Training to become a medical assistant is an important choice for the future of your career. The number of certified medical assistants has increased significantly due to the job market value they offer. Medical assistants are needed in clinics, hospitals and ambulatory healthcare settings. You may work as a front-office employee or become involved with various administrative duties which facilitate knowledge acquisition and patient care. And to provide you with more information, we created this article with the help of MedAssistantEdu.
Who is a medical assistants?
The U.S Department of Labor defines medical Assistants as individuals who provide "front office support for doctors' offices, health clinics, hospitals, managed care companies and nursing homes." They also work at rehabilitation centres, where they assist patients during physical therapy or diagnostic testing activities. Their responsibilities include answering phones, greeting patients, scheduling appointments and maintaining patient files. Some Medical Assistants work as part of the administrative team and may be responsible for billing.
People who wish to become medical assistants must be certified by passing a national exam. According to BLS, nearly all employers prefer or require their medical assistants to have certification from a nationally-recognized organization or state/national registry such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The AAMA certifies an individual with a credential after meeting educational criteria, passing a national registration examination, and successfully fulfilling any other requirements set by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) and the board of certification.
Medical Assistant training program duration
Medical Assistant training programs vary in length from 8 weeks to 2 years. They generally include classes in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and office practices. There is also required clinical experience with the supervision of a practising physician or healthcare professional.
Medical Assistant courses can be taken at traditional trade schools, colleges and universities, and community organizations such as YMCAs that offer continuing education programs. When evaluating a school, it is essential to look for accreditation from one of the following: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), Council on Occupational Education (COE) or state licensing boards. The U.S Department of Labor provides a list of accredited programs.
After completing an educational program, students take national certification exams that lead to formal designation as certified medical assistants. The NCCPA gives the AAMA certification exam. Many employers prefer to hire certified medical assistants, which can automatically be obtained after completing an accredited program or exam.
After gaining experience as a medical assistant, it may be possible to specialize in certain areas of health care; this is often done by attending supplemental training sessions at reputable colleges and universities. For example, some people choose to become phlebotomy (blood) technicians or radiation therapy technologists. Others learn more about laboratory procedures through special classes and seminars offered at colleges and hospitals.
Individuals who work as medical assistants must:
- - Be proficient in computer applications such as Electronic Medical Records, electronic health records and billing software.
- - Understand basic mathematics such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
- - Possess good communication skills, including speaking with clarity and fluency.
- - Show attention to detail and be able to prioritize multiple tasks.
Have physical stamina since they may be on their feet for long periods and frequently lift heavy objects.
Medical Assistant training programs usually provide the student with all the skills necessary to become a valued member of an office or clinic team and receive a competitive compensation package. It is important to note that salary varies depending upon where one works (in or out of the hospital), what type of certification one has (speciality) and how much experience they have.
Medical assistants are also required to possess good communication skills, be detail-oriented, have physical stamina, show attention to detail and have strong computer skills.
Basic requirements of becoming a Medical Assistant
The following list shows just some of the potential benefits of becoming a medical assistant:
Your employer pays · Professional organization membership dues. This provides additional resources for continuing education as well as other benefits, including liability insurance.
- · Affordable health insurance options through employer's group plan that can cover you and your spouse and dependents. Additionally, this option may provide reimbursement for any medical expenses not covered under your current policy.
- · Time off, including sick days and paid vacation hours (generally one week for each month of service).
- · Enrollment in programs such as 403(b) or 401(k), which allow you to save for retirement.
- · Tuition reimbursement benefits if applicable through an employer. This would cover educational courses related to your current job, new career opportunities within the company and more.
Medical Assistant Salary:
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual wage for medical assistants was $31,540 in May of 2015. The lowest 10 per cent earned less than $21,030 annually, while the highest 10 per cent had incomes exceeding $45,710 per year.