Do you have the desire to work in the medical field? Have you already ruled out the option of becoming a nurse or a doctor? Perhaps you should consider pursuing a career in the field of medical assisting. As a medical assistant you will be responsible for providing administrative and clinical support to many different types of physicians inside a licensed healthcare facility. Although a formal degree or training program is not a requirement to work in this capacity, completion of such a program is likely to help you stand out against fellow job seekers. Due to the nature of the training programs for this profession, it is common for students to complete their educational requirements in an online learning format. Based on recent research, employment in this field is expected to grow at a faster than average pace over the next few years. This makes it an ideal time to enter this career path!
It is common for individuals who want to become a medical assistant to pursue a certificate program. Although you can pursue this training program in a campus-based environment, it is common for students to choose an online learning format to complete their training requirements. Should you decide to pursue an online approach, you can expect your curriculum to consist of video lectures, interactive discussions, the use of web based resources, and audio lecture materials. Within a certificate programs in this field of study you can expect to focus your studies on medical terminology, human anatomy and physiology, office procedures, technology for medical offices, clinical procedures, and administrative procedures for a medical office.
Should you decide to pursue a diploma program you will likely have classes related to medical billing and insurance procedures, medical business operations, clinical assisting, and computers and applications. You can expect a diploma program to be more involved and require a longer period of study than a certificate program. Take a few minutes and peruse our site in search of any schools that appeal to you. Feel free to request that those schools send you a complimentary information packet that details what they have to offer you in your educational pursuits. Although it is most common for medical assistants to work in a doctor’s office, you will also be qualified to work in a hospital setting, an outpatient clinic, or within a long-term care facility. In addition, you may able to find work as a medical biller, a medical transcriptionist, or as a medical coder. Get the medical assisting training and education you require from a specialized school. Walk into any doctor’s office, hospital, or even a dentist’s office, you are going to see people who are working as a medical assistant. Medical assistants have several roles throughout an office and their daily duties are going to change depending upon what there is needed from their employer. Most medical assistants work with clerical tasks such as putting patient notes into files, updated patient files or records, arranging appointments in the office, and handling billing issues. Those who deal directly with patients may help with taking vital signs, giving shots, drawing blood, or helping the doctor or other nurses with procedures and preparing a patient for examination.
In essence, a medical assistant is going to wear several different hats in the office that they work in. They are a vital part of the medical world, as the tasks that they handle make everyone’s job easier, and helps a patient to get the best care possible. For those who have an interest in this career, they are going to find that it is one that is going to offer a lot of possibilities and is one that is going to be around for several years!
At one point in time, those who wanted to be a medical assistant could do this with a high school degree combined with some on the job training. However, as the world of medicine changes and becomes more complicated, most places are mandating that in order to be hired, a person must have some sort of certificate or degree in medical assisting.
Medical Assistant Certificates and Diplomas
This form of education is one of the basics that a person can get. A certificate or diploma program is going to be a quick way to get the basic information that you may need in order to do the job. These certificates or diplomas are often given by community colleges, careers schools and universities. This field of study is going to concentrate on what you need to know in order to do the job. There is going to be no general education requirements required to earn this. This is one of the main aspects that sets this apart from the other degrees that you can get to become a medical assistant. For those who do decide to go with a certificate or diploma program, they are going to find that the courses are going to be very intense and directly related to the career. A few examples of classes may include:
- Medical terminology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical law and ethics
- Medical office management
- Clinical practices
In most cases, those who try to get this degree are going to find that they can do this in a year or less, depending on how much time they have to devote to the practice. In addition, many people find that this is the cheaper alternative to becoming a medical assistant, as these certificates or diplomas do not cost as much as getting a two or four-year degree.
Associates Degrees for Medical Assistant
Many people decide to further their education rather than settle for a certificate or a diploma. An associate degree is a two-year degree that is going to increase the chances of landing a career upon graduation. These associate degrees are often an Associate’s of Applied Science in Medical Assisting. This is a two-year degree that can be finished sooner, depending upon how much time a person wants to involve in obtaining this degree. The curriculum of a two-year degree is going to include those necessary and mandatory health and medical courses to ensure a person can handle the job. But, it will also include some general education requirements set forth by the college or university in which a person is going to.
