Considering a career in medical assisting? Find out what education and certification requirements you’ll need to get started in this growing field.
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The medical field is one of the few industries that is growing despite the current economic conditions. This is due in part to the aging baby boomer population and the advancements in medical technology. As a result, there is an increasing demand for qualified Medical assistants
Medical assistants perform a variety of administrative and clinical tasks to support the work of physicians and other health care professionals. They are usually responsible for scheduling appointments, taking medical histories and recording vital signs, preparing patients for examination, assisting with procedures, explaining treatment plans to patients, collecting and preparing laboratory specimens, and performing basic laboratory tests. In addition, medical assistants may also perform billing and coding tasks, insurance paperwork, and correspondence.
What Does a Medical Assistant Do?
Medical assistants are multi-skilled health professionals specifically trained to work in outpatient settings such as medical offices and clinics. They perform a wide variety of administrative and clinical tasks. Their duties vary with the size, location, and type of practice.
Most medical assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate or diploma from an accredited medical assisting program. Some states have approved certification exams for medical assistants. Although not required, certification may give jobseekers a competitive edge.
In addition to formal education, medical assistants should possess certain qualities or “soft skills.” These soft skills include the ability to:
* Communicate effectively with patients, families, and other health care team members
* Handle multiple tasks and priorities simultaneously
* Work effectively under pressure
* Respect patients’ privacy and maintain confidentiality
Education and Training Requirements
Medical assistants must have completed an accredited medical assistant program, which can be found at many community colleges, technical schools, and some hospitals and universities. The curriculum for these programs typically includes classroom and laboratory instruction in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, Medical Terminology pharmacology, and medical office procedures. Many programs also include an externship component that gives students the opportunity to gain real-world experience in a medical setting.
Certification and Licensure Requirements
Certification and licensure requirements for medical assistants vary by state. Some states may require certification, while others may not. However, most employers prefer to hire medical assistants who are certified and/or licensed. The two main certifying bodies for medical assistants are the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the National Healthcare Association (NHA). To be eligible for certification, medical assistants must graduate from an accredited medical assistant program and pass a certification exam. Once certified, medical assistants must maintain their certification by completing continuing education credits.
Some states also require medical assistants to be licensed. Licensure requirements vary by state, but generally involve completing an accredited medical assistant program and passing a licensure exam. Once licensed, medical assistants must maintain their license by renewing it every few years and completing continuing education credits.
Skills and Qualities Required
In order to become a medical assistant, there are certain skills and qualities that you will need to have. These include:
-Good communication skills: As a medical assistant, you will be working with patients, doctors, and other health care professionals. It is important that you be able to communicate effectively with all of these people.
-Organizational skills: Medical assistants are responsible for keeping track of patients’ medical records and appointments. You will need to be organized in order to do this job well.
-Attention to detail: When you are working with patients’ Medical records it is important that you pay attention to detail. This will help ensure that the records are accurate and up-to-date.
-Interpersonal skills: Medical assistants must be able to work well with others. This includes being able to work as part of a team and being able to deal with difficult people.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $34,800 in May 2018. The job outlook for medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.
There are several career paths you can take as a medical assistant. You can choose to work in a clinics, hospitals, or private practices. You can also specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as pediatrics, geriatrics, or obstetrics.
Most medical assistants have at least a high school diploma, although some have completed postsecondary training programs. Many medical assistants start their careers as administrative assistants or customer service representatives in doctor’s offices or other healthcare facilities. With experience, they may advance to positions such as medical office manager or practice administrator.
Medical assistants must be able to perform both administrative and clinical tasks. Administrative duties might include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records and billing patients. Clinical duties might include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, preparing patients for examination, assisting the physician during the exam, and collecting and processing laboratory specimens.
Pros and Cons of Being a Medical Assistant
Medical assisting is a great career choice for those who are interested in the medical field but don’t necessarily want to become a doctor or nurse. As a medical assistant, you’ll have the opportunity to work closely with patients and doctors, and you’ll learn a lot about the inner workings of a medical office or facility. However, there are some drawbacks to this career that you should be aware of before you make your decision.
One of the biggest pros of being a medical assistant is the flexibility it offers. Medical assistants usually work full-time, but they often have the option to work evenings or weekends if they so choose. Additionally, many medical assistants are able to take advantage of job sharing or part-time opportunities. This can be a great option for those who want to continue their education or raise a family.
Another big pro is the salary potential. Medical assistants can expect to make a good living, especially if they work in an area with a high demand for their skills. Additionally, many medical assistants are able to receive benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans from their employers.
However, there are also some cons to consider before becoming a medical assistant. One of the biggest is the amount of responsibility that comes with the job. Medical assistants are often responsible for quite a bit, including handling paperwork, answering phones, and scheduling appointments. This can be overwhelming for some people, especially those who are not used to working in an office setting. Additionally, medical assistants often have little control over their work schedules, as they are at the mercy of their employers’ needs.
Finally, another con to consider is the emotional stress that comes with working in the medical field. Medical assistants often see firsthand the effects of serious illnesses and injuries, and this can take an emotional toll. If you think you might not be able to handle this type of stress, then becoming a medical assistant might not be right for you
Below are some of the frequently asked questions we get about becoming a medical assistant.
What are the requirements to become a medical assistant?
In order to become a medical assistant, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some medical assistants also have postsecondary education, such as an Associate’s degree. Additionally, you will need to complete a certified medical assistant program and pass an exam.
If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, the first step is to check and see if you meet the requirements. The requirements to become a medical assistant can vary from state to state, but there are some general requirements that are usually necessary.
First, you will need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. In some cases, you may be able to get a job as a medical assistant with just a high school diploma, but most employers prefer applicants who have completed an accredited medical assistant program.
Second, you will need to have completed a formal medical assistant training program. These programs typically take around one year to complete and include both classroom and clinical instruction.
After completing your formal training, you will then need to pass the certification exam given by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Once you have passed the exam, you will be credentialed as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).
Once you have met all of the requirements to become a medical assistant, you will then be able to apply for jobs in various healthcare settings such as doctor’s offices, clinics, hospitals, and more.