How to Become a Medical Assistant-Salary, Education and Jobs

Summary of how to become a medical assistant

  • Medical assistants are required to complete a two-year vocational program
  • Average Salary: $29,230
  • Expected Lifetime Earnings: $1,220,000

Medical Assistant – Education

Medical assistants (or CMA – Certified Medical Assistants) are usually required to complete a two-year vocational program before they can begin to look for employment in this field. These vocational programs are offered by a vast array of different organizations such as community colleges, vocational schools, and junior colleges.

These programs usually require the aspiring medical assistant to complete courses in pharmaceutical technology, diagnostic procedures, ethics and clinical procedures. Students may also be required to complete on-the-job training offered by their employer and are usually required to be computer literate.  To find out if this career option is right for you, take a totally free career quiz.

Top Certified Medical Assistant Schools

1. Keiser University

2. Kaplan University

3. South University

4. Finlandia University

5. Concordia University Wisconsin

6. Allied Health Institute

7. Baylor College of Medicine

8. Quinnipiac University

9. Mountain State University

10. Herzing University

Medical Assistant – Certification

Most employers in the healthcare industry prefer (or even insist) that the Medical Assistants they employ are certified. Certification mostly is done by The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). This organization provides certification to graduates schools that offer medical assisting programs that are accredited by the CAAHEP (The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) or by the ABHES (The Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools).

Medical Assistant – The Job

Certified Medical Assistants usually work to support physicians and are working mostly in outpatient or ambulatory healthcare facilities, such as medical clinics and offices. Medical Assisting belongs to America’s most rapidly growing professional options, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

This job growth is due to aspects such as the foreseen increased number of outpatient care facilities and physicians’ offices, the rapid development of technological advancements, and the continuously increasing number of elderly patients who are in need of medical treatment. Certified Medical Assistants generally are cross-trained so they can perform both clinical duties and administrative tasks.

Medical assistants are tasked with various administrative duties that are necessary to keep the offices of medical professionals running smoothly. Medical assistants are usually employed by podiatrists, chiropractors, and physicians. The tasks that they are usually required to perform may be as basic as answering phones or as complicated as organizing billing records and interviewing patients.

Medical assistants employed in a clinical role may be required to complete the medical histories of patients, explaining treatment alternatives to patients and ensuring that patients are prepared for their appointment with the physician.

Medical Assistant Employment Opportunities

Professionals in this field work in a medical setting and can, therefore, expect a clean, well-lit environment for their day-to-day work activities. They can also expect to work in an environment where they must usually handle more than one job at a time, so it is imperative that they have good multitasking skills. The majority of medical assistants work over 40 hours per week, but there are instances where they may work on a part-time basis.

Medical assistants usually have plenty of advancement opportunities available to them. This is especially true if they take additional training on their own or through their employer. Medical assistants can advance to a number of different positions which include office management and administrative support management.

Employment prospects for medical assistants are excellent and the field is expected to grow at a much faster rate than average over the next ten years. Though the earnings of medical assistants vary from state to state, most professionals in this field can expect a median income of approximately $29,000 per year. Applicants new to this field generally make around $23,000 per year and those with the most experience make in excess of $39,000 per year.

Why don’t you take a career quiz and discover if becoming a Certified Medical Assistant is the perfect job for you?

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