The amount of time it takes to complete a medical assistant program depends largely on the level of qualification you are looking for. The higher the level of qualification you are training for, the longer it will generally take you to complete your course.
These are the typical lengths of time you can expect to study for:
Typical Medical Assistant Program
Most people choose to become a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), or Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), and there are courses available which are accredited to prepare you for the exam, which can be completed in 6 to 12 months. These are generally courses which contain the same content, but the shorter ones are 'Accelerated' which means you do more classes at the same time to complete the material more quickly.
Fast Online Courses
There are some online courses that claim you can complete their courses in as little as 8 weeks, we would strongly recommend you check to see if they are accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools before taking any online course, you want to be certain the course will get you the qualification you're looking for.
2 Year Medical Assistant Programs
If you take an Associate's Degree course then you will generally expect to devote two years to completing your studies. Although these courses are much longer, they do have added benefits in terms of career opportunities and higher rates of pay. For more information see Associate's Degree in Medical Assisting.
It is possible to do related degrees such as a Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management, however these 3 to 4 year degrees are not necessary to either qualify, or get work, as a medical assistant.
Most people will complete their Medical Assistant training in 6 to 12 months. Longer courses are available, but they are not necessary to become a RMA or CMA.