When considering medical assistance as a career in Florida, there are several things you must keep in mind. As a medical assistant, you will have administrative and clinical responsibilities. You can become a medical assistant within a year after you graduate high school. You can opt for any of the schools that offer medical assistance programs.
Once you have completed your medical assistant program, you can figure out the rest of your career easily as you will have several choices. Here is guide you can use to figure out your pathway if you choose to pursue this lucrative field. You should know how you could become a medical assistant, what is the career pathway and the job opportunities you can avail to get the best out of your field.
When you begin your journey on the path to becoming a medical assistant, you should know that it is mandatory for you to combine your academic, formal education and practical hands-on schooling. You can complete both through several opportunities that are given to you through various avenues. If you want to receive any sort of qualification or certification, you must have a certain amount of formal education. Getting a certification is not a requirement and you can pursue a career without formal education. However, certification will open the doors to greater opportunities.
The two basic tasks medical assistants perform are administration responsibilities, that include handling insurance issues and medical bills or attending to the telephone. Besides that, you would be expected to support healthcare professionals, including physician assistants, doctors and nurses in providing patients the optimum care they need. For instance, you may be expected to check a patient’s weight, vital signs and blood pressure at the start of the session. As a medical assistant, you would also be asked to take fluid samples and the patient’s tissue specimens for lab tests.
Based on the environment, i.e. a medical office or a healthcare environment, you as a medical assistant will specialize in either one or both the areas. You will find the smaller the office, the more responsibility you will have on your shoulders.
Now, even though you know what your responsibilities are as a medical assistant, you should also be aware of how much you would earn and if it would be worth the trouble of going through the program. Do you know how much you can earn as a medical assistant? Although in most cases, jobs involving healthcare are super stable and safe, spanning your stability for the future is still an important consideration.
The median salary for medical assistants could range from $30k to $43k. As a certified medical assistant, you can receive a much higher salary if you complete your hands-on training and qualifications. Your pay may be hugely affected by your geographic location. Depending on which state you live in, you may earn more or less as a medical assistant. As far as Florida is concerned, the average pay for medical assistants is$29,590, with the highest level being $43,340.
According to the BLS, the expected growth rate in this field is around 29% by 2022. This shows how high in demand the field is and how likely it will be for you to find employment once you are done with your formal education for medical assistance. The major reason for this hike in the demand for medical assistants seems to be related to the Affordable Care Act’s policies that have increased the requirements of medical documentation due to which accessibility to medical care to the overall population and the baby boomer’s aging has increased the need for more health care.
Overall, every year there is a 3.04% increase that can be seen with 340 job openings annually. The ranking of each state according to the demand is as follows: Georgia (50%), Virginia (40%), Utah (40%), Kentucky (37%), Arizona (37%), North Carolina (32%), Texas (32%), Florida (20%), Indiana (29%) and lastly ranking on the tenth is Tennessee with around a 20% expected increase.
You should follow three steps in fulfilling your dream of becoming a medical assistant and being able to serve the healthcare industry.
Complete an Accredited Program
Even though it is possible for you to begin your career as a medical assistant but you cannot make this possible in any way without finishing school and pursuing a proper formal post-secondary program. You will find that most employers will prefer to hire graduates who have completed their formal education from a certified institute instead of otherwise. Therefore, when you are choosing the program please make sure you select one that has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
When you have decided to follow your medical assistance career path, you will find a large number of certificates, associate degree programs and diploma that exist. If you are pursuing a two-year associate degree program, you will come across a slightly advanced level of training as opposed to if you pursued a certificate of diploma program. There is a lucrative option for you as a student to learn more in order to earn more by pursuing an advance degree like bachelors in any health-related field.
If you would like to finish school quickly and start earning, plus are not bounded by a desire to earn the maximum, you can go for a certificate or diploma course you can easily complete within a year.
Achieve the Clinical Experience
Most programs you will find demand for students to accomplish practical training in a clinical environment that could give you the edge you need to boost your career right from the start. Even if the program does not require you to get real world, hands-on experience, it is still preferable for you to get that experience on your own as it could help you immensely.
You could go for externships or summer internships during your school years when you are going through your program. This opportunity will help you in the real world later as a healthcare provider. You can apply for medical assistance and formal education you have obtained to real patients and while you are carrying your medical and administrative responsibilities.
This can greatly help you boost your employment prospects after you are finished with the program by giving your curriculum vitae the ultimate edge and being able serve as an extra representation of you if the clinics are looking to hire interns for positions that are paid.
Despite the fact that certifications are not a mandate, several employers look for and prefer medical assistants who have them. This is due to the reason that the certification proves that you as a medical assistant are great at your job and have the required knowledge proven by exams.
The affinity by employers due to your certificate will also show that the certification shall boost your marketability after graduation tremendously. Here is the list of certificates you should be aware of that are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies:
• Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA): Given through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
• Certified Medical Assistant (CMA): This is given by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
• Registered Medical Assistant (RMA): This is provided by the American Medical Technologists (AMT)
• The NHA is also responsible for providing the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)
You will be required to pass the exam and graduate through an accredited program. Yet, there are some organizational bodies that include the American Medical Technologists (AMT), which can allow you to only appear for the Registered Medical Assistant exam without having a diploma or even a degree from a properly accredited institute if you gain elaborate work experience as a medical assistant who is on a full-time basis.
As you already know now, you have two options for a medical training program. One is the certificate or diploma and the second could be to pursue the 2-year associate’s degree as a medical assistant. The differences between them are majorly revolving around the focus of the curriculum, the duration of the program, the benefits and the disadvantages.
Comparatively the associate’s degree is longer, two years to be exact, has the same coursework as the diploma or certificate, but lays greater emphasis on the in-class education. Eventually, if we compare the two a degree is more rewarding than the diploma or certificate but will be more rewarding in the long run and will pay off more in your professional life.
If you choose to go the shorter way and pursue a diploma or certificate, rest assured you would learn the required basic knowledge and concepts of both the aspects of medical assistance that is medical and administrative for a medical office or a healthcare environment. The course that the certificate program or diploma includes will give you the holistic knowledge of the health care industry in the US and can help you how to comprehend important medical terms, processes, insurance forms, basic medical tasks that are linked the medical offices.
You will also learn about the system and anatomy of the human body that you will be able to put to use in the end of your academic path or during it through a clinical externship and internship. Following are the courses and classes that are inclusive in your certificate/ diploma program:
• Medical Office Terminology
• Medical and Insurance billing
• Medical lab
• Medical assisting clinical
Everything you could learn in the certification program you could also learn at the associate level, only more holistically. This will give you the professional edge and put you on top of the employer’s prospective hiring list. As a student, you will be able to add up on the list of courses you take and include math, psychology, Microsoft word, humanities and even critical thinking. Although these do not give you a direct connection to the field of medical assistance itself you will find that it offers a greater footing and foundation in your field while you learn the core material of medical assisting.
Following are the possible courses you will be studying in depth while you are pursuing your medical assistant’s course:
• Ethics and the law in healthcare