Do you know what it takes to become a medical assistant?
Do you believe that the education involved in becoming a CMA is worth all the effort?
Do you think that medical assistants’ salary is high enough to cover all the responsibilities that the medical assistant has to deal with?
These are only some of the questions that a young person who has finished secondary education interested in medical science might ask himself/herself?
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Considering it a very stable career, the number of people eager to become medical assistants is in constant rise.
No matter where they work, their job involves working under the direct guidance and instruction of a physician thus helping him/her perform his/her daily duties.
A medical assistant is a person who takes care of many issues related to medical facility perfect functioning.
Their primary obligations are administrative tasks such as insurance forms, medical bills, answering calls and questions and scheduling appointments. Their second responsibility is assistance to other health care providers by measuring the patient’s weight, blood pressure, collecting fluid samples, etc.
Whether both of the above-mentioned duties will be assigned to one person depends on the facility.
If the office is the smaller one, then they will be asked to take on both roles, while in bigger ones, the roles will be divided among two or more people.
Becoming a Medical Assistant in Alaska
The good thing about becoming a medical assistant for young and still uncertain people about their future vocation is that it is possible to begin a career as a medical assistant without completing a formal post-secondary education program.
You might find the job easily and learn how to perform duties on the spot, through years of experience, since you will be working with the doctors.
Nevertheless, due to the improvement of medical care, many employers nowadays prefer to hire graduates of accredited programs.
For those interested in getting a diploma, a multitude of certificate, diploma and associate degree programs exist all around the USA.
Bear in mind the fact that a certificate and diploma programs are less demanding and quicker than a two-year associate degree program, but at the same time offer less advanced training.
The approved and accredited certification programs give the students a chance to learn everything about first aid, laboratory techniques, medical terminology, physiology and record-keeping among many other things related to the daily duties of a medical assistant.
Students are provided with practical experience in a physician’s office, hospital, or another healthcare facility and the national certification proves that they have met specific standards of competence for this seriously demanding vocation.
The accredited associations who offer these kinds of programs are:
- The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel In Ophthalmology: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant
- The American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants: Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified
- The American Association of Medical Assistants: Certified Medical Assistant credential
- National Healthcare Association: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
- National Center for Competency Testing: The National Certified Medical Assistant
Becoming a medical assistant calls for a combination of formal education and hands-on training and there are currently two CAAHEP-approved medical assistant programs in medical assisting in Alaska.
Medical assistants in Alaska who want to administer medication are required to complete a training course approved by the Alaska Board of Nursing.
Getting a Job
Even though the medical assistants typically only require a high school diploma or equivalent to qualify for jobs, the doctors emphasize the fact that education is necessary and should be mandatory in this field because someone’s life may be in their hands.
New job openings for medical assistants rise each year and the possession of a certificate or diploma gives you priority over those applicants without it.
The ownership of certification does not only enable you to perform your job successfully without previous assistance of the employed staff but also gives you self-confidence when working as a medical assistant and increases your chances for a higher salary.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics keeps records of the demand for medical assistants and their salaries in various states throughout the USA.
They have reported that a high level of demand causes new job opportunities but at the same time the increased medical requirements.
The salary of a medical assistant varies from place to place due to numerous factors affecting the work of the medical facility.
The median annual salary for medical assistants is about $30,000, while there are states where medical assistants might earn up to $43,000.
A higher salary is given because of their additional training and qualifications, work experience and development of the city and the whole region where the hospital or clinic is.
The table below shows average salaries for medical assistants in major cities of Alaska presenting the difference from one place to another:Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
When it comes to personal characteristics that a medical assistant need to possess, he/she must be ready to work with patients, be communicative, have patience and calmness, to be well organized and detail-oriented when dealing with clerical tasks and be willing to constantly learn and advance in the medical field.
The administrative duties may include:
- Answering telephones
- Greeting patients
- keeping patient medical records
- Scheduling appointments
- Dealing with billing, and bookkeeping
The clinical duties of a medical assistant are:
- Taking medical histories
- Preparing patients for examination or surgery
- Assisting the doctor
- Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
- Doing laboratory tests
- Drawing blood, etc.
It is true that medical assistants work alongside physicians in health care facilities, such as medical offices and clinics and can learn their job during work.
However, because the medical assistant is crucial members of any medical team, by keeping them running smoothly, post-secondary education is extremely important.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) ensures them that once finishing the program, they will be fully prepared to work as medical assistants and will have the required knowledge so as to feel sure when the serious issues are entrusted to them.