Due in large part to an increasingly aging population, healthcare is one of the fastest-growing career fields in the United States today. If you're interested in a job in healthcare, attending a medical assisting school can be a great first step to a rewarding career. Based upon estimates from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistant positions are predicted to increase 34% by 2018.

There's a good chance, particularly if you live in a larger area, that there may be several local medical assisting colleges for you to choose from. Additionally, there are many online schools that offer programs for medical assistant certification. It can be a daunting task to choose a school from all of these options. With a little research and guidance, however, you can find the perfect medical assisting school for you. During your college search, make certain that you do the following:

Decide what level of training you want
Medical assistants come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Sometimes, medical assistants are trained on the job and started in their position with just a high school diploma. However, the majority of medical assistants have completed either a one- or two-year program at a medical assisting college. In both one- and two-year programs, you'll be taught the essential tasks you'll be performing as a medical assistant: how to administer medication, how to complete clinical procedures, what lab techniques to follow and how to administer first aid. Additionally, you'll learn important information about medical law, patient relations and pharmaceutical procedures.

You'll often receive a certificate or diploma upon successful completion of a one-year program. Completing a two-year program usually results in an Associate's degree. Medical assistants are not required to be certified in order to work in the field, though certification can greatly increase your chances of being hired and your pay rate.

When considering which type of medical assisting school is right for you, you may want to consider the requirements of healthcare providers in your area. Search job listings to see what educational requirements and preferences employers have listed. If possible, talk to individuals who are currently working as medical assistants about their own educational and career experiences.

Choose an accredited program
A certificate or Associate's degree from a medical assisting college will only be legitimate if the program you complete is accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). During your college search, checking accreditation should be one of your top priorities. Generally, accreditation information will be prominently displayed on the website of a medical assisting college. If you can't find accreditation information on the school's website or in their promotional materials, call the school and verify their accreditation status.

Think about what you personally need from a school
Once you've determined which accredited programs are available in your area or online, you'll need to choose between all the schools you've found. During your college search, consider factors like the price of tuition, the type of medical assisting programs available, the scheduling of courses, and the proximity of the school to your home or work. Many schools also offer tours of their facilities. If possible, take advantage of this opportunity – there really is no substitute to seeing the school in person. Of course, if you're considering an online school, then there will be no need for a campus tour. You should, however, do a little online research to find out how current and former students feel about the program.

Making a career change can be a scary prospect at first. However, if you put some time, research and thought into selecting an appropriate education program, you'll be well on your way to setting yourself up for success in a new, rewarding career in the medical field.

Author's Bio: 

Hello everyone, I am a featured writer for US College Search. Go to our site to check out all of our helpful information for going back to school. Our site helps non-traditional students enter back into educational mainstream. We have many college search options including the largest selection of medical assistant colleges in your area, and frequently asked questions about all of the medical assistance schools offering new careers.