training.

The education you receive will be more in-depth.

Ultimately, choosing whether you’d like further education is up to you to make.

Trade School vs. College by Numbers

National AverageFour-Year CollegeTwo-Year CollegeTrade School
Average Cost$40,000 or more$1,500 to $10,000$2,000 to $5,000
Time to Complete4 Years2 Years12 months
Other ExpensesBooks, Housing, EquipmentBooks, Housing, EquipmentBooks
AwardBachelor's degreeAssociate's degreeCertificate

How Much Does a Medical Assistant License Cost?

Once you have successfully completed a training program of your choice, you will still need to become certified by taking a certification exam.

The majority of employers will prefer to have their medical assistants pass a certification test.

This shows that they are well-qualified and possess the necessary training required to perform their job.

There are several different types of exams to choose from.

  • CMA (Certified Medical Assistant) – This requires a fee of $125. You are only given three chances to pass the test before you are required to take the entire medical assisting course over. Once you’ve passed your exam, the CMA certification is good for 60 months.
  • CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant) – This exam requires a fee of $155. You are only given three attempts per year to take this exam. Once you pass the exam, you must renew it every two years.
  • RMA (Registered Medical Assistant) – In order to take this exam, you must pay a fee of $120 and have five years of working experience as a medical assistant. This exam can be taken over every 45 days and is good for three years.

The fees that you pay for any of the above exams may vary depending on the state in which you reside.

What are the Additional Costs After Becoming a Medical Assistant?

Beginning work as a medical assistant requires you to purchase several items:

  • Comfortable shoes: As you will be on your feet all day, you need to ensure that you buy a comfortable pair of shoes.
  • Stethoscope: Depending on the clinic or healthcare setting you work in, you may be required to purchase your own stethoscope.
  • Medical scrubs: You will also be required to purchase several pairs of medical scrubs. Under scrub, attire may come in handy in case you get cold or want to feel more comfortable.
  • Waterproof watch: Waterproof watches aren’t required but are highly recommended since your job as a medical assistant can get messy.
  • Medical terminology book: This is one item that will come in handy and is highly recommended.
  • Small calendar: This will help you keep up with scheduled conferences, meetings, events, deadlines, and more.

Other items/supplies you may want to consider purchasing, so you can feel well-prepared and comfortable starting your job as a medical assistant include:

  • Mini note pad
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Water thermos
  • Body towelette
  • Moisture-wicking socks

Is Becoming a Medical Assistant a Good Investment?

Becoming a medical assistant is a rewarding career with a great outlook.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medical assistant industry is expected to grow 16% by 2031.

There are various options as far as education.

You can choose to receive a diploma and certificate by enrolling in trade school.

You can also enroll in an associate’s degree program via a community college.

While earning a bachelor’s degree is not necessary to become a medical assistant, this may open up the door to more opportunities and help you land a job much faster.

Generally, the costs are relatively affordable.

If you can manage to make it through training and pass the state exam to become certified, a career as a medical assistant may be a great investment.

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