The medical assistant vocation is highly respected and sought by the individuals who have an eye for detail, successfully follow directions and have good communication and technical skills.
Why it is important to have both medical and technical knowledge is justified by the fact that medical assistants in smaller clinics might be asked to work on both administrative and clinical duties, while in larger ones, there would be one medical assistant for one kind of obligation.
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Medical assistants are the first and last people that you see when visiting a medical facility.
Medical assistant’s job includes office work, answering phones and filing insurance forms on one hand, and drawing blood and preparing lab tests and administering injections on the other.
Their job is crucial for the perfect functioning of the clinic since they are in charge of both working directly with patients and providing assistance to doctors, as well as handling and completing paperwork of the medical office.
How specialized their role would depend on their education, skills, and eagerness to learn and advance more in this field, as well as the facility they are working at.
Becoming a Medical Assistant in Arkansas
To become a medical assistant the quality of education is very important.
That is why you should choose accredited colleges and universities which offer you learning from the experienced instructors and whose curriculums enable you to take and pass the certification examination.
The finished course and gained certification tell employers that the student has learned the essential concepts necessary to succeed in the medical assistant profession.
So, students who want to become an RMA or CMA should not enter unaccredited programs, since they might be prevented from passing the certification accredited by the CAAHEP or ABHES.
While certification is not required, many employers rather hire certified medical assistants.
There are three ways of getting educated:
- Certificate programs – the shortest one
- Diploma programs – a bit longer than certificate programs designed for assistants who want to continue to an associate’s program in medical assisting.
- Associate degrees in medical assisting – more advanced program related to everything from nursing to medical administration.
Students who are eager to learn more and advance their medical knowledge usually enter a diploma or certificate program.
Through these programs, they learn the basics of both the administrative and clinical components of a medical office, the health care industry in the United States, medical terminology and tasks and procedures relevant to most medical offices.
There are lessons not only about human anatomy and systems, psychology and critical thinking but also about using Microsoft Office and other computer software.
By the end of the program, they will be asked to put their knowledge and skills to actual use through a clinical internship or externship.
To achieve national certification, you need to take and pass the examination administered through either:
- National Center for Competency Testing: The National Certified Medical Assistant
- National Healthcare Association: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
- The American Association of Medical Assistants: Certified Medical Assistant credential
- The American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants: Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified
- The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel In Ophthalmology: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant
Getting a Job
It is estimated that there will be an increased demand for medical care in the future and that the doctors will need to expand their practices.
This means that as healthcare facilities grow, they will need more medical assistants for both administrative and clinical duties.
Even though people without post-secondary education might find the job, those who earn certification can find a job more easily and their salaries would be higher.
Depending on your education and experience, your job prospects will give you priority over some other less educated medical assistants, since more and more physicians seek medical assistants who are fully qualified to perform several medical duties.
Medical assistants may look for job opportunities in:
- Cooper Clinic, Fort Smith
- Arkansas Health Group, Little Rock
- Baptist Memorial Health Care, Jonesboro
- 19th Medical Group, Little Rock Air Force Base
When the salary is in question, the more patients and prominence, the greater are obligations, thus affecting the salary.
It may differ between industries and some medical assistants earn less than $22,870, while some of their colleagues earn more than $45,310.
However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average wage for a medical assistant is $31,540.
The table below shows average salaries for medical assistants in major cities of Arkansas presenting the difference from one place to another:Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
To be a good medical assistant, there are several personal skills that a person must possess.
A wide range of tasks that have to be performed effectively awaits medical assistants daily.
So, they need to be well-organized people, able to multitask ready to face new challenges.
Additionally, medical assistants interact with patients and help them to understand the procedures they are going through.
Some of their duties include:
- Blood pressure monitoring
- Working on X-ray machines and EKG machines
- Dealing with bills
- Scheduling appointments
- Bookkeeping, among many others.
Medical assistants work full-time, night shifts and even during weekends, but the fact that they serve the needs of patients makes this job fulfilling and many of them do not mind remaining at work during evenings, holidays and weekends if it is necessary.
As a medical assistant, you might also have the option of working part-time in some facilities.
Medical assistants are often the first point of contact with the public and they need to maintain the balance between clinical and administrative duties.
If it is time to start preparing for a career as a medical assistant, before deciding to get into this medical filed, explore resources for employment and wages in your state and area for medical assistants and compare the job duties, necessary education and job growth.
If you consider all these acceptable, you should complete a medical education program and earn your certification, since this unique role of a medical assistant is definitely for you.