The amount of ill and old people seeking medical care is increasing lately, thus forcing doctors and physicians to open novice offices and clinics.
This is a good fact for people interested in spending their life working with people and helping them in need.
They might get numerous benefits if they decide to pursue the profession of a medical assistant, but only after they have passed all the necessary education and exams.
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The medical industry relies heavily on medical assistants who are asked to perform a variety of tasks and who lead the functioning of the facility they work for.
The personal characteristics that a medical assistant needs to possess are perfect communication skills, attention to detail, empathy and professionalism, as well as good organizational abilities.
If you happen to be a chosen candidate for this job, your responsibility would be greeting the patients, discussing the symptoms and giving first aid to them, preparing examination rooms and assisting the doctor during the examination.
You will be working with both newborns to senior citizens, so the basic understanding of patient care and medical terminology will be a huge advantage for you.
Becoming a Medical Assistant in Louisiana
When it comes to legal requirements, you do not have to have formal post-secondary education to become a medical assistant.
The limitations that exist are in providing care and duties to be performed, as well as strict requirements set by the employers.
This is why people who are interested in becoming medical assistants should definitely look for renowned instructors who are qualified to transfer their knowledge to younger generations and choose among educational programs such as the diploma or certificate programs that are shorter and less educative or the associate degree program which might be a better solution, even though it lasts longer.
Whichever medical assistant school in Louisiana they choose, the curriculums will include subjects such as:
- Medical communication and terminology
- Human body structure and function
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical assistant clinical and administrative procedures
- Pharmacology for medical assistants
- Medical insurance billing, etc.
Even though high school diploma is the only precondition for becoming a medical assistant, in order to be a successful and efficient member of the health care team and get hired by the doctors, it is necessary to have knowledge and practice related to medical terminology, administrative office management, medical finance management, human biology, laboratory procedures and pharmacology, which definitely cannot be gained during your secondary education, but only at adequate medical assistant courses.
Which of the courses the student will choose depends on himself/herself, but the attention should be paid to the accreditation of the chosen program.
The requirements that employers are looking for are previous work experience as a medical assistant, completion of a military medical assistant training program, an associate’s degree or certificate.
The only field that Louisiana state law restricts medical assistants form working is related to blood tests and laboratory environment.
To be allowed to work as a medical assistant who takes a blood or performs laboratory procedures you will need to work with the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners to obtain an appropriate license.
The accredited associations who offer these kinds of programs are:
- The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) – sponsored by American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA) – sponsored by the National Association of Health Professionals (NAHP)
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) – sponsored by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- Medical Assistant (NCMA) – sponsored by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
Getting a Job
People whose studies are finished and the certificate gained are eager to put their knowledge into practice by finding a satisfactory job which will meet their lifestyle.
As it is already mentioned, the higher education is not binding for getting the job, but it can be a limitation since most employers prefer graduates of accredited programs in medical assisting and give priority to these kinds of candidates.
The possession of a certificate, diploma or associate degree makes you more favorable among all the other applicants.
Also, once hired, you might expect a higher salary and higher responsibilities, as well.
Medical assistants may look for job opportunities in:
- Saint Elizabeth Hospital in Baton Rouge
- West Jefferson Medical Center in Marrero
- The North Oaks Health System in Hammond
When it comes to Louisiana, the medical assistant’s jobs are in high demand.
This is because this profession is the fastest-growing occupations here.
It is estimated that medical assistants enjoy an approximate annual salary of $ 31 231.
The Louisiana medical assistants earn from $30 535 in Alexandria up to $34 214 Marrero and Metairie.
How high the salary of a medical assistant will depend on their level of work experience and education before hiring.
The difference in salary among the cities is not so significant, but it still exists due to factors such as the development of the region, the number of medical facilities in the city and the amount of work that the facility has.
The table below shows the salary of a medical assistant in the state of Louisiana annually since it significantly varies from one city to another.Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Regional Salary in Louisiana
|Region||Employed||Avg. Annual Salary||Avg. Hourly Pay||Top 10% Annual Salary||Bottom 10% Annual Salary|
|Baton Rouge, LA||2,050||$33,930||$16.31||$42,000||$24,850|
|Lake Charles, LA||660||$32,350||$15.55||$39,110||$26,350|
|New Orleans-Metairie, LA||3,200||$33,160||$15.94||$39,180||$27,510|
|Shreveport-Bossier City, LA||820||$31,560||$15.18||$38,640||$24,900|
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.
The duties of a medical assistant vary from facility to facility and the size of it might determine whether one person will be performing both administrative and clinical duties, or they will be divided between two.
If the office is the smaller one, then they might be asked to both greet the patients, give them advice and comfort, as well as prepare them for examination and surgery and help physicians during the intervention.
In bigger ones, the roles are divided among people depending on their education, experience, and eagerness to learn and advance, so the less educated ones perform only clerical duties while more educated are working with the doctor and other medical staff.
To be successful in this job, a medical assistant has to be ready to:
- Do dialysis procedures
- Do basic laboratory procedures
- Administer medication
- Collect laboratory specimens
- Assist with patient treatments and examinations, among many others.