How to Become a Medical Assistant in Pennsylvania

Since there are no state requirements to become a medical assistant, you just need to take a course that will prepare you for a certification such as the CMA or equivalent. See below.

Medical Assisting is a great way to get into the stable healthcare industry, and in PA, the average salary for a certified medical assistant is $42K.

Education and Training

The best way to get started is with an online certification program through a local trade school:

Search Medical Assistant Programs

Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

Sponsored Listings

    All-State Career School
    Flexible schedules, financial aid and career services available.

    • Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lester


    Blackstone Career Institute
    4 to 12 month medical office assistant course that preps for the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant exam.

    • Allentown


    FORTIS College
    ACCSC & ABHES accredited school with entry level medical assisting program.

    • Erie, Forty Fort, Scranton


    Great Lakes Institute of Technology
    The 10 month Medical Assistant program at Great Lakes prepares students for clinical and administrative roles in healthcare settings through hands-on training and comprehensive coursework. Over several quarters, students practice clinical procedures, laboratory techniques, and healthcare administration, culminating in an externship for real-world experience. Graduates can pursue certification as Clinical Medical Assistants and Phlebotomy Technicians through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).

    • Erie


    Lansdale School of Business
    Allied health medical assistant associate degree.

    • North Wales, Phoenixville


    Laurel Technical Institute
    Laurel's 12-month Clinical Medical Assistant program in Uniontown and online equips students with essential clinical and administrative skills for healthcare settings. Students learn to take medical histories, record vital signs, administer injections, and assist with exams, preparing them for certification tests that enhance their career opportunities. The program offers a flexible schedule, hands-on learning from the first semester, and valuable off-site clinical experiences. Courses cover patient assessment, medical terminology, anatomy, electronic medical records, and clinical diagnostic procedures, ensuring comprehensive training for future medical assistants.

    • Uniontown


    Lincoln Tech
    Along with skills needed for an entry level position, the Medical Assistant Training Programs will prep you for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam. Hybrid format. Flexible class schedules.

    • Allentown, Philadelphia


    McCann School of Business & Technology
    13 month Medical Clinical Assisting diploma.

    • Allentown, Lewisburg


    Pennco Tech
    Become qualified for medical office positions in 18 weeks.

    • Bristol


    Pennsylvania Institute of Technology
    The Clinical Medical Assistant Certificate program at the Pennsylvania Institute of Technology equips students with essential skills for a range of clinical roles in healthcare. In just three 11-week terms, students receive comprehensive training in areas such as EKG, phlebotomy, and patient care, and are prepared for national certification exams. The program is accredited and provides hands-on experience, personalized instruction, and job placement support.

    • Media


    Prism Career Institute
    Prism Career Institute’s Medical Assistant program provides an in-depth, career-focused education across its New Jersey and Pennsylvania campuses, including Cherry Hill, West Atlantic City, and Philadelphia. The program spans 40 weeks, totaling 720 hours of training, which includes 420 lecture hours, 150 lab hours, and 150 hours of practical externship experience. Students can choose from daytime or evening classes to fit their schedules, and the curriculum covers essential skills such as medical law, phlebotomy, and clinical procedures. The program's accreditation by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training (ACCET) guarantees adherence to rigorous educational standards. Graduates are prepared for certification as a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA), with all associated exam costs covered by Prism Career Institute.

    • Philadelphia


    South College
    Associate of Science in Medical Assisting Advanced curriculum in medical lab and clinical procedures, pharmacology, medical insurance & coding and more.

    • Pittsburgh


    YTI Career Institute
    Hybrid program where you can be trained in 20 months. And you can earn Phlebotomy and CPR certs.

    • Altoona, Lancaster, York


How Will a Course Be Beneficial?

Whether it’s CMAA, CMA, RMA or NCMA, the best courses will be designed to help you pass your certification exam.

Most of the time, exam fees will be included in the price.

What Do You Study?

