Medical assistants are in high demand! If you’re thinking of becoming a medical assistant, you’re probably wondering what kind of education you need. Check out this blog post to learn more.
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Medical Assistant Job Description
Education requirements for medical assistants vary by state, but most states require medical assistants to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some states also require medical assistants to complete a formal medical assistant education program, which can take up to a year to complete. After completing a medical assistant education program, medical assistants must pass a certification exam to earn their medical assistant certification.
Duties of a Medical Assistant
Medical assistants are specially trained to perform both clinical and administrative duties in a medical office.
Clinical duties may include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing them for examinations, assisting the physician during the exam, and collecting and processing lab specimens.
Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, verifying insurance coverage, handling correspondence, billing patients, coding insurance forms, and handling medical records.
With the ever-increasing reliance on technology in the medical office, many medical assistants are also responsible for using computers to fill out patient records, schedule appointments andBILLING INSURANCE COMPANIES.
Education and Training Requirements
In order to become a medical assistant, you will need to complete an accredited medical assistant program. These programs typically last between three and four months and will cover topics such as medical terminology, human anatomy, and medical office procedures. Once you have completed your medical assistant program, you will then need to pass the Medical Assistant Certification Exam in order to become certified.
Certificate or Diploma Programs
Most medical assistants have completed a postsecondary education program. These programs typically last from 1 to 2 years and lead to a certificate or diploma. Some community colleges, vocational schools, and private institutions of higher learning offer medical assistant programs. A number of online programs are also available, although students in these programs do not have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience. Many medical assistants have completed accredited programs that lead to certification.
Associate Degree Programs
An associate degree program in medical assisting takes about two years to complete, although some schools offer accelerated programs that can be completed in as little as 18 months. These programs prepare students for a career in the medical field by teaching them the necessary skills and knowledge to perform the job. In addition to completing general education courses, students in an associate degree program will take classes specifically focused on medical assisting, such as anatomy, physiology, medical office procedures, and medical insurance and coding. Students will also complete a clinical externship, which will give them the opportunity to put their skills into practice in a real-world setting.
Licensure and Certification
In order to work as a medical assistant, you will need to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Beyond that, you will need to complete a medical assistant program that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Certification for Medical Assistants
There are a few different ways to become certified as a medical assistant. The first is to earn a certificate from an accredited medical assistant program, which typically takes about one year to complete. Alternatively, you can earn an associate’s degree in medical assisting, which takes two years to complete. Finally, you can earn certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Once you have completed an accredited medical assistant program or have earned your certification through the AAMA, you will need to pass a national exam in order to become certified. After passing the exam, you will be eligible to apply for state licensure, if your state requires it.
Licensure for Medical Assistants
In order to practice as a medical assistant, you will need to obtain a license in the state in which you wish to work. Each state has different licensing requirements, but most require that you pass an accredited medical assisting program and pass a national certification exam, such as the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
You can learn more about medical assistant licensure requirements by visiting the AAMA website or contacting your state’s medical board.
Medical assistants must have good communication skills to interact with patients and other healthcare professionals. They must be able to clearly and concisely explain medical procedures and give instructions to patients. They must also be able to take accurate medical histories and measure patients’ vital signs.
Key Skills for Medical Assistants
As a medical assistant, you will be working with patients and their families on a daily basis. You will need to have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, in order to effectively communicate with patients, families, and members of the healthcare team. You should also be able to work well under pressure and have excellent organizational skills.
In addition to having strong personal skills, you will also need to have strong technical skills in order to perform your job duties effectively. Medical assistants are responsible for a variety of tasks, including taking medical histories, scheduling appointments, taking patient vital signs, and assisting with minor medical procedures. You will need to be comfortable using a variety of medical equipment and technology, such as blood pressure machines and EKG machines.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for medical assistants was $33,610 in May 2018. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,280, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $48,720. Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 19 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for medical assistants will continue to grow as the population ages and as technological advances allow medical assistants to do more tasks that were previously performed by physicians and other health care workers.
Salary for Medical Assistants
The median annual wage for medical assistants was $34,800 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $25,770, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $48,720.
Most medical assistants work full time. Because many offices of physicians and other health practitioners are open during evenings and weekends, some medical assistants also work those hours
Job Outlook for Medical Assistants
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging baby-boom generation will continue to increase demand for preventive medical services, which are often provided by physicians. As a result, physicians will hire more medical assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients.