A career as a medical assistant offers many exciting benefits. In addition to providing a rewarding and lucrative way to contribute to your local healthcare community, you can choose to put your skills to use in a wide variety of environments. Below is a look at the types of topics covered in a medical assistant program and the top reasons why you should seek training and certification as a medical assistant.
Who Might Be Interested in Pursuing a Career as a Medical Assistant?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Medical Assistant as one of the nation’s fastest growing occupations. There are many factors driving this growth, including the profession’s appeal to a wide variety of people. Here is a look at some of the types of people who pursue a career as a medical assistant:
- People who enjoy helping others
- Individuals seeking an entry level position in healthcare
- People looking for a career change
- Individuals seeking a flexible healthcare career
A career as a medical assistant is also a good choice for individuals with a high school degree who long to work in the healthcare field but who do not have the desire or resources to complete a four year college degree or graduate degree that is required to become a doctor or nurse.
What Types of Topics Are Covered in a Medical Assistant Program?
Medical assistants are often required to perform both administrative and clinical tasks. Accordingly, Medical Assistant programs tend to focus on the key job duties outlined by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Additionally, students will be prepared to sit for certification exams to enable them to gain an edge in their careers.
Here is a snapshot of some of the clinical and administrative topics you can expect to cover in a medical assistant program:
- Clinical Topics: Students will learn how to perform tasks to support their medical teams. Examples include taking medical histories, preparing patients for their examinations, collecting lab specimens, drawing blood, changing dressings, removing sutures, and providing general instructions to patients.
- Administrative Topics: Students will learn how to work with front office staff to help tend to patients and paperwork. Examples of topics covered include appointment scheduling, greeting patients, using basic computer programs, updating patient records, and arranging admissions and lab services.
- Certification Preparation: Top medical assistant programs will focus on ensuring that students are prepared to sit for their certification in as little as 36 weeks. With Certified Medical Assistants earning an average of 6% more than non-certified medical assistants in Texas, this is a key program element to consider.
What are the Top Reasons to Pursue Formal Training and Certification?
Completing a medical assistant program will prepare graduates for employment in hospitals, surgery centers, wellness clinics, and other healthcare-related offices. One of the best ways to gain a competitive edge over other program graduates is to seek certification as a medical assistant.
While certification is not a mandatory requirement for most medical assistant programs, becoming certified is recommended for five main reasons:
- Employers tend to prefer certified applicants over those without certification
- Medical assistants who are certified tend to enjoy higher average earnings
- Certification is sometimes required by specific employers
- Medical assistants who are certified demonstrate a commitment to quality training
- Continuing education is provided to certified medical assistants
In addition to the reasons outlined above, receiving certification can boost your reputation at work and within your field. Individuals who receive their certification tend to command respect from their colleagues, superiors, and patients for their focus on training and education.
What are Some of the Different Types of Certifications Available to Graduates?
Once you decide to pursue certification, you need to determine what type of certification you would like to obtain. Here is a brief summary of the four different types of medical assistant certifications:
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA): This is the most popular type of certification and it is offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Maintaining certification requires recertification by an examination or 60 hours of continuing education every 5 years in three required categories.
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA): This certification is offered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). It requires successful completion of an allied health program in the past year and one year of employment as a medical assistant. Recertification requires 10 hours of continuing education from the NHA.
- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA): The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) offers this certification, which requires graduation from a medical assistant program that is approved by the NCCT or two years of qualified employment as a medical assistant within the last 10 years. 14 hours of continuing education is required for recertification.
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA): This certification is awarded by the American Medical Technologists (AMT) and requires graduation from an approved medical assistant program or an approved course of sustained employment. Applicants who possess certification by another recognized organization may also be eligible.
In addition to these general certifications, graduates of medical assistant programs may also opt to pursue additional training and requirements to become a Certified Phlebotomy Technician, an Electronic Health Records Specialist, or a Certified EKG Technician.
What should you do if you are interested in a medical assistant career?
If you are interested in exploring a career as a medical assistant, we invite you to visit Southern Careers Institute. Our Medical Assistant Program is designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to help patients and succeed as a valuable member of medical treatment team. Here are some of the elements of Southern Careers Institute’s Medical Assistant Program:
- Vital signs reading: Students will be trained to read patient vital signs such as blood pressure, oxygen saturation, and heart rate.
- Basic phlebotomy skills: Students will learn how to safely draw blood and how to properly handle blood samples.
- Laboratory tasks: Students will find out how to collect samples and specimens for laboratory testing.
- Life-saving skills: Students will learn how to perform CPR and EKGs in addition to other life-saving skills.
In addition to mastering these skills, successful program graduates will be eligible to sit for one of the certifications outlined above. We encourage you to complete a request form to receive additional information on this exciting career field. We look forward to providing you with the skills you need to become a Certified Medical Assistant!
This article was published on: 10/28/19 9:24 PM
* SCI does not guarantee employment or a starting salary upon graduation, completion, or withdrawal from SCI. As an accredited post-secondary institution, SCI has various federal financial assistance programs available for students who qualify and are enrolled in SCI programs. This does not apply to seminar students.