Medical Assistant Program
Many people who wish to work in the medical field may benefit from choosing a medical assistant (MA) career path. MAs are in demand, and the profession continues to grow, so there are many career opportunities. There is also the chance for advancement and continuous learning while working as a medical assistant, and because there is the option to not work on weekends and evenings, many choose this profession. MAs work in physician offices, outpatient diagnostic centers, community clinics, hospitals, home healthcare agencies, and surgical centers.
Educational Requirements for a Medical Assistant Program
There are both certificate MA programs and Associate Degree MA options. For someone looking to embark on a career as a medical assistant, they must first find a school that offers one of these choices. An MA program is generally two years in length, although some schools may offer programs that are shorter than that. Additionally, many MA courses can be taken online, allowing you to work while you obtain your certificate or degree.
With the Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting degree, you may need to show that you scored well on the ACT, have good grades from high school, and submit an entrance essay. Some schools require that you maintain a 2.5 or better GPA during the MA program and that you enter with a high school diploma.
Medical Assistant Certification
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers certification in this field. Upon meeting eligibility requirements and passing the credential examination, you will be awarded the title of “Certified Medical Assistant” or “CMA.” To apply for this credential, you must be a graduate of a CAAEP or ABHES accredited medical assisting program.
Medical Assistant Program Courses
The courses of study for a MA program vary from school to school. However, typical classes include CPR, first aid, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, office management, medical insurance and coding, diagnostic testing, office procedures, laboratory, and pharmacology. During the clinical portion of a MA program, medical assistants are trained to phone in prescriptions, draw blood, give injections, conduct electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and provide wound care.
Job Duties and Salaries for Medical Assistants
Those working within the healthcare field as a medical assistant are responsible for a number of tasks. Typical job duties include recording patient information, taking vital signs, assisting with medical procedures, conducting diagnostic tests, and administering injectable medications. MA graduates may be employed in a variety of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, outpatient settings, nursing homes, and medical assistant schools.
The salary for a medical assistant depends on a few different factors. The main one is the setting where they are employed, as some offices pay more than others. Another factor is the level of experience and educational degree. Finally, location also affects pay. The typical starting wage is around $20,000 per year and it can increase to around $45,000 as time passes and you make further advancements on your job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, MAs earn an average income of $29,000 per year.
AAMA (2013): http://www.aama-ntl.org/
BLS (2013): http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm