Do I Need a Diploma to Become a Medical Assistant?

Healthcare professionals contribute to the well-being of their patients. Still, there is a group of clinical professionals without whom healthcare would come to a standstill. Known as frontline healthcare workers, they serve the community face-to-face, connecting people with providers and resources. There is no better example of frontline heroes than medical assistants.

Medical assistants tackle clinical and administrative duties so that doctors and nurses have more time to spend with their patients. From triaging phone calls and managing the facility schedule to drawing blood and performing EKGs, they make it possible for physicians to utilize their limited time better.

Do I Need a Diploma to Be a Medical Assistant?

A high school diploma is all you need to work as a medical assistant, but a college diploma is practically essential. Why? Healthcare is a complicated field that requires more skill than a high school education offers and on-the-job training is costly for employers. There is no guarantee that new hires will be successful. Therefore, most employers look for applicants with proven skills and a diploma. One way to attract job offers is to get a diploma or degree.

Medical assistants without a diploma are also limited in their roles by federal law. Only a credentialed medical assistant can perform specific tasks, such as entering doctor’s orders into a patient’s medical record. Medical assistants with a diploma can find work because they compete with more experienced job seekers.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Medical Assisting Diploma?

The benefits of getting a medical assisting diploma are tough to beat; students enjoy:

Comprehensive Training

Medical Assistant diploma programs focus on practical skills. The curriculum provides the same rigor as the degree programs, except that general electives are limited. In addition to English composition, communications, and an introduction to information technology, the diploma program at Florida National University offers classes in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, patient care procedures, electronic medical records, examining room procedures, lab procedures, medical office procedures, and medical insurance billing and coding.

A Hands-on Education

Florida National University supplements classroom lectures with hands-on training. The medical labs contain the same equipment found in doctor’s offices, so medical assistant students feel comfortable in their new roles from the first day on the job.

Industry Experienced Instructors

Florida National University hires industry-experienced instructors with years of experience in the field. You will gain deeper insights into medical assisting by working with instructors who have been there, extracting tips and valuable career advice.

A Sense of Confidence

There is always a sense of uncertainty that comes with a new job. Do you have the skills employers are looking for? A diploma program teaches you what you need to know so you can be confident in your abilities.

A Foundation for Professional Growth

The quality of training you receive as a medical assistant paves the way for professional growth. Experience is good, but a diploma ensures few gaps in your knowledge. Obtaining diploma signals that you are serious about developing your skills and you are ready for greater responsibility.

A diploma lays the foundation for higher learning; it is a prerequisite to obtain the certification. It better qualifies you for advancement opportunities.

Why Get a Diploma in Medical Assisting?

Many skills are more accessible to learn during a formal education. These skills include:


Medical assistants are not certified phlebotomists, but they can draw blood. Diploma programs prepare medical assistants to draw blood in medical facilities like doctor’s offices and hospitals. Learning in a diploma program allows you to practice your craft before performing it on patients.

Performing EKGs

Medical assistants can perform electrocardiography without close supervision. Medical assistants perform or assist with several types, including EKG, stress testing, and Holter monitoring. You will practice in the classroom and the field using the latest equipment. Clinical experiences will help you build confidence.

Taking Vital Signs

Medical assistants are trained in a diploma program to take the four primary vital signs: temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, plus three secondary vital signs: height, weight, and peripheral oxygen saturation.

Leadership Potential

Degree and diploma programs significantly build leadership potential among medical assistants by incorporating development programs and activities into the curriculum. Through classroom projects, extracurricular activities, and mentorship programs, instructors prepare graduates for future career growth and leadership positions.

Confidence and Self-Esteem

Completing a diploma program instills a sense of achievement and confidence in medical assistants. With each task completed and class mastered, you will feel better equipped to handle personal and professional responsibilities.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills

Diploma programs emphasize critical thinking and problem-solving skills. As a medical assisting student, you will learn to assess facts objectively, make sound decisions, and find creative solutions to challenging problems.

A Strong Sense of Commitment

Medical assistants who earn a diploma demonstrate a commitment to personal growth and professional development. This dedication to continuous self-improvement is an essential source of pride and motivation for medical assistants.

Better Interpersonal Skills

Medical assistants interact directly with patients. Interpersonal skills such as empathy are essential for building strong therapeutic relationships. Every day as a student brings opportunities to practice interpersonal skills, which will help you better connect with people in your personal and professional lives.

Professional Ethics and Credibility

Diploma programs cover topics of ethics, behavior, and regulation, helping future medical assistants adapt to unfamiliar situations. As a form of commitment, professionalism instills pride in those who work to meet high standards.

Having a diploma also lends credibility to a medical assistant’s qualifications. It assures patients and supervisors that they have received the proper training to perform their duties safely and effectively. It also serves as a launching pad for continuous learning and career development.

A Continuous Learning Mindset

In some jobs, training is once-and-done. However, in medical assisting, you will need to take advantage of educational offers from courses to conferences. Florida National University encourages students to embrace every learning opportunity, setting the stage for continuous learning and effective career advancement.

How Do I Become a Medical Assistant?

While other roles in the healthcare field take years to train for, full-time students can become medical assistants in less than a year by completing a diploma program. The curriculum covers the many skills you need to succeed in a thriving industry; you will graduate work-ready and prepared for certification.

How Do I Become a Certified Medical Assistant?

The fastest way to become a certified medical assistant is to graduate from a medical assisting diploma program at an accredited university and to pass the certification exam.

How Do Diploma Programs Prepare Students for Certification?

Getting a diploma is an essential first step to a new career, with certification providing objective proof of your skills. FNU’s instructors do all they can to support you by preparing you for the test.

The Program covers the material you will find on the certification exam, including:

  • Anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology
  • Office procedures and computer applications
  • Billing and coding procedures
  • Medical ethics and law, including patient privacy regulations
  • Insurance and healthcare financing models
  • Laboratory and clinical protocols

Final Thoughts

Medical assisting is a secure and rewarding career. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 14-percent growth in the field through 2032. Florida National University will help you get a diploma or degree for a life-long career.

Eager to Learn More?

The Medical Assistant Technology Degree program prepares you for entry-level employment as a medical assisting technologist in administrative and clinical settings such as hospitals, clinics, medical labs, diagnostic centers, and medical offices. The Medical Assistant Technology training program includes a fifteen-credit-hour component of general education/ liberal arts courses. The student is prepared to challenge the CMA (Certified Medical Assistant), the RMA (Registered Medical Assistant) certification examinations, and the Phlebotomy National Certification exam. Florida National University awards an Associate of Science Degree upon program completion.

This Medical Assistant Diploma program aims to prepare the student as a multi-skilled medical assistant. This is done by acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to work in clinical and administrative settings at hospitals, clinics, medical labs, diagnostic centers, and doctors’ offices. In addition, the program offers options for entry-level positions such as front office procedures, back office procedures, and back office procedures. Florida National University students can apply for the American Registry for Medical Assistants (ARMA) registry.

If you are interested in healthcare programs, let Florida National University answer any questions. Contact us today to learn more about our degree and diploma programs.