Hi Birdie. The answer to your question is actually another question. Where do you want to be and what kind of assistant? Your first choice is to become a certified nursing assistant or CNA for short. You don't need to specialize here because you are really only taking vocational training. Most community colleges offer a course which you complete and then test for the certification within a single semester. Depending on your work setting you may be asked to further certify in phlebotomy but this would be on-the-job training. If instead you are looking to be the assistant in an office setting that would be an actual nurse or nursing assistant. Being a nurse requires more schooling and there is a big push today for at least a bachelor of science in nursing or BSN. Members of this area of the medical field spend 4 years (sometimes more if the do some prerequisite work at the community college level) living, breathing, and eating nursing. Getting into a program is very competitive and many programs require you to maintain a certain GPA. Once you graduate you then sit for an exam called NCLEX. If you pass you register with your state and you're an RN. Then you find a job and move to the specialty to desire over time. If you want to be in surgery as an assistant there is the surgical technical (2 years of school), being a surgical nurse, certifying as a nurse anesthetist (BSN and certification after getting at least a year of critical care experience), or being an anesthesiologist which requires medical school and more. I would check with your area hospital human resource department for what schools they have partnerships with and if there are current openings just to be safe. Best regards on your journey.