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Is it better to get an associates degrees or just get a certificate for medical assisting?

De anza offers classes so you can get your associates for medical assistant or they also have the option to just get your certificate. I’m not sure which path to take yet and wonder the difference.

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Brianna’s Answer

The short answer is: it depends what your priorities are, and what your short and long term career goals are. Generally speaking, certifications take less time and money to pursue in the short term but don't leave much room for upward mobility. Associate degrees take more time to complete but offer more long term options for training and career advancement.

This link has some great information on the difference between an Associate degree and a certification specifically for health care fields: https://www.concorde.edu/blog/how-do-certification-and-associate-degrees-differ
Thank you comment icon I'm going to have to agree with above. All I needed for my bachelor's in paramedic medicine was I believe 1 English a science and all, ALL the math. Lol real college was not for me, I'm not a math person, after I got so far I had to pass math to continue......reason I am not a physical therapist today. But here I am a paramedic with a certification and when you're out there working with your colleagues....no can look at you and say oh she has a certificate and she has a degree. There were no real perks for me to stress myself over math classes that much. Do you!! Jill Tall
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James’s Answer

Getting a certificate is more specific and concentrated. It's not an ideal foundation if you want to continue your education down the line. Getting an associate's, I would say is better. It gives you a chance to build on your foundation and continue education. Maybe you want a bachelor's one day. Maybe you changed your mind about what you were interested in. At least your general education requirements will be out of the way.
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Jessica’s Answer

Getting a certificate will be quicker and less costly. If you are looking to start working as a medical assistant quickly, this would be a great route to take. You can always continue on and get your associate's degree while working as a medical assistant. Some employers may even offer tuition assistance to help you pay for your schooling!
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Eric’s Answer

The quickest and most cost effective way into the job market is to get a certificate which is less than a year, but in the long run for a career, it would be advisable to get the associates degree, which is two years full time, 3-4 years part time. It all depends on what your goals are and what you are able to afford to continue your education. Community Colleges offer the best prices with smaller classes which can aid in the process of learning. You can also work at the college part time while attending. If you have the time to go to a hospital or private practice (you local doctor), you can ask the professionals first hand the route in which they took to become a medical assistant. I wish you well in finding a career.
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Candice’s Answer

Getting a certificate in medical assisting prepares you to sit for the certification exam and gain immediate employment. An associate degree in medical assisting also allows you to sit for certification, but completing the degree level of study also makes you eligible to transfer for on to further education. With an associate degree you will have completed the first 2 full years of a college program and can transfer on to a 4 year college or univerisity. Though there are no 4 year degree programs in medical assisting, many people continue their education in fields such as nursing, healthcare administration, or business.

An associate degree program usually only requires about 2 more semesters than a diploma or certificate program. Associate degree programs also provide more instruction into areas of medical assisting such as electronic medical records, exam room procedures, management, medical insurance coding, and general psychology. The average yearly salary for a certificate level medical assistant is around $31,000. Where for a associate degree medical assistant it is closer to $36,000 yearly.
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Jennifer’s Answer

You can always continue your education. I feel this answer depends on your financial situation. Do you need to help pay for school? Do you need to work while attending school? If so, get the certificate and work towards the degree while employed. The experience you gain working will set you apart from your peers when seeking future employment. Just make sure not to sacrifice your education to work.
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Megan’s Answer

Hi!
I am a 13 year medical assistant. I just did the 8 month courses to get my certification, back then. I feel it is always great to get a degree, but in this field, in Ohio, it's not required to be a MA. If you are not going to go further in college I would suggest you skip ma school and go for your degree as an lpn or rn. The lpn is an associates degree and way more $. My MA classes didn't count for anything towards my rn.
Thank you comment icon LPN is a one year program. ADN is 2 year and you are a RN after passing NCLEX Marie Enos MSN, BSN, RN-NIC
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