What Medical Assistant Training Involves
If you think you might want a medical career but aren't sure if you want to commit to long years of study, becoming a medical assistant (MA) or a certified medical assistant (CMA) may be a good choice for you. Medical assistants handle many of the administrative and medical tasks that need to be addressed each day in clinics and hospitals around the world. If working in a fast-paced environment, having a wide variety of tasks to work on each day and helping people are important to you, then a career in medical assisting may be the perfect fit.
Becoming a Medical Assistant
To get started in your new career, you need to decide between a one-year certificate and a two-year associate's degree from an accredited program. Courses of study will include medical terminology, first aid, medical billing, math and science. Upon graduating, medical assistants can elect to take the certification course to become a CMA.
Certification courses are available three times each year from the American Association of Medical Assistants. Once acquired, the certification must be renewed every five years. While it's possible to find work as a medical assistant, certified medical assistants tend to have more opportunities when it comes to employment and wages.
Medical Assistant Duties
Medical assistant jobs offer a variety of tasks handling both administrative and medical aspects each day. Some of these include taking the patient's vital signs, updating charts, organizing medical records, giving routine injections and assisting with medical billing or medical coding for insurance claims.
Medical assistants tend to work 40-hour work weeks from Monday to Friday, unless their particular office has extended hours on nights and weekends. Because of the variety of tasks that they do, there are many opportunities for medical assistants in diverse medical office environments. Starting out as a medical assistant is also a great way to assess if you'd like to train further to become a nurse or a doctor at some point down the road.
Medical Assistant Salaries
As one of the more accessible positions in the healthcare industry, medical assistants don't command the highest of salaries. Most MAs make between $22,000 and $30,000 a year; there, are often benefits like health insurance that may be included with the salary to help make the money go further.
The demand for medical assistant employment is projected to grow far beyond the average job as the demands of an aging population continue to fuel the growth of the health industry.