If you’re seeing this, something has gone wrongWhat’s a Medical Assistant
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By Indeed Editorial Team
Medical assistants work in a variety of medical settings to assist doctors and nurses in providing healthcare services to a diverse range of patients. Becoming a medical assistant can also offer many opportunities to develop medical skills and advance in the career field. If you are considering becoming a medical assistant, you can most likely begin your career in as little as a year.
In this article, you will learn what a medical assistant does, how you can become a CMA (AAMA) and some frequently asked questions about being a medical assistant.
What is a medical assistant?
A medical assistant is a medical professional who assists nurses and physicians. A certified medical assistant possesses a certification that has been approved by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Typically, a CMA (AAMA) will have completed an accredited medical assistant educational program before earning their certification. Medical assistants can work in a variety of healthcare settings to provide medical assistance to physicians and nurses. Medical assistants may commonly work in medical facilities such as doctors’ offices, healthcare clinics, rehabilitation centers and hospitals or home healthcare settings.
What does a medical assistant do?
A medical assistant may perform a variety of tasks during their day-to-day schedules. Medical assistants may be responsible for duties like assisting doctors and nurses in routine physicals as well as interacting and assisting patients with procedures and treatments. Other tasks a medical assistant could be responsible for include the following tasks:
- Recording patient medical history and information
- Assisting in administration duties like setting appointments, organizing medical records and filing insurance claims
- Assisting with office procedures like taking X-rays and assisting doctors in providing routine and specialized treatments
- Taking and analyzing blood, fluid and tissue samples
- Recording patient treatment plans and assisting doctors in monitoring patient health
- Depending on the medical facility, a medical assistant can have additional responsibilities in their daily schedules.
Average certified medical assistant salary
According to the data presented in the Indeed salary guide, the national average salary for a CMA (AAMA) is $15.07 per hour. Additionally, the average CMA (AAMA) salary can vary by state and by experience level. This may mean that CMAs (AAMA) can earn incomes above, below or comparable to the national average salary.How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant
How to become a certified medical assistant
Certified medical assistants must attend an accredited training program before qualifying to take their certification exams. While it is still possible to find employment as a medical assistant without certification, earning your certification can qualify you for open jobs that most healthcare employers may require certification for. Additionally, you may be able to work as a medical assistant while pursuing your certification. Typically, though, medical assistants complete an accredited program and earn certification before entering the field.
If you are thinking about pursuing a career as a CMA (AAMA), the following steps can help you get started:
- Research accredited medical assistant programs
Becoming a certified medical assistant requires attending an accredited program. Your first step on your CMA (AAMA) career path might be to research available programs that fit the accreditation criteria set by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). You might research community colleges, vocational schools and universities.
- Complete an accredited CMA (AAMA) educational program
Once you have chosen your medical assistant program, you can begin your education. During your educational program, you will study topics related to the basics of medical care as well as anatomy and physiology subjects. You may also choose to pursue a medical assistant specialty, such as radiology. After completing your medical assistant education program, you can apply to sit for the CMA certification exam.
- Qualify to take the CMA (AAMA) certification exam
If you choose to enroll in an accredited medical assistant program, you can qualify to take the CMA (AAMA) exam as you finish your education. However, if you work as a medical assistant and wish to obtain CMA (AAMA) status, you will have to qualify to take the exam. Attending an accredited medical assistant program fits the requirements to take the CMA (AAMA) certification exam. So no matter how you start your medical assistant career, to qualify to take the CMA (AAMA) exam, you must complete an accredited training program first. Once you have fulfilled this requirement, you should be able to take your exam.
- Take the certification exam
After being approved to sit for your CMA (AAMA) certification exam, you can prepare yourself by studying and reviewing your educational material. Passing the certification exam will grant you CMA (AAMA) status, and you can enter your career as well as continue your education into other medical assistant fields if you choose to do so.
- Apply for CMA (AAMA) positions
Once you are certified as a CMA (AAMA), you are qualified to apply to any positions open to CMAs (AAMA). As you develop in your career, you can also choose to pursue a higher degree level, certifications in other specialties or even pursue a degree in other medical fields. Because of the demand for medical professionals, working as a CMA (AAMA) can offer many kinds of job opportunities.
Frequently asked questions about being a certified medical assistant
If you are thinking about becoming a CMA (AAMA), the following frequently asked questions about the profession may be able to help you get a better understanding of the job and industry:
How long does CMA (AAMA) training and certification take?
Training and certification for becoming a CMA (AAMA) can take anywhere from one to two years, depending on the path you choose to earn certification. For instance, if you choose to attend an accredited medical assistant program right away, it could take you about one year to complete your education and qualify to take the exam. If you work as a medical assistant before obtaining certification, though, your education may still be a year-long program, however, you could spend more time completing it if you are working full time.
What are the requirements to take the CMA (AAMA) certification exam?
The most important requirement to determine your eligibility to sit for the exam is to complete an accredited training program. The program you complete should be accredited either through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or through the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your medical assistant training program fits this requirement, then you could be qualified to sit for your CMA (AAMA) exam.
Where can medical assistants work?
Medical assistants can work in a variety of healthcare settings. From doctors’ offices to community healthcare clinics, medical assistants have many employment options to choose from. Additionally, medical assistants who specialize in specific medical fields like pediatrics or women’s health can find work in related medical settings.
What is the job outlook for medical assistants?
The certified medical assistant profession can be a highly in-demand job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job availability for medical assistants is expected to rise 19% between 2019 and 2029. This can mean plenty of opportunities and job security working in this profession.
Are there career advancement opportunities for medical assistants?
Medical assistants, like other healthcare professionals, can have many advancement opportunities within their fields of specialization. For example, medical assistants may pursue specialty fields like internal medicine, radiology, surgery and other specialty fields that provide medical services.
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