How to Become a Medical Assistant in UT

Get all the information you need on how to become a medical assistant in Utah. We provide information on schools, certification, and more.

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Job Description

Medical assistants typically perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of physicians and other health practitioners running smoothly. The specific duties of Medical Assistants vary from state to state and depend on the size, location, and type of practice. Although they may perform a variety of tasks, most medical assistants take on roles that fall into two main categories: clinical and administrative.

Clinical medical assistants generally work in physicians’ offices and other outpatient healthcare facilities where they prepare patients for examinations, take vital signs, record patients’ medical histories, explain procedures, collect lab specimens, instruct patients on how to take medications, and provide other types of support during office visits. In some states they may also be allowed to perform basic laboratory tests or give injections under the supervision of a licensed physician or nurse.

Administrative medical assistants handle office duties such as scheduling appointments, verifying insurance coverage, handling billing and coding information for insurance purposes, greeting patients, answering phones, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, arranging hospital admissions and laboratory services, taking inventory, ordering supplies, preparing patients’ work histories, filing insurance claims forms.

Duties

While the duties of a medical assistant vary from state to state and from doctor’s office to doctor’s office, there are some duties that are common to most medical assistants. These duties include taking patient medical histories and vital signs, scheduling and confirming appointments, preparing patients for examination, helping during the examination, and giving patients instructions for follow-up care. In addition, medical assistants may also be responsible for handling billing and insurance paperwork, maintaining patient records, processing lab results, and stocking exam rooms.

Qualifications

In order to become a medical assistant in Utah, you will need to complete a training program that has been approved by the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing (DOPL). Once you have completed an accredited training program, you will then need to pass the medical assistant Certification Exam (MACE) before you can apply for a position.

Training

UT offers a few different ways that you can complete the necessary training to become a medical assistant. You can attend a traditional brick-and-mortar school, an online school, or a hybrid program that combines both online and on-campus coursework. You can also complete a training program offered by a hospital or other medical facility. No matter which route you choose, be sure to pick a reputable program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Certification

One of the first steps to becoming a medical assistant in UT is to obtain certification. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers a certified medical assistant (CMA) credential, which requires completing an accredited medical assisting program and passing a national examination.

Medical assistants who wish to specialize in a certain area of medicine may also pursue voluntary certification through organizations such as the American Medical Technologists (AMT), the National Healthcare Association (NHA), and the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). Specialty certifications are available in areas such as phlebotomy, electrocardiography, and medical billing and coding.

Salary

In order to become a medical assistant in the state of UT, one must complete an accredited postsecondary medical assisting program and pass a credentialing exam. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in UT make a mean annual wage of $33,800, which is slightly lower than the national average of $36,540.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for medical assistants is excellent. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in the field will grow by 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due largely to an aging population and advances in medical technology, which require more medical procedures and office visits.

Pros and Cons

Working as a medical assistant has its pros and cons, just like any other job. But if you’re interested in the field and think you might want to work as a medical assistant in UT, it’s important to evaluate both the positive and negative aspects of the occupation before making your decision.

Pros of Being a Medical Assistant in UT
One of the biggest pros of being a medical assistant is that it’s a growing field with good job prospects. In fact, according to the 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 This growth is due, in part, to an aging population and advances in medicine and healthcare technology, which require more support personnel. And as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age, there will likely be an increased demand for medical assistants in UT to take on administrative tasks in doctor’s offices and clinics so that doctors can see more patients.

Another big pro is that medical assistants can earn a good salary. The median annual wage for medical assistants was $34,800 in May 2019,2 which means that half of all medical assistants earned more than this amount and half earned less. And because medical assistant jobs are found in every state across the country,3 you should be able to find work no matter where you live.

Cons of Being a Medical Assistant in UT
Of course, there are also some potential downsides to consider before becoming a medical assistant in UT. One con is that the job can be physically demanding at times—for example, you may have to lift or turn disabled patients who need assistance with bathing or using the restroom. You may also have to stoop or kneel when gathering supplies from low cabinets or when cleaning up spills. If you have back problems or other health issues that make it difficult for you to stand or walk for long periods of time, this may not be the right career for you.

Another potential downside is that working as a medical assistant can be emotionally demanding—you may have to deal with patients who are scared or angry about their health situation, or who are grieving the loss of a loved one. You may also see graphic images or hear upsetting stories on a daily basis. If you’re not prepared to deal with these kinds of situations on a regular basis, this job may not be right for you.

How to Get Started

The first step to becoming a medical assistant in Utah is to research training programs. There are many accredited medical assistant training programs available both online and in-person. Once you have selected a program, the next step is to complete the required coursework and clinical rotations. After you have completed your training, you will need to take the Medical Assistant Certification Exam (CMA) to earn your credential.

Resources

To become a medical assistant in Utah, you will need to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. You will also need to complete an accredited medical assisting program and pass a national certification exam.

There are several medical assisting programs available in Utah. You can find them at community colleges, technical schools, and online schools. The length of the programs can vary, but most take about one year to complete.

Once you have completed a medical assisting program, you will need to take and pass the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Upon passing the CMA exam, you will be eligible for certification and will be able to use the title “Certified Medical Assistant” or “CMA” after your name.

You can learn more about becoming a medical assistant on the AAMA website or by contacting the Utah Department of Health.

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