How to Become a Medical Assistant in 15 Months or Less
Posted On May 16, 2014
How to Become a Medical Assistant in 15 Months or Less!
Big changes are under way in American society. Citizens are aging. And, as they do, they will require more medical care and attention. Their increasing needs alone are driving the promising future of health care job opportunities. Ranking high on the list of opportunities are positions in Medical Assistance – a 29% increase is expected before 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So you want to learn how to become a medical assistant, keep reading!
What is a Medical Assistant?
Medical Assisting careers involve supporting physicians, physician assistants, and nurses in a variety of health care venues.
Clinical duties: Medical Assistants are hands-on with patients doing lab tests, taking vital signs, drawing blood, changing bandages, sterilizing medical instruments, and more – depending on the state regulations.
Administrative duties: Medical Assistants may fill out insurance forms, schedule appointments, file patient records, process billing, handle correspondence, and more – depending on the jurisdiction.
Specialized duties: Medical Assistants can pursue training in medical specialties that will involve them more in pediatrics, cardiology, ophthalmology, geriatrics, podiatry, and other fields.
In most states, there are no formal educational requirements however, many candidates will pursue their education and dreams with training in programs leading to a certificate or an accredited degree program. The people who choose this path greatly enhance their chances of securing employment in the medical services field and their chances of one day continuing their career path into more advanced medical fields and skills.
As the career path improves so do the education requirements. Sometimes, this takes the form of a dedicated and focused program at a vocational/technical school or college to earn an associate’s degree. These type of programs offer career training and skill sets that are deemed valuable by employers in the medical field such as:
Analytical skills. Medical assistants must read, understand, and follow instructions, advisories, charts, and diagnostics.
Detail oriented. Medical assistants must be accurate in taking and recording vital signs and patient information.
Interpersonal skills. Medical assistants will interact with patients in pain, under medications, and in confusion. They must interact with patient family members and health care professionals in a knowledgeable and professional manner.
Technical skills. Medical assistants must be adept at using clinical instruments, telephones, office machines, and computers.
Education, training and certification always place job applicants ahead of the pack. According to US News.com, the top 10% of medical assistants earn $41,570/year. While the 10% on the low end of the scale make $21,080/year putting the median income at $29,730/year. Another way to look at this, puts 25% of medical assistants above $35,380/year and 25% at or below $24,940/year. Of course, wages vary throughout the country, but these pay rates are better than those for nursing aides and personal care aides. The fact that the available positions place candidates into a working health care environment promises additional pay increases and personal growth.
Entry-level opportunities will start at pay according to the venue and position:
Front Office Medical Assistants at $12 to $15/hour.
Back Office Medical Assistants for $14 to $18//hour.
Private Practice Medical Assistants at $17 to $18.50/hour.
Clinical Setting Medical Assistants for $10 to $15.00/year.
Floating Position Medical Assistants at $16 to $20/hour.
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