Some of the most common courses include:

I. Medical Terminology and Basic Concepts

  • Introduction to Medical Terminology
  • Systems of the Body:
    • Musculoskeletal, Cardiovascular, Lymphatic and Immune
    • Respiratory, Digestive, Urinary, Nervous
    • Special Senses: Eyes and Ears
    • Integumentary, Endocrine, Reproductive

II. Clinical Procedures and Diagnostics

  • Diagnostic Procedures, Nuclear Medicine, Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Infection Control and Medical Asepsis
  • Body Measurements and Vital Signs
  • The Complete Physical Examination (CPE)
  • Specialty Examinations and Procedures
  • The Physician’s Office Laboratory (POL)
  • Specimen Collection and Processing
  • Introduction to Phlebotomy
  • Diagnostic Testing
  • Minor Office Surgeries

III. Pharmacology and Patient Care

  • Pharmacology
  • Medication Dosage Calculations
  • Administering Medications
  • Emergencies and First Aid in the Medical Office
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Nutrition and Special Diets
  • Rehabilitation

IV. Professional Development and Certification

  • Certifications for the Experienced CMAA
  • Certification
  • Preparing for Your Career

How Long Does It Take?

Most certificate programs are completed in 9 to 12 months.  With online courses, you might be able to finish faster since you can control when you study.

What Is the Cost?

Certification programs are typically in the $2,000 to $3,000 range.  Most have financing options.

Accreditation

Look for schools or programs with accreditation.  Usually by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Employers recognize these organizations and often feel more confident hiring graduates from accredited schools.

Educational Requirements 

Typically students need to be 18 or older, and possess either a high school diploma or GED.

Average Salary Range

Below is some regional data from the BLS.Below are some average salaries and hourly wages for areas of the state.

Area Hourly Annual
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton $20.01 $41,630.00
Altoona $17.64 $36,690.00
Bloomsburg-Berwick $18.38 $38,230.00
Chambersburg-Waynesboro $19.35 $40,240.00
East Stroudsburg $19.06 $39,650.00
Erie $18.20 $37,860.00
Gettysburg $19.34 $40,220.00
Harrisburg-Carlisle $19.71 $40,990.00
Johnstown $17.14 $35,660.00
Lancaster $19.64 $40,860.00
Lebanon $19.27 $40,090.00
Northern PA $18.98 $39,470.00
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington $21.63 $44,990.00
Pittsburgh $19.55 $40,660.00
Reading $20.58 $42,800.00
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton $18.78 $39,060.00
Southern PA $19.39 $40,330.00
State College $19.16 $39,850.00
Western PA $17.53 $36,460.00
Williamsport $18.48 $38,440.00
York-Hanover $19.41 $40,380.00

Occupation: Medical Assistants (SOC Code319092)
source: data.bls.gov

Some of the highest-paid medical assistants in the nation work at outpatient care centers like urgent care, nursing homes, and ambulatory surgery centers. Hospitals and doctor’s offices also pay well for this career.

Pennsylvania Requirements

Pennsylvania does not administer state licenses to medical assistants and does not require specific certifications.

Also, the Pennsylvania legislature does specify the conditions in which medical assistants can work.

However, job requirements are employer-determined, and most companies prefer to hire certified individuals.

Professional Organizations

Pennsylvania Society of Medical Assistants logo

The Pennsylvania Society of Medical Assistants provides members with resources to help them grow their careers as medical professionals.

Affiliated with the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), this organization has chapters in several counties.

Members can stay updated on legislative changes, find training and job opportunities, and connect with colleagues.

 

Recertification

Those who wish to stay certified throughout their career must renew their CMA credentials every five years. After that, they can either retake the exam or submit continuing education credits for recertification.

These credits are available through educational institutions as well as the training provided by the employer.

Job Description

As essential healthcare support workers, medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks inside doctor’s offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and other medical facilities.

Responsibilities

Their primary duties can change depending on where they work, how large the practice is, and whether they specialize in a particular field like podiatry or ophthalmology.

There are two types of medical assistants, and their responsibilities are as follows:

  1. Administrative Medical Assistant – This type of healthcare worker handles in-office tasks like recording patient history, completing insurance forms, scheduling appointments, taking phone calls, and maintaining or updating medical records.
  2. Clinical Medical Assistant – With the proper certifications, clinical medical assistants can measure vitals, administer medications, draw and prep blood samples, change wound dressings, and assist doctors with patient exams as well as administrative work.

Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the medical assisting field to grow faster than most occupations in the United States. With a national job growth rate of 16%, there could be close to 123,000 medical assistant job openings each year by 2031. Pennsylvania could also see exponential growth in this field as the population ages, increasing the need for medical care.

Search Medical Assistant Programs

Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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