How Do I Become a Medical Assistant?
Finding a job is hard. You must constantly update your resume, search for a long time, deal with unpleasant recruiters and spend more time than you expected in front of your computer. However, becoming a medical assistant can be a simple process. The best part is that getting started is easy. Many adults who want to get a job prefer having medical assistant jobs.
Unlike most other professions, this job pays well and is relatively easy to do. Being a medical assistant is a lucrative and rewarding career that provides you with plenty of job opportunities to explore. Medical assistants, also called clinical assistants, are qualified to provide administrative and medical support to their employers.
Physicians employ the assistance of medical assistants, registered physicians, and surgeons who practice clinical medicine to assist the healthcare team in diagnosing, treating, and addressing diseases and illnesses. Medical assistants typically have an associate’s degree in medical assisting or a related field.
In many cases, the MA must have a license from the state where they work before practicing medicine. Make sure you check with your local government before accepting an offer from an employer for medical assistant jobs near you if you live in a state that requires licensing.
Let’s take a deep dive into the process of becoming a medical assistant.
Why Become a Medical Assistant?
Becoming a medical assistant will help you get involved in healthcare. It can be rewarding, challenging, and fun. Here are a few reasons to consider becoming a medical assistant.
- You have flexibility with your schedule and location of work. You can work as many or as few hours as you want, and you’ll still get paid.
- You’ll meet lots of interesting people from all walks of life. The medical world is full of diverse people who all share one thing: they’re all looking for help.
- The job market for medical assistants is rising, making it easier for you to find employment after graduation.
Medical assistants are in high demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the employment of medical assistants will grow by 16% from 2021 to 2031. This growth is much faster than average for all occupations.
In addition to the growing demand for medical assistants, the job offers excellent opportunities for advancement. Many medical assistants become certified as emergency medical technicians (EMTs) or paramedics after completing their training and gaining experience on the job.
Depending on your specialty and location, you may also have opportunities to work in nursing homes or other assisted living facilities if you wish to pursue additional education or certification.
The salary for a certified EMT ranges from $33,000 per year to $50,000 per year, depending on experience level and location. However, most positions pay between $37,000-$45,000 per year with benefits included (including health insurance). Your income will increase as you develop your experience and update yourself with new information about medical breakthroughs and advancements.
How Long Does it take to Be a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants are the backbone of the healthcare industry. They perform many crucial tasks that make it possible for doctors and nurses to spend their time providing care rather than performing administrative work. Medical assistants also help with insurance verification and billing, which is essential in keeping patient costs low.
Medical assistance is a career that requires many skills. You must communicate effectively with patients and other medical professionals, perform clinical tasks and administrative duties, and understand medical terminology well. Also, you should work well under pressure and have organizational skills to keep up with the busy pace of medical work.
You can become a medical assistant by completing an accredited training program through a certified organization. In addition to this education, you may also need certification from an accredited body such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Some states require you to pass an additional examination. There are many potential entry points into a medical assisting career path, ranging from support services to higher pay roles such as clinical assistance.
If you’re considering becoming a medical assistant, here are some steps to take.
Step 1: Obtain a High School Diploma or GED
A high school diploma or GED is necessary to become a medical assistant. In addition to completing high school, students should focus on science and math courses. Students may also consider taking classes focusing on healthcare systems, medical terminology, and anatomy. These classes will help you learn more about how the body works and how diseases get diagnosed and treated.
A solid background in anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology is essential for success in this profession. Medical assistants must be able to work independently under the supervision of doctors and nurses while maintaining the confidentiality of patient information at all times.
Those interested in becoming a medical assistant should also consider taking community college-level classes before applying for an associate degree program. It will allow them to learn more about the profession and gain some experience working as an aide within their hospital’s clinic setting.
Step 2: Complete a Required Medical Assistant Program
You don’t have to be a doctor to work in the medical field. To become a medical assistant, you need at least an associate degree in medical assisting. This degree will give you the knowledge and skills you need to work as an entry-level medical assistant. You’ll learn to take vital signs, perform basic lab tests, and more.
To become a medical assistant, completing a medical assistant program from an accredited school is essential. CMA certification is only for graduates certified by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), according to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
In general, however, most programs require students to have completed high school or its equivalent and have taken courses in biology, anatomy, and physiology. In addition to classroom work, many students also participate in hands-on training during their coursework. This training helps students develop skills such as taking blood pressure measurements, administering injections, and preparing patients for X-rays or other diagnostic procedures.