Bachelor’s Degrees for Medical Assisting
While most people opt for a two-year degree or the certificate or diploma, there are a few colleges in the United States that do offer a four-year degree. However, these degrees are not called medical assistant, they are often called a Bachelor’s in Health Science or Allied Health. These types of degrees are what most people who are already working in the field can go for later in order to advance their career and move up throughout their employer’s office.
Licensing and Certification
There is no set licensing that a medical assistant has to have in order to work in most states. However, this is something that the person will want to check this out with their state. Some states are requiring different items than others, as this is all up to them. However, there are a few licensing agencies that a medical assistant may want to have in order to improve their chances of becoming hired and it can also help them with finding employment opportunities. These licenses and certifications include:
1. American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
2. American Medical Technologists (AMT)
In most cases, those who apply to these organizations will have to meet certain requirements. They do not admit everyone who wants to be a part of these organizations. They also may have to take a certification examination to be given this certification. There may be times in which the person must have to renew their certification in order to continuously claim they are a member of these communities.
Salary for a Medical Assistant
A medical assistant will earn based on their actual location in the United States. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has the average pay for medical assistants as earning $31,540 per year, or $15.17 per hour. With this being said, the following are the average pay within the state that you may be located in:
- Alabama: $27,058 to $32,313
- Alaska: $31,049 to $37,874
- Arizona: $24,866 to $34,125
- Arkansas: $26,201 to $30,847
- California: $32,045 to $41,214
- Colorado: $28,267 to $$34,013
- Connecticut: $34,540 to $37,306
- Delaware: $34,219 to $35,635
- District of Columbia: $35,801
- Florida: $29,899 to $33,084
- Georgia: $28,915 to $33,079
- Hawaii: $32,770 to $34,771
- Idaho: $27,394 to $31,183
- Illinois: $28,563 to $35,013
- Indiana: $30,060 to $32,734
- Iowa: $25,997 to $32,794
- Kansas: $27,177 to $32,823
- Kentucky: $27,311 to $31,996
- Louisiana: $27,835 to $33,108
- Maine: $29,337 to $33,339
- Maryland: $34,097 to $35,801
- Massachusetts: $34,019 to $37,603
- Michigan: $30,894 to $35,151
- Minnesota: $30,014 to $33,749
- Mississippi: $25,100 to $31,335
- Missouri: $29,166 to $32,779
- Montana: $20,034 to $31,089
- Nebraska: $22,662 to $32,107
- Nevada: $33,552 to $34,491
- New Hampshire: $32,884 to $35,218
- New Jersey: $34,708 to $39,323
- New Mexico: $23,212 to $36,652
- New York: $31,170 to $39,323
- North Carolina: $36,560 to $33,277
- North Dakota: $23,579 to $32,097
- Ohio: $30,319 to $32,500
- Oklahoma: $28,214 to $32,355
- Oregon: $27,114 to $34,387
- Pennsylvania: $29,620 to $37,376
- Rhode Island: $33.943 to $34,377
- South Carolina: $28,415 to $33,277
- South Dakota: $19,327 to $30,406
- Tennessee: $27,643 to $31,706
- Texas: $23,532 to $33,551
- Utah: $25,673 to $32,320
- Vermont: $29,123 to $32,458
- Virginia: $30,389 to $35,801
- Washington: $31,209 to $36,108
- West Virginia: $28,855 to $31,039
- Wisconsin: $25,666 to $32,773
- Wyoming: $23,735 to $30,406
The salary that a person is going to earn is going to depend upon how much education they have, along with how much experience that the person has.
