How to Become a Medical Assistant

How to become a medical assistant? This is a question that a lot of people have been asking lately. Here’s a quick guide on how to become a medical assistant

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1. Why Become a Medical Assistant?

Medical assistants are one of the most in-demand careers in healthcare. They perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians and other health practitioners running smoothly.

The job outlook for Medical Assistants is very positive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of medical assistants will grow 29 percent from 2019 to 2029—much faster than the average for all occupations.1 This growth is due to an increase in the aging population and their need for medical services.2

Becoming a medical assistant is a great way to start your career in healthcare. It requires less time and money than becoming a registered nurse or doctor, but you’ll still be able to make a difference in patients’ lives.

2. What Does a medical assistant Do?

Medical assistants perform many duties within a healthcare setting. They may take medical histories, measure patients’ vital signs, give injections, draw blood, prepare patients for X-rays and minor surgery, remove stitches and assist the physician during exams.

3. How to Become a medical assistant

While there are no formal education requirements to become a medical assistant, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed an accredited program. Medical assistant programs are commonly offered at community colleges, technical schools and vocational schools. Most programs take about one year to complete and lead to a certificate or diploma. Some medical assistants choose to earn an associate degree, which takes about two years.

In addition to completing a medical assisting program, candidates must also pass a certification exam. Certification is not required in all states, but it may be required by some employers. The certification exams are offered by two main organizations: the American Medical Technologists (AMT) and the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). After passing the exam, medical assistants must complete continuing education credits on a regular basis to maintain their certification.

4. Medical Assistant Certification

There are many different ways to become certified as a medical assistant. Two popular ways are by taking a course at a community college or trade school, or by completing an accredited online training program. Some employers will also provide on-the-job training for candidates who have the necessary skills and qualities.

Medical assistants can become certified through organizations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the National Healthcare Association (NHA), or the American Medical Technologists (AMT). To be eligible for certification, candidates must pass an exam and meet certain educational and experience requirements.

5. Medical Assistant Training Programs

Although some positions may only require a high school diploma or on-the-job training, most medical assistants complete a postsecondary education program.1 There are many different types of medical assistant programs, including certificate, diploma, and associate’s degree programs. These programs typically last from about 3 months to 2 years and most award a credential upon completion.1

Program length and admissions requirements vary by school and type of program. Many certificate programs have minimal admissions requirements and can be completed in as little as a few weeks or months. In contrast, associate’s degree programs generally last 2 years and often require that applicants have earned a high school diploma or equivalent.1

6. Medical Assistant Salary

The medical assistant salary varies based on experience, job location, and the type of employer. Medical assistants with no experience can expect to earn around $28,000 per year. Those with 1 to 3 years of experience earn a median salary of $33,000 per year, while those with 4 to 6 years of experience earn a median salary of $37,000 per year. The most experienced medical assistants can earn up to $41,000 per year.

7. Job Outlook for Medical Assistants

Medical assistants held about 634,400 jobs in 2016. The median annual wage for medical assistants was $31,540 in May 2016.
Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth of the aging baby-boomer population will continue to increase demand for preventive medical services, which are often provided by physician assistants. As a result, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients.
In addition, as medical practices look for ways to improve efficiency and reduce expenses, they are expected to increasingly rely on medical assistants to perform tasks that traditionally have been performed by nurses and other higher-skilled workers.

8. Medical Assistant Job Description

Most employers will require you to have at least a high school diploma or GED before they will consider you for a position. However, completing a medical Assistant training program will give you a significant advantage when applying for jobs. A typical medical Assistant job description includes the following responsibilities:
Answering phones, scheduling appointments, greeting patients and updating their records
Drawing blood and performing basic laboratory tests
Preparing patients for examination, taking their vital signs and documenting their symptoms
Assisting the physician during exams and procedures
Giving injections and removing stitches
Education requirements: A high school diploma or GED is typically the minimum requirement for this position, but many employers prefer candidates who have completed a Medical Assistant training program.
Skills: Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, are essential in this role as you will be interacting with patients on a daily basis. You should also be able to multitask effectively and be comfortable working in a fast-paced environment.
Personal qualities: Compassion and empathy are important qualities to possess as a Medical Assistant as you will be working with patients who are often anxious or in pain.

9. Is a Medical Assistant a Good Career?

9. Is a Medical Assistant a Good Career?
There are many reasons to consider a career as a medical assistant. Medical assistants are in high demand and the job outlook is excellent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations.1

In addition to a good salary, medical assistants can expect many other benefits, including paid vacation, sick leave, and health insurance Medical assistants also have the potential to earn bonus pay by working nights, weekends, or holidays.2

Some medical assistants choose to work in a specific type of practice, such as family medicine or pediatrics, while others may prefer the challenge of working in a hospital setting. No matter where they work, medical assistants play an important role in our healthcare system.

10. How to Advance Your Career as a Medical Assistant

There are several ways to advance your career as a medical assistant. One way is to become certified. Medical assistants can become certified through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or the National Healthcare Association (NHA). To be eligible for certification, medical assistants must have completed an accredited medical assisting program and pass a certification exam. Once you have received your certification, you will need to renew it every few years by completing continuing education credits.

Another way to advance your career as a medical assistant is to pursue a specialty. Specialties for medical assistants include Podiatric Medical Assisting, Ophthalmic Medical Assisting, and Optometric Assisting. Each of these specialties requires additional training beyond what is required to become a general medical assistant.

In addition to becoming certified or pursuing a specialty, another way to advance your career as a medical assistant is to take on additional responsibilities at your job. You can do this by becoming a lead medical assistant or supervisor in your office or clinic. You can also take on additional responsibilities by becoming involved in quality assurance or risk management activities in your facility.

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