How to Become a Medical Assistant in Michigan

Healthcare in Michigan is big business. The state’s healthcare sector remains the largest private employer and contributes nearly 40% to the economy each year, and the hospital systems here are bigger and more innovative than ever. Major players like Grand Rapids’ Spectrum Health, which operates no less than 14 hospitals and employs more than 21,000, and Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System and Grand Blanc’s McLaren Health Care, which both boast annual revenues that exceed $5 billion, have kept Michigan’s healthcare sector growing at an impressive clip and professional opportunities for medical assistants growing along with it.

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According to the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, there’s about 2,770 annual openings for medical assistants here due to a combination of retirements, natural job turnover, and new job growth. For aspiring medical assistants who have completed the education and certification sought by the state’s healthcare employers, opportunities are more impressive than ever.

Complete the following steps to become one of Michigan’s highly qualified medical assistants:

Complete a Formal Education Program in Medical Assisting
Earn National Certification
Explore Employment Opportunities in Michigan

The Michigan Medical Assistants Review Board recognizes medical assistants as multi-skilled health professionals who are educated to work in ambulatory care settings and perform both administrative and clinical duties.

The Michigan Society of Medical Assistants identifies administrative medical assistant duties as including:

  • Arranging for hospital admissions
  • Arranging for laboratory services
  • Filling out insurance forms
  • Handling office correspondence and bookkeeping
  • Maintaining patient medical records
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Using computer applications

Clinical duties include:

  • Assisting physicians during patient exams
  • Authorizing prescription refills
  • Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
  • Drawing blood
  • Explaining treatment to patients
  • Instructing patients regarding medication, diet, wound care, etc.
  • Preparing and administering medications under the direction and supervision of a physician
  • Preparing patients for examinations
  • Removing sutures, changing dressings
  • Taking medical histories

Although medical assistants in Michigan are not licensed medical professionals, the Medical Assistant Review Board notes that these professionals directly influence the public’s health and well-being. As such, the practice of medical assisting requires the mastery of a complex body of knowledge and specialized skills requiring both a formal education and practical experience, as stated by the Board.

In other words, a formal course of education and training in medical assisting should be on the top of your to-do list if you want to remain competitive in Michigan’s exciting medical assisting profession.



Step 1. Complete a Formal Education Program in Medical Assisting

You’ll find a nice selection of medical assisting programs offered as certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs, both at campus locations throughout Michigan and completely online. You’ll want to choose a program that’s accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), or a program that holds itself to similar curriculum and practical training standards.

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Accreditation ensures that the program includes all necessary education and training to prepare you to serve as a competent, entry-level medical assistant and guarantees that you’ll meet eligibility requirements for national certification.

To date, there are 17 ABHES-accredited programs and 21 CAAHEP-accredited programs in Michigan, and many more online available to students here.

While accredited diploma, certificate, and associate degree programs all include a similar course of medical assisting education and practical training through the completion of an internship, diploma and certificate programs take just 10-12 months to complete, whereas associate degrees take about 2 years because they also include a general education core.

But the extra time required to complete an associate’s degree is time well spent. Completing an Associate in Science (AS) in Medical Assisting not only positions you for better and more varied professional opportunities and better earning potential, but it also serves as the ideal precursor to a bachelor’s degree in an allied health field. Because most or all of the courses in an AS degree transfer to a bachelor’s degree in an area like healthcare administration or allied health, you can complete a four-year degree in a fraction of the time.  Associate of applied science (AAS) degrees are even more common and are strictly designed for career preparation so they don’t typically work as transfer degrees, but they do provide very focused and practical training that will give you everything you need to succeed in the field.



Step 2. Earn National Certification

National certification is your opportunity to take your qualifications to the next level and position yourself as an expert in the field.

The Michigan Society of Medical Assistants recognizes the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential through American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). You’ll earn eligibility to take the CMA exam by completing an accredited medical assisting program.

While the CMA remains the most widely pursued credential in Michigan, it’s certainly not the only one:



Step 3. Explore Employment Opportunities in Michigan

Becoming a member of a professional association like the Michigan Society of Medical Assistants, the state’s AAMA chapter, is always a smart move. Become part of a professional association and you’ll enjoy opportunities to network with your colleagues, find continuing education opportunities to keep your national certification current, and stay up-to-date on changes to the profession, and healthcare industry as a whole.

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Once you’re ready to hit the ground running and land that first job, you’re sure to find plenty of opportunities through some of the state’s largest healthcare systems:

  • Henry Ford Medical Group, Detroit
  • CHE Trinity Health, Livonia
  • Spectrum Health Systems, Grand Rapids
  • University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
  • McLaren Health Care Corporation, Flint
  • Beaumont Health, Southfield
  • Ascension Michigan, Warren
  • Detroit Medical Center, Detroit


2019 job growth projections from the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives are aggregated through the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource, Projections Central. Employment conditions in your area may vary. 

All salary and employment data accessed July 2020.

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