Do you want a career in the medical field and look forward to working with doctors, nurses, and patients to provide quality care for the patient? Medical assistants are the first professionals to meet in the offices of doctors, hospitals, and emergency centers that perform a wide range of clinical and administrative tasks. 

Medical assistants are in high demand in 2020 across the country, and this career offers a stable salary, reliable working hours, significant benefits for employees, and job security. Not everyone has the skills to work in the medical field; however, if you are dedicated and service-oriented, becoming a certified medical assistant may be the perfect job for you.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics – BLS, there will be a 23% increase in the demand for the job in the next eight years. Knowing how to become a medical assistant is the first step towards this successful career. 

In this guide, we will be focusing on what you can expect as an aspiring medical assistant requirement, various programs available, certifications and licenses, jobs after graduation, and more.

Steps to Become a Medical Assistant

Consider going further in the Healthcare Industry

After completing the training and receiving the certificate, it is time to practice all of this knowledge. Those who get a basic job can settle down and look to the future. Deciding to take the profession further by returning to school can be an attractive option for those who wish to expand their medical assisting careers. 

Those who have achieved the associate diploma may want to use it as a cornerstone to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing, administration, and more. Anyone willing to work as a medical assistant can expand their horizons with various certifications. Certification in certain office programs, phlebotomy, medication, and other work-related issues to a medical assistant can guarantee a competitive pay rate and possibly better job security.

What does a Medical Assistant do?

Medical assistants are specialized health care providers who work closely with patients, nurses, and doctors and perform various clinical and administrative tasks related to administrating a medical office. 

A medical assistant’s clinical tasks include taking and recording the vital signs in patients, collecting the patient’s medical history, assisting doctors in examining patients, administering injections or medications as directed by a physician, sterilizing medical supplies, and medical waste disposal. 

Besides the clinical work, medical assistants perform many administrative duties, such as updating and maintaining patient records, assisting with medical billing, managing medical records, filling out insurance applications, and scheduling patient appointments. 

Through a range of tasks, medical assistants have the opportunity to participate in many of the daily operations in a medical office, hospital department, or private practice.

What are the Certification and Licensing requirements For Medical Assistants?

Presently, five medical assistant certifications were accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, and each with little difference in the requirements. The following certificates are required for the medical assistants; Certified Medical Assistant – CMA, form AAMA – American Association of Medical Assistants. 

The Certified Medical Administrative Assistant – CMAA or Certified Clinical Medical Assistant – CCMA is two licenses offered by the National Health Career Association, depending on your specialization. The AMT – American Medical Technologists, offer Registered Medical Assistant – RMA. Lastly, the National Certified Medical Assistant – NCMA is offered by the National Center for Competency Testing.

Medical Assistant Without Certification

It is not a requirement of the state or federal government to work as a medical assistant with AAMA certification. But, a lot of employers require that their medical assistant has to be certified. Medical liability is an ongoing health care concern. 

Doctors want to make sure that the nurses they employ are competent and have the necessary skills to treat patients safely. Some insurance companies that insure doctors and medical centers may also require nurses to be certified to maintain medical liability risks.

You can work as a medical assistant without being certified. If you have recently completed your training, you may be employed as an uncertified medical assistant; however, your employer may ask you to receive your certificate within a certain employment period. 

As a medical assistant, if you have never received formal training, you can find a job without a certificate based on years of professional experience.

Types of Medical assistant

Clinical Medical Assistant

The Clinical medical assistant is primarily involved in patient care, examinations, and other clinical tasks. This might include preparing patients for medical examinations, documenting vital items and medical history, instructing patients on home care, performing detailed procedures, and assisting a doctor during examinations. 

While a clinical medical assistant has extensive responsibilities, the focus will be on the clinical aspects of the practice.

Administrative Medical Assistant

Administrative medical assistants primarily perform administrative tasks, such as records management, making appointments, answering calls, maintaining the receptions, and doing general accounting and billing. 

Administrative medical assistants play a key role in medical offices. They keep the business aspect of the practice running smoothly to minimize potential disruption to the physician’s primary patient care function. 

To function in this position effectively, candidates must have excellent written and oral communication skills, proper telephone etiquette, better intermediate computer skills, and basic knowledge of medical terminology.

Specialized Medical Assistant

There are many specialized medical assistant certifications available through the Association of Medical Technologists. To receive certification, assistants must complete an accredited training program and pass the certification examination. In many cases, certified medical assistants earn higher wages and have better job opportunities than those without certification.

Many specialized medical assistant certificates can be obtained through the Association of Medical Technologists. To be certified, assistants must graduate from an accredited training program and pass the certification exam. In most cases, certified medical assistants receive higher salaries and better employment opportunities than those without certification.

Medical Assistant Requirements by States

How to become a certified medical assistant in California?

