Medical Assistant Colleges
If you enjoy helping people and have a strong interest in health and medical science, then a career as a medical assistant may be the right career choice for you. Medical assistants work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools, and clinics. A medical assistant’s main objective is to make the patient intake process as smooth as possible by performing administrative and/or medical tasks. The medical assistant field is a fast growing field and many medical assistants specialize within specific areas such as ophthalmology, administrative, or clinical.
Types of Medical Assistants
Medical assistants generally fall into two categories: administrative and clinical. Administrative medical assistants handle the clerical functions of a medical clinic or office. Administrative medical assistants also file insurance paperwork, answer phones, schedule appointments, and help to keep patient files up-to-date.
Clinical medical assistants help to prepare patients for examinations, take patient vitals and histories, explain medical procedures to patients, prepare medical specimens, and help to maintain patient rooms.
There are also several specializations that a medical assistant can choose from if the college of their choice offers it. Medical assistant specializations include podiatry, optometry, cardiology, or physical therapy.
How Do I Prepare for Medical Assistant College?
Preparation for medical assistant college should begin in high school. It is important to have a strong foundation in math, biology, public relations, computer skills, and bookkeeping. In addition, volunteer work can also give an individual interested in a career as medical assistant an introductory exposure to the field.
How to Choose a Medical Assistant College
You should choose a medical assistant college that has accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Colleges that hold accreditation must adhere to stringent standards which make them better suited to provide a quality education. Schools lacking accreditation might be ineligible for financial aid or have fewer options regarding financial aid.
Look for a school that offers specializations in many areas. A medical assistant who has a specialization in a specific field has greater hiring potential and will earn a higher salary. In addition, the college of your choice should have a reputation for producing quality graduates with high employment placement and up-to-date technology.
What Will I Study at Medical Assistant College?
Medical assistant programs range in length from one year to two years. Upon completion, students receive a certificate for completing the one year program or a diploma for completing the two year program.
Medical assistant students study medical law and ethics, patient relations, keyboarding, first aid, medication administration, pharmacology, clinical and diagnostic procedures, laboratory techniques, coding and insurance processing, record keeping, accounting, computer applications, medical terminology, human anatomy, physiology, and pathology. In addition, many students complete an internship at a medical facility prior to graduation.
Certification for Medical Assistants
Certification shows potential employers and clients that you are a specialist in your field and also increases employment and income earning potential. Certification is available as a Certified Medical Assistant from the American Association of Medical Assistants or as a Registered Medical Assistant from the American Medical Technologists. The Certified Medical Assistant certification is available upon completion of your medical assistant degree while the Registered Medical Assistant is available upon completing five years in the field as a Medical Assistant.
Only students who attend a school that has an accreditation from the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs are eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant test. In addition, individuals who have a felony may be ineligible to take the certified medical assistant test.
Salary Info and Employment Outlook for Medical Assistants
According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of medical assistants will increase 34 percent during the 2008 to 2018 decade. The growth within the medical assistant field will occur as workers leave the system due to retirement or career change. Payscale.com lists the salary of a medical assistant as $20,125 to $35,672.
Congratulations on choosing a career as a medical assistant. By taking the time to do the research and carefully choosing the best medical assistant college, you will ensure that you will receive the best education possible. Remember, college is only the first step in your education as a medical assistant. It is your responsibility to continue to pursue education and to keep your skills current.