When it comes to quality medical assistant training it is important to understand that
certain medical office skills, such as taking vital signs, drawing up injections, administering ear lavage or
instilling drops, collecting specimens, preparing slides, setting up EKGs, incubating Petri-dishes, sterilizing
instruments, changing wound dressings and wrapping bandages are best learned under the direct guidance of an
experienced healthcare instructor. Direct supervision and hands-on practice of skills in a safe and supervised
setting assures that the medical assistant student is going to be well prepared for the "real" job upon graduation
from the program.
What kind of medical assistant training did you get?
Student Has Noting to Show for...
For decades medical assistants used to be trained right on the job, however this practice
is becoming increasingly less common in the USA. Most medical assistants now receive their training through
community and junior colleges and vocational, or military training institutions and upon graduation from the
program they elect to sit for a medical assistant certification exam of their choice. Applicants to these
vocational training institutions usually need to have a HS diploma/GED to be admitted into a qualified
medical assistant training program. This is where it is EXTREMELY important to have clear learing goals and a
good understanding of different forms of available training avenues.
"After paying $9,000, I have nothing!" When Silvia Pascu laid out $9,000 to attend the Canadian Aesthetics Academy in 2007 she shared the
aspirations of many new Canadians looking for a foothold in a promising career. Unfortunately she wound up
enrolling into a program that did not hold up to the promise and her own expectations. The same is
happening all over the USA at questionable cyber schools with questionable practices who
target prospective medical assistant students.
We urge future medical assistants to do their research before signing up for anything. It is up
to each individual to decide which type of medical assistant program, regardless whether it is on campus, or
online, best meets their needs. One of the best places to begin checking for a formal healthcare training program's
quality and reputation is the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA),
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), the largest programmatic accreditor in
the health sciences field, Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) and Accrediting
Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) along with various consumer protection organizations, such as
the Better Business Bureau.
Unrecognized School Accreditation Entities
Consumers must be aware that there is a list of unrecognized
accreditation entities which identify themselves as accreditors of higher education institutions, but lack
necessary legal authority or government recognition to provide such educational accreditation.
Don't become one of those horror stories where students wind up
with certificates, or diplomas that are completely worthless and with job placement assistance that consists of
nothing but a list of doctors copied from the local area's Yellow Pages (if that much!).
This is not to discourage anybody; indeed, there are many excellent distance education
programs offered online, including for the healthcare professionals.
Like any consumer, prospective medical assistant students must be careful and aware of gray-area, non-accredited
programs, or diploma mills, especially online as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. These programs are
not designed for those hoping to start a new career, but rather to move unsuspecting consumer's money from their
pocket into their own for very little in exchange. Read
that an institution may be offering fraudulent or substandard degrees
Unsatisfactory Outcome Hurts Everybody
Certain skills are best practiced and reinforced under the watchful eye of a qualified
instructor at a good school. When it comes to learning and reinforcing delicate skills it is best to have
direct access to real people in a real school. Otherwise it may lead to nothing but frustrations and
unsatisfactory results such as in this example:
John Ratiu paid $6,500 in tuition to learn the skills required for a job in the aesthetics
industry. Now, he's too afraid to actually treat people.
"I think I did laser (techniques) in the school for ... two or three minutes. The laser
is very dangerous if you don't know how to use it. You could destroy somebody's face for
life," said Ratiu.
The Star exposed two unlicensed career colleges — one for support workers, the other
security guards — where undercover reporters were able to receive diplomas despite being
untrained and unqualified for the jobs. (Sept. 19, 2009).
Be Smart and Choose Wisely
Those looking for a medical assistant school must first understand the purpose AND value of a good
medical assistant training with supervised skill practice in a clinical setting. Before signing up
anywhere you must be aware that there are bogus schools out there making false promises and false
representations to churn out diplomas that will get you nowhere on today's highly selective and
competitive job market. Here is Wikipedia's list of unrecognized school accreditors.