Students who complete their required coursework will graduate with an associate degree or certificate from an accredited institution and be ready to take the Certified Medical Assistant examination through the National Healthcareer Association.
Step 3: Pass the CMA Examination
Upon completion of an accredited medical assisting program, the individual must pass the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination or its equivalent through one of the organizations mentioned by the Association. Aspiring CMAs must apply and pay a fee of $125. Personnel will send CAAHEP or ABHES-accredited program transcripts to the AAMA to verify the candidate’s eligibility for certification.
Students must take a state licensing exam and the national certification test at some point during their second year of education. Successful completion of these tests is necessary for graduation from an accredited program. The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions.
Candidates are allowed three attempts to pass and receive their scores within three weeks after the exam. Approximately six weeks after that, they receive their official CMA (AAMA) certification. According to the American Association of Medical Assistants, the test content includes the following categories.
- Human behavior
- Development & growth of human beings
- Stages of death and dying
- Therapeutic and adaptive responses
- for diverse populations
- Nonverbal communication
- Compilation of data
- Interpersonal skills & professionalism
Step 4: Build Experience with Internships
Once you have completed your Training and Certification, it’s time to build internship experience. Internships are great for building experience and networking with people in the field, which is essential to find out what kind of work environment is best for you. Consider volunteering at a local clinic or hospital, as this can allow you to see how things work behind the scenes before journeying into paid employment.
You may get an internship in a medical office or hospital. Doing this will allow you to gain the knowledge and expertise needed to work as a medical assistant. The best way to find an internship is by contacting local employers in your area. They can hire you or refer you to other businesses that offer internships.
Many organizations offer programs for students who want to become medical assistants. These programs can provide hands-on training that will prepare you for working once you graduate. Try to find an internship where you can shadow doctors or nurses who specialize in the type of medicine that interests you most.
It will allow you to learn more about their practice area and see if it appeals to your interests before committing yourself exclusively to one career path. An internship is more than just taking on random jobs for cash. It is about learning what it means to be in your industry and will help you prepare for when you finally land that dream job.
It will also show you real-world situations so that you know what to expect from clients and colleagues when you get hired. If you have completed an internship, it will be easier for you to find a job. You will use your training skills and knowledge better if you can find an ideal position to utilize them.
Step 5: Organize your Newly Developed Skills for Your Resume
After internship training, organizing your newly developed skills for your resume is essential. Create an outline of what you have learned during your internship. For example, you can include the following.
- Documentation, Patient Care Records, and Medical Records
- Health Insurance, Billing, and Accounts Receivable
- Clinical Procedures and Protocols, Medications, and Lab Tests
So, write a resume that focuses on these skills and interestingly emphasizes them. It is essential to be strategic about which skills you choose to highlight. When applying for a particular job, it is best to mention the relevant skills more prominently. Thus, you can create separate resume samples for different job prospects in the medical field to highlight your versatile skills in a way that appeals to the particular organization.
Step 6: Apply and Interview for Jobs
You’ll need to apply and interview for jobs to become a medical assistant. You can find opportunities by checking your area’s hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare providers. If you’re having trouble locating a job, consider contacting your local hospital’s human resources department or searching online using the keywords “medical assistant jobs” or “medical assistant jobs near me.” Nowadays, there are numerous healthcare jobs available online. You can research your skills and their respective median income to know your worth and apply to job postings accordingly.
Once you’ve found an opportunity that interests you, visit the employer’s website and look for an application link. You can also find applications at the facility’s front desk where you want to work. When applying for a job as a medical assistant, include your resume and cover letter. Also, include any certifications or licenses you have or need to obtain for the job.
You should include this information on your resume or cover letter and any other documents the employer requires, such as references or transcripts from high school/college courses taken during high school/college years (if applicable). Ensure only to include relevant certificates and documents.
Do your best to present yourself professionally in all areas of the interview process. It will make the employer feel confident about your knowledge and skills to become their potential future employee. Mention what you learned during your study and internship and how you can apply it in the medical organization.
While the career path you choose will depend on many factors, whether you want to work in a hospital or a private practice, there is an actual demand for qualified medical assistants. Determine which healthcare employer is best for you based on your requirements and preferences.
From a real-life and virtual standpoint, you will now know enough about the medical assistant field and what it takes to excel in it. Armed with this information, you can make a more informed decision about your path forward as a medical assistant.
You can consider branching out into other areas within healthcare, such as nursing and administration, if you want to lead or manage a team or an entire organization.