Medical assistants are a valuable asset to any medical practice or clinic. The job involves a wide range of important tasks, such as taking patient's histories, collecting medical data, and communicating with both patients and doctors. If you're considering a career as a medical assistant, there are a number of things to take into consideration, such as salary, certification, and job prospects. Here’s everything you need to know.
What Training is Needed?
A diploma in medical assistance will provide you with the knowledge and training to apply for a medical assistant position. UEI’s Medical Assistant Diploma Program will give you a good insight into using Electronic Health Records (EHR), as well as taking patient's medical histories, performing basic medical procedures, such as injections and electrocardiograms (EKG’s) and understanding immunization information and treatment plans. The curriculum includes courses on medical terminology, anatomy, medical office management, physiology and pharmacology. When choosing a course, ensure you look for the length of time it'll take to complete, the level you're likely to achieve, the class schedule you'll adhere to, and the hands on experience you'll have access to.
If you decide to become certified in medical assisting, there are several options for you to follow. This is not required but comes highly recommended. The certificate aims to enhance your current career, and sticks to the core topics within the medical field, such as anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and understanding lab procedures. An associate’s degree usually takes two years and provides a more comprehensive training program. It will enable you to undertake and understand science and math, as well as specific medical topics.
There are several certifying bodies for the medical assistant, and depending on your future goals, you may choose a state certification, or a national certification. Each of these certifications requires a certified medical assistant exam to be taken.
An example of a state certification is The California Certifying Board of Medical Assistants (CCBMA) which leads to becoming a California Certified Medical Assistant or CCMA. Two national certifying organizations are The American Medical Technologists (AMT) which results in the Registered Medical Assistant, or RMA qualification, and The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), which awards the title of NCMA, or National Certified Medical Assistant upon successfully passing the exam.
Am I eligible to take the exam? So long as you have graduated from an accredited school in medical assisting, you will be eligible to take the exam. If you have been out of school for a while, there are additional requirements that may require verification of employment. Therefore, it is recommended to take the exam fresh out of school.
When is the exam given? Once you have completed your medical assistant program from an accredited school, you are eligible to take the exam. Please visit websites for specific application procedures.
When and where should I apply for the exam? There are a number of exam dates and locations you can choose from. For more information, visit their website.
How many times can the exam be taken? Three or four times, depending on the agency you are seeking certification from.
As you can see, there are a number of routes you can take to become a medical assistant. Once you’re certified, the job prospects for the future look promising, with the industry set to employ more medical assistants by 2024 than ever before. For more information on a career move into medical assistance, reach out to us with any questions.