A medical assistant is in the healthcare field, which is one of those fast-paced career fields that is going to continue to grow and is always looking for new people to join in on this field. The field of medical assistant is expected to grow by 23% from 2014 to 2204 according to US, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The growth in this field is due to the many health practices that are setting up throughout the United States, as well as many people reaching the treatment age and practices needing to replace these retired medical assistants. The way in which a medical assistant finds their career in terms of whether they have an easy or hard time of finding employment is going to impacted by the specialization in which they can into. There are several medical assistant specializations that a person can go into. These specializations can mean the difference between finding a job rather easily or having to look harder or relocate to where these jobs are located. The specializations for this career include:
1. Family Medicine: This is the most common medical assistant, as these are found in almost every office that is seen in the United States.
2. Pediatrics: These medical assistants specialize in infants, children and adolescents.
3. Geriatrics: These medical assistants target the elderly.
4. Cardiology: This is going to work with those offices that are devoted to heart conditions.
5. Oncology: These offices are devoted to caring for cancer and providing care for terminally ill patients.
6. Allergy and Immunology: These medical assistants are going to be working with those who are diagnosing and treating allergies.
7. Gastroenterology: These medical assistants assist in the offices of those who deal with stomach, intestines and other issues associated with the digestive system.
8. Ophthalmology: These are assistants who work in vision centers.
9. Medical Billing and Coding: Many offices have medical assistants who are devoted to dealing with billing and coding in the medical world.
10. Health Information Management: These are medical assistants who are devoted to patient records and ensuring that these are always up to date.
For those who are looking for the best areas for finding these employment opportunities, they are going to find that California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and New York are some of the states that have the higher number of medical assistants employed. The population of the state is going to greatly affect how many medical assistants are hired. The higher the population in the state, the more medical facilities there are for medical assistants to work at. For many of those who are MA (Medical Assistants), they are using this as the starting point to get to become a registered nurse. Many MA’s work as they go back to school to earn their degree to become a registered nurse. This is just one path that a person can take if they are looking to advance their career. However, there are just as many MA’s who are happy in their position and continue to do this for many years to come.
Who Should Become a Medical Assistant?
Is this the career for you? This is what many people are wondering about. There are several characteristics that a medical assistant is going to have and it points to this person being one that is going to be great in this career field. A few of these characteristics that people have include:
- They are naturally friendly as the person may be dealing with patients and staff throughout the entire day.
- A love of health and science, as these are two subjects that make up the majority of what you will learn and practice from day to day.
- The person loves dealing with people who may be sick and helping them in any way that they can.
- Ability to work in high stress situations from time to time.
- Ability to deal with technology as you are going to find that a big part of your job is going to be dealing with records and computers.
With this being said, why should you become a medical assistant? There are three main reasons that so many people are considering this career. These reasons are:
1. There is a great employment growth for medical assistants. In the past ten years, there have been around 3.6 million of these jobs added to the health care market, and medical assistants were a huge part of this.
2. Training often takes less than a year thanks to the number of programs that can be found at major colleges and universities in the United States. Those who do want to specify in a certain practice will find that this may take them a few extra months to get the training that is required.
3. This is a career that many people can be proud of as they are going to find that this gives them a career in which they are helping others. Helping others is something that everyone can be proud of!
There are several tips that you can utilize in order to land your dream job as a medical assistant. The first is of course, having the right educational requirements in order to qualify for those positions that are in the medical field. When you do graduate, you are going to find that you will have to find a job that is hiring first. A great tip to remember is that it could pay you to become part of those organizations that are designed specifically for medical assistants. These organizations often offer some great employment help and finding employers that are looking to hire someone like you. So, while you are waiting on a call back, why not spend some time in getting involved in these organizations? A few other tips include:
1. If you are called into an office for an interview you are going to want to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward. Dress to impress. You will want to ensure that you look professional and as though you belong in the health field. Your appearance is going to be a huge factor in being hired as you are going to find that most employers want someone who is going to look professional as the face that is seen in their office.
2. Be sure that you know about the place that you are interviewing at. While the interview is meant to get to know you, be aware that the employer may ask you questions about their location. The more you know, the better, as you are going to demonstrate that you know your audience.
3. Be passionate about the job. Show that you truly love this type of work and how great you would be for their company! Enthusiasm is one of the main reasons that employers give for hiring one person over another.
