Here’s Why People Are Becoming Medical Assistants
It is a misconception that every job within the medical world needs years of college or thousands of dollars. Some professions only require one year to get certified, like becoming a medical assistant.
Medical assistant jobs are flourishing and why you should consider joining this booming field.
What is a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants are primary level health care professionals who give administrative and clerical assistance across a variety of healthcare settings. Some medical assistants focus exclusively on administrative tasks, like scheduling appointments and processing medical bills. Other focus only on clerical stuff like collecting patient samples and taking vitals.
Why should someone choose to become a medical assistant rather than going to school to become a nurse or doctor? Well, there are various advantages to becoming a medical assistant such as:
- Fast training. It takes less than a year to earn the credentials that you need to become a medical assistant as compared to two to four years to become a registered nurse.
- Certified in all states. Unlike other medical professionals, medical assistants do not have to be licensed in individual states. Once certified, medical assistants can work anywhere in the country.
- Flexible work environments. Although medical assistants usually work in a hospital, they can also work in settings like nursing homes, doctor’s offices, chiropractor’s offices, outpatient surgery centers, and even as home health aides.
- Job security. Since medical assistants are a scarce commodity, they are in high demand. The field is likely to grow by 29 percent between 2016 and 2026 as compared to the average of 7 percent across all occupations.
How to Become a Medical Assistant
It is easier to become a medical assistant than you think. First, you’ll need to complete an accredited training program as employers ask for your certification before giving you a job offer.
You are require to complete an accredited medical assistant training program in order to become certified. Either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) will accredit the right program or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) will do so.
It takes between 9 months to 2 years to become a certified medical assistant. Once you’re done with your education, the next thing to gain clinical experience.
Clinical training is usually incorporated in accredited training programs. Some programs ask you to find your own internship or externship to complete the program. Even if your program doesn’t require clinical training, you should seek it out on your own before officially joining the workforce.
Before taking the medical assistant certification exam, you will have to show proof that you have completed an accredited training program and that you have enough relevant work experience. The most common certification is issues by the American Association of Medical Assistants and is called a Certified Medical Assistant, or CMA.
How Much Do Medical Assistants Earn?
Investing your time and money to become a medical assistant is worth it, especially when you consider the minimal training and educational requirements. Once you’re a professional, you’ll enjoy competitive pay across the country. The median wage for medical assistants as of May 2017 was $32,480 annually, or $15.61 per hour, according to government statistics. The highest 10 percent earned as much as $45,900 annually, or $22.07 per hour.
Medical assistants’ salaries also vary based on the work environment. Here are a few examples:
- Hospitals – $33,590 annually, or $16.15 per hour
- Outpatient facilities – $33,820 annually, or $16.26 per hour
- Doctor’s offices – $32,710 annually, or $15.76 per hour
Jobs in This Field
As stated above, the medical assistant field is likely to grow by 29 percent between 2016 and 2026. It means that over 183,900 new medical assistant jobs will be added during this decade. These jobs span various specializations, and therefore, becoming a medical assistant is a great way to become qualified for multiple healthcare positions. Here are some examples:
- Specialized Medical Assistant
- Hospital Unit or Ward Clerk
- EKG Technician
- Podiatric Medical Assistant
- Phlebotomy Technician
How to Become a Medical Assistant
Becoming a certified medical assistant doesn’t take much time or money. The investment is certainly worth it once you take into account the job security, high pay and opportunities for advancement.
There are countless training programs around the country and it’s essential to look for the right one. Likewise, there’s a variety of certifications for medical assistants, and it pays to determine which one is right for you.