If the medical field is your interest and the many ears of training to become a medical doctor does not appeal to you, consider studying at a medical assistant school.
The pay is good and job growth is expected to outshine many other fields. Median salaries, at $28,860 a year ($13.87 an hour in 2010), are good, no college or work related experience is required, and a 31% growth expected by 2020 is fantastic! About a half a million new jobs are created in this field every year.
If you enjoy completing administrative tasks and clinical duties for professional health practitioners, this is a great road to a possible life-long career.
There is room for varieties of location, specialties, and sizes of medical care facilities as well as different areas of care.
Not only traditional medical doctors, but also podiatrists, chiropractors, orthopedics, and other health care office owners would benefit from employing a medical assistant in their office.
Since most states do not require college, anyone attending a medical assistant school highly increases their employability, job security, and level of respect.
Why study at a Medical Assistant School?
In a year or less, you can learn what it takes to have a good paying job, in nice working conditions, and without being saddled with thousands of dollars in school loans to be repaid. The best part is that instead of taking two years of general education courses (history, math, science, English, a foreign language, geography, and more), a medical assistant school has you learning only what you need to do the job.
Not all states require the same coursework in medical assistant schools, but in general the following subjects are taught in most locations:
• Patient Care
• Human anatomy, physiology, and pathology
• Medical terminology
• Medical Insurance coding and processing
• Bookkeeping and accounting
• Keyboarding and computer applications
• Clinical assisting parameters
• Clinical and diagnostic procedures
• Medical administration
• First aid
• Office practices and procedures
• Patient relations
• Health Sciences
• Laboratory procedures and techniques
• Therapeutic care
• Endocrinology and reproduction
• Medical law and ethics
• Practicum (unpaid, supervised on-site field work in an actual ambulatory work setting)
In the same way that the secretary is the cog in the wheel that makes a lawyer’s office function, a medical assistant is the heartbeat of every medical practice. Check out either when that individual is absent and you will observe chaos!
Nearly every state in the United States has an accredited medical assistant school program.3,4 Do not attend any school that is not accredited, as the quality of the education is not assured. North American and Canadian Professional Organizations are equally concerned that programs be accredited.
Be sure to ask any program you are considering attending which of the following questions might apply to your situation:
1. Is this an accredited school?
2. What are the tuition costs?
3. Are scholarships available?
4. Is financial aid available? If so, how much is repayment a month?
5. How long does it take to complete the program?
6. What are the subjects that will be covered?
7. Considering my social class, culture, heritage, religion, and/or family financial status, how do others with my background rate in enrollment to attrition percentages?
8. Taking into account my social class, culture, heritage, religion, mental or physical abilities/disabilities, and/or family financial status, will I likely find other likeminded students for sharing housing, participating in study groups, gathered in cultural centers, or with similar backgrounds for networking?
9. What types of job placement programs are in place? How is job placement calculated?
10. What percentages of classes are taught online?
11. How many classes do part-time contract employees teach?
12. What is involved in the practicum?
13. Does the school find me a location to do the practicum or must I?
14. ESL (English as a Second Language) college students need to know the average number of pages of reading and writing to be covered daily and if there is any tutoring help for ESL students. The same is true of any student with a disability that makes learning difficult.
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
If you are determined to become and stay employed as a medical assistant, then reaching for the gold standard, the CMA or RMA title, is as worthwhile as attending medical assistant school. Your school program will prepare you for the test you will need to pass to acquire either the CMA or RMA designation. In fact, typically, you cannot even take the exam unless you have attended a formal, an accredited medical assistant school program. To keep the certification requires retesting every 60 months. The investment in your future is significant, as is the level of respect this program will grant you on-the-job. So take your blinkers off and consider your options. If you really are interested in working in the medical field consider gaining medical assistant certification at a Medical Assistant school to ensure a great future in the health sector