According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistant employment is expected to go up by 34% before the end of the year. The U.S healthcare industry is quickly growing due to increasing prevalence of chloric diseases and aging of the population.
Theoretically speaking, medical assistant jobs are easy to find. But the reality is that to find a well-paying job you need to enroll for a medical assistant program. The program will provide you with the skills you need to handle all tasks.
Medical Assistant Job Description
Before looking into the medical assistant program overview, you need to understand there are two types of medical assistants namely administrative and clinical. This information will help you to know what you are interested in. You can choose to specialize in one kind or attend a program that trains you for both medical assistant jobs.
- Administrative medical assistants
Administrative medical assistants handle different records in the office, schedule appointments and answer calls. They also schedule other office arrangements like laboratory results and testing.
- Clinical medical assistants
Unlike the administrative MA, Clinical medical assistants interact with patients. Different states have different job descriptions. Some will allow you to administer medication and sensitize patients on lifestyle habits like diet and exercise. Others will let you talk with patients about their medical history and record all significant signs.
Medical Assistant Programs Overview
Tasks such as scheduling appointments and recording vital signs are simple, right? Nevertheless, there are also a lot of complexities to the job, and a good medical assistant program will provide you with the appropriate training.
So what is there to look for in a medical assistant school?
- Length- an MA program should take between 9 months and two years. This timeframe allows students to get well-paying medical assistant jobs.
- Curriculum- Choose a curriculum that offers training in documentation, medical records management, and computer fundamentals.
- Class schedule
- Exam preparation
To qualify for certification, you must complete a medical assistant program that is accredited by either CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs) or ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools).
Many organizations offer certification, but the two most common types of certification are:
- Certified Medical Assistant) from AAMA (American Association of Medical Assistants)
- American Medical Technologists from NCCA (National Commission for certifying agencies)
Before preparing for a medical assistant certification test, it is wise to research what employers near you are looking for. While all these certifications are recognized nationally, some organizations or states prefer certain certifications to others.
Medical Assistant Salaries
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest occupational outlook handbook, the average annual salary for an MA is $31,540. Actual salaries vary depending on specialization, location, education level, and experience. Full-time medical assistants, for instance, may be offered benefit packages that include medical insurance and a paid sick leave.
Call for Action
Now that you understand how marketable you may be once you complete your medical assistant program, it is time to start looking for accredited programs that can get you there. This is the first step towards the medical assisting career.