4. Ensure you are on time or early for the interview as this showcases that you are responsible. Being late for an interview can be the last strike against a potential employee. If you show up late, chances are the employer is going to dismiss you immediately.
5. Your resume is going to be one of the first things that an employer looks at. Ensure this is professional, well written, concise and shows why you are the person to choose for the position. Include references on this resume as this shows that you are being open and honest about what you have done in the past and are encouraging the employer to reach out about your work ethic.
If you are having trouble with finding a job after graduating from the program, a great new idea that many people are taking advantage of is the medical-assistant externship. This is basically an internship that provides around 160 hours of work that you are shadowing a professional and learning more about what you need to do, and the like. This can lead to a permanent position, but it can also lead to a person using this as a way to fill out their resume and show that they can do the work. Many employers like seeing this on the resume as they find this means less training that they have to do.
Employers often state that when it comes to medical assistants, they are going to be looking for certain characteristics in those who are applying. These characteristics include:
1. They have an outgoing personality.
2. They are knowledge in the medical field.
3. They are happy to get started.
4. They are confident and this confidence can be seen in how they carry themselves.
5. The person is simply friendly and will make an excellent addition to the front lines of their office.
What Employers Look for in a Medical Assistant
When employers are looking for a medical assistant, there are several aspects that they look for in this person. The right fit can mean having an office that runs flawlessly, having patients that are less agitated in the waiting room, and overall, a lighter experience when walking into the office. So, what are employers looking for?
• Employers like to find medical assistants who do have some experience. Whether this experience is actual work experience or just having performed an internship. Either option is going to make a person look better in the eyes of the potential employer.
• Your grades in the subjects that you took are going to play a huge role in how much employers consider your resume. They want someone who received good grades as this shows that they can put in the time and commitment to get new material. It can also showcase that the person does have some knowledge about what will be done in the office from day to day.
• Employers look for medical assistants who are outgoing people who smile, talk to everyone as though they know them, make a person feel as though they are welcomed and at home, and overall be someone who is going to be a great face that people see when they walk into the office.
• Employers also want someone who values honesty and integrity, which are two aspects they can discover through talking with references listed on the person’s resume. Medical assistants who have honesty and integrity are more likely to put the patient’s wellbeing above everything else.
• Is the person a team player? This is a huge aspect that employers look for as a good medical office is going to be one that works flawlessly and in order to do this, teamwork is a big part of this.
• Do you have motivation? Many times, a medical assistant is going to have to motivate themselves to do certain things. The employer is not going to stand over top of the assistant to ensure they are doing their job as good as they should be. Having self-motivation is a great aspect that can put a person above others that may be applying for the same position.
• Are you a good communicator? A big part of being a medical assistant is dealing with patient’s day in and day out. These customers can be rude when not getting the appointment that they want, they may ask tons of questions about what the doctor will be doing and the like. These are all questions that they will expect the medical assistant to answer. For medical assistants, being able to communicate your reasoning and answers is a must!
• Do you have humility? Are you one of those people who will ask if they are having trouble with a new aspect? Will you ask for clarification if this is something that you do not understand? While many people think that this would make you look incapable in the position, it actually communicates that you are someone who will ask rather than try to do this without help.
Employers will also have their own personal preferences in a medical assistant. For example, some dental offices may be looking for a woman to fill this role, while others may want a man to fill the role. Some employers take into consideration your location and whether you are close enough to the office to be on time or you are willing to relocate. These are all aspects that employers consider when they are interviewing each person that they are considering for the medical assistant position.
Is the medical assistant career the one for you? If you love helping others and you are looking for a career that you can often get within one year of training, then you are going to find that this could be one of the best careers for you. This is a career that is never going to fade out, as the medical assistant is the silent back bone in most offices that run throughout the United States. Thus, this is a career that you can be confident in having for several years to come or expanding upon if this is something of interest. Medical assistants are not limited to certain locations, so this can be found in almost any city that you are looking to move into. In addition, this is a rewarding career that will allow you to help not only patients but other medical professionals on a daily basis. Those who do become medical assistants often love the feeling of doing good and helping others that they get each and every work day.