A medical assistant in California has a skill set that makes them specialists in administrative and clinical tasks and, on any given day, can provide hospital admissions and laboratory services, answer calls, greet clients or assist a doctor during a check-up. 

Compliment of their education and training, these health professionals are prepared for everything that happens daily. It is good news that the California Employment Development Department recorded a 5.5% increase in demand for medical assistants between 2019 and 2021, building the workforce to more than 100,000 MA professionals.

Do you want to join these professionals and become part of the health care industry in California? Below are the appropriate steps to take;

  • Complete a medical board of California Recognized Training
  • Obtain government and/or national certification
  • Find a healthcare job with one of the best employers in California

How to become a medical assistant in Texas?

Based on a report by the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of medical assistants will increase by 4.3% in a few years between 2019 and 2021. Perhaps even more notable is the average number of vacancies per year for medical assistants – an average of 8,150 expected each year due to a combination of retirement, normal turnover, and job growth.

These statistics ensure that you have a glimpse of exciting job opportunities awaiting you once you are one of the most qualified medical assistants in the state. First, you will need the training and qualifications for the state’s best health employers want:

  • Attain education and certification you need to become a qualified job seeker
  • Find a healthcare job you like
  • Maintain your qualifications as a medical assistant

How to become a medical assistant in Florida?

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity expects the number of medical assistants to increase by 6.4% in just two years from 2019 to 2021.

About 8,490 jobs are created in this area each year due to retirement, job fluctuations, and job creation, which is great for new and practicing medical assistants looking for their next job opportunity. Meaning, if you have the qualifications, there is work in Florida. To become a qualified medical assistant in Florida, follow these steps:

  • Complete medical assistant training program in Florida
  • Get national certification
  • Find a job you like

How to become a medical assistant in Oregon

The number of medical assistants is projected to grow by 5.3% between 2019 and 2021 by the Oregon Department of Employment, one of the fastest projected growth rates for Medical assistants in the country in this period.

If you want to take advantage of this excellent job market and enter among Oregon-trained medical assistants, you need to make sure that you are prepared with the right mix of education and training. Here’s how to do it:

  • Completion of the accredited Medical Assistant program
  • Get national certification
  • Find a job you like and upgrade your credentials

Average Salary of Medical assistants

The average annual salary for medical assistants is $34,800. The lowest 10% earned less than $25,820, while the top 10% earned more than $48,720.

The average annual salary for medical assistants in the industries in which they work best is listed below:

  • Outpatient care centers – $36,810
  • Hospitals; state, local, and private – $36,080
  • Offices of physicians – $34,870
  • Offices of chiropractors – $30,870

Career Opportunities for Medical Assistants

  • Ophthalmology
  • Podiatry
  • obstetrics/gynecology
  • Chiropractic
  • Phlebotomists
  • Dental assistants

Medical Assistant Job Growth

Medical assistant employment is projected to grow by 19% over the next decade, much faster than the average for all professions. The growth of the elderly population will continue to increase the demand for preventive health services, usually provided by doctors.

 As a result, doctors will recruit more medical assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical tasks, allowing doctors to attend to more patients.

There will be an increasing demand for different practices, clinics, and other health facilities for medical assistants to perform administrative and clinical tasks. Medical assistants work primarily in primary care, a growing health sector.

Hot Jobs in Medical Assisting

Ophthalmology

Ophthalmic medical assistants work directly with patients, perform eye exams, helps with contact lens use and care, collect medical history, and help with prescriptions and minor surgeries.

Podiatry

Podiatric medical assistants cast the feet, take x-rays, and assist with foot surgery. In this role, assistants also performed preliminary exams and regular use of podiatric instruments.

Conclusion

Becoming a certified medical assistant has rewards as it makes you stand out and be open to better job opportunities. You can follow the guide above to make your dream of becoming a certified medical assistant a reality.

FAQ

How long does it take to become a medical assistant?

To become a medical assistant, you usually need to complete training and pass a certification exam. This process can last between 9 months to 3 years.

How much does it cost to become a medical assistant?

The tuition cost can be between $5,000 to $15,000, depending on your chosen school.

How many medical assistants are there in the US?

The number of medical assistants in the United States is approximately 483600, and it is also expected to grow in a few years.

What state pays the most for a medical assistant?

Alaska pays the medical assistants the most with the highest mean salary of $45,490

Do you need a degree to be a medical assistant?

According to the BLS – Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are no formal requirements for medical assistants in most states. However, you will need an associate degree if you want to apply for allied health degree completion programs.

Is a medical assistant a good career?

It is a good career, and it has a great outlook for a few years to come.

Who makes more money as a CNA or Medical Assistant?

In 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics established that a medical assistant’s median salary was $33,610 (more than $16 an hour). In return, the average certified nursing assistant earned about $28,530 (over $13 an hour).

Helen Vlasova
Helen is the co-founder of admissionsly.com, a career guidance website for students and young professionals. She has a degree in English from the University of Michigan. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and traveling.

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