Are you interested in learning how to work as a medical assistant? It’s a good idea: this is regularly ranked as one of the top ten best jobs in America that you can start right after high school.
You’re in on the action because are a key source of help for physicians, physician assistants, and other healthcare practitioners.
You can advance your career by earning a two-year degree while working if you enjoy this fulfilling job. Those who have earned their CCMA (Certified Clinical Medical Assistant) certification are in high demand and earn high salaries.
Now for some more exciting stuff. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this sector is expected to expand by 19 percent over the next ten years, resulting in more than 725,000 new jobs.
What Is a Medical Assistant?
You are the engine of a medical practice or hospital floor. You’ll study medical terminology and protocols, assist patients and physicians, and ensure that everything runs smoothly.
What Is the Role of a Medical Assistant?
Your responsibilities will include a mix of clinical and administrative duties. A physician assistant works with 15 patients on average every day. You’ll take their blood pressure and temperature, as well as assist them in scheduling appointments, operations, and procedures.
You will keep the doctor’s office, clinic, or hospital floor structured on the administrative side by coding and keeping paperwork organized, keeping an inventory and ordering supplies, and ensuring that everyone follows medical policies and procedures.
Other responsibilities of a medical assistant can include:
- Instructing patients about medication or special diets
- Preparing patients for X-rays
- Removing stitches
- Filling out insurance forms
- Answering telephones and scheduling patient appointments
- Performing basic laboratory tests
- Sterilizing medical instruments
- Drawing blood
- Changing dressings
Where Do Medical Assistants Work?
Medical assistants work in doctor’s offices for about 65 percent of the time, while others work in clinics, nursing homes, and other health-care facilities.
Some medical assistants focus on a specific field of medicine. Many ophthalmologists, optometrists, and podiatrists, for example, need specialist medical assistants.
What Are Typical Medical Assistant Hours?
Most assistants work full time. Some work evenings, weekends, or holidays to cover shifts in medical facilities that are always open.
Medical Assistant Training Requirements
You will start working as soon as you graduate high school by taking the appropriate courses and then learning more on the job. Alternatively, you can enroll in one of the classes that will teach you how to become a medical assistant.
Here are the basic steps to become a certified medical assistant:
- Complete a practicum (unpaid internship in a health care setting)
- Take your certification exam
- Get your high school diploma or GED
- Complete an approved postsecondary program
School for Medical Assistants
Twelve-month certificates or degrees are available from community colleges, vocational schools, technical schools, and universities. Two-year associate degree programs are available at several universities and community colleges.
To complete your classes, you’ll spend time in both the classroom and the laboratory, which will include:
- Medical terminology
- EMR (Electronic Health Record) Software
Medical assistant services, on the other hand, will last anywhere from six weeks to a year. These programs integrate classroom instruction with hands-on training in a medical office. Can’t make it to an in-person class? Online services are available from approved colleges. These flexible programs allow you to start your education at home on your laptop and then finish it in a health care environment.
Is Medical Assistant Certification Required?
Most states do not need certification. You could have better job opportunities if you become a licensed medical assistant and are familiar with electronic health records (EHRs).
Accredited entities have many forms of physician assistant certifications. Both of them require you to complete an approved program, work experience, and then pass an exam. Many certificated programs require that you be at least 18 years old to apply.
Five certifications for medical assistants are recognized by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, which is part of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence:
- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from American Medical Technologists
How Much Do Medical Assistants Make?
Salary is $15+ per hour. Salaries range from less than $25K + to more than $48K+ and vary by geographic area, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
How to Find Medical Assistant Jobs?
A CCMA shortage has arisen in the past 10 years, and is expected to continue through the next decade. To stand out from the crowd of applicants, make sure you show off your experience and training when you apply for a job.
When you’re ready to apply, look at Jobs Searches for a variety of positions and submit your application.