Medical assisting is a highly rewarding profession, being the most flexible career.
Even though you might think that a good listener and well-organized person, interested in helping people should not waste too much time thinking about becoming a medical assistant, considering the fact that it is stable and wanted profession, before deciding to enter this demanding field, it is advisable to attend medical assistant school and take participation in an externship to see whether it is truly an area of medicine that you enjoy.
You should expect to meet the negative side of this profession since their working environment might involve exposure to potentially dangerous materials and situations.
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Medical assistants are people who work in clean environments, usually a regular 40-hour week.
Depending on the facility, some of them might work part-time, evenings, or weekends and even holidays.
They constantly interact with other people, patients, physicians, and pharmacists, and need to handle several responsibilities at once.
Besides doing some administrative work, they are also asked to perform serious duties like managing laboratory tests and X-rays, drawing blood, delivering injections, administering medications and removing sutures.
Under the supervision of a physician, they might perform a wide variety of medical and clinical support functions.
Whether one person will be working in the front office, completing a variety of administrative tasks as well as on the clinical side related to medical procedures depends on the facility.
Becoming a Medical Assistant in New Mexico
Even though the certification is not required by law, the medical assistant employers seek educated individuals able to start working upon entering the clinic, without prior training by the employer or already employed staff.
That is why more people are enrolling in programs and take certification examinations to become professionals in this field.
They can decide whether they want a quick and less demanding education which does not allow them the studying for an additional degree in the health field in the future or the other one which will include a higher cost and longer length of training, but also valuable benefits.
These programs can be found in most vocational schools and colleges offer traditional classroom learning or online programs, but they need to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) so that the graduates can be able to apply to take a certification exam after graduation.
There are 3 medical assistant programs accredited by the CAAHEP and 2 programs accredited by ABHES in New Mexico.
All of the medical assisting programs include courses in a variety of medical-related areas.
The future medical assistants will learn about anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, medical law, and billing and coding.
You can also get a chance of achieving experience on an externship that provides real-life situations where you can apply your knowledge.
There were also situations where graduates were hired by the facility where they completed their externship.
Once you have completed a medical assisting program and externship, you may take a national certification examination to become nationally certified and enlarge your job prospects.
The examination usually happens in January, June, and October and it can be done either on paper or the computer.
The certification proves that you are a medical assistant who is capable of performing a range of clinical and administrative functions.
The accredited associations who offer these kinds of programs are:
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), National Healthcare Association
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), American Association of Medical Assistants
- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA), National Center for Competency Testing
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential, American Medical Technologists
Getting a Job
As you probably know, employers are those that set the rules of required education, since they prefer to hire experienced workers or certified applicants.
That way they are sure that they are hiring a person who has passed a national examination, indicating that he/she meets certain standards of competence.
The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions evaluates that the number of medical assistants working in the state will increase which leads to better employment prospects.
Medical assistants may look for job opportunities in:
- San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington
- Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe
- Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque
- Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, Alamogordo
- Mountain View Regional Medical Center, Las Cruces
- University of New Mexico Hospital, Albuquerque
There is a constant and growing demand for medical assistants throughout the state of New Mexico and this will positively impact medical assistant salaries in the years to come.
The average annual salary of a medical assistant according to the Department of Workforce Solutions in New Mexico is $ 27 530.
The amount that they earn depends on their education and experience, the presence of certification and the quality of training achieved, so it is estimated that entry-level less experienced medical assistants earn an annual salary of $ 22 150, while their more experienced colleagues can earn up to $ 31 030.
The table below shows average salaries for medical assistants in major cities of New Mexico, presenting the difference from one place to another:Annual Salary Range: Annual Salary by Location:
|Location||Avg. Annual Salary|
Medical assistants perform both administrative and clinical tasks and the functioning of the facility is entrusted to them.
Their responsibilities may vary from office to office, due to the location and size as well as the amount of work.
The administrative duties include:
- answering telephones,
- greeting patients,
- updating patients’ medical records,
- scheduling appointments,
- and billing and bookkeeping.
The clinical duties vary according to state law but usually, they involve:
- taking medical histories
- recording vital signs
- explaining treatment procedures to patients,
- preparing patients for examination,
- and assisting the physician during the examination.
If a medical assistant is not interested in further education, he/she can find a stable job and perform his/her daily duties.
However, those who are eager to advance their knowledge and make progress in the medical field may be able to advance to the office manager, nursing and medical technology.
With additional education, they will increase their salary and prosper even further.