How to Become a Medical Assistant in Pennsylvania

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How to Become a Medical Assistant in Pennsylvania

When you look through job offerings in the USA, you can see that there is a constant lack of medical assistants.

No matter which state you live in, this vocation offers good job prospects, especially for well-educated individuals.

Entering this highly rewarding profession does not demand too much effort and time, and it is great for those who cannot afford a higher university education.

Job Description

If you think that being a good listener and a well-organized person, interested in helping people is enough for successfully performing this job, you are completely wrong.

This stable and wanted profession is high more demanding.

The positive side of this job is that medical assistants work in clean environments, usually a regular 40-hour week.

Even though they have night shifts and sometimes have to work at the weekend, they do not find it too difficult.

Their communication skills need to be excellent since they constantly interact with other people, patients, physicians, and pharmacists.

Under the supervision of a physician, they do a wide variety of medical and clinical tasks, while administrative work is fully entrusted to them.

Nevertheless, there are negative sides to this profession as the working environment of medical assistant might involve exposure to potentially dangerous materials and situations.

Becoming a Medical Assistant in Pennsylvania

For people interested in becoming medical assistants in Pennsylvania, high school diploma and love towards this profession is enough.

However, the duties that you can perform are regulated by Pennsylvania law.

This means that the duties that a doctor can assign to you are very few, and that is why many of them rather employ certified individuals who can manage many tasks.

To achieve this goal, it is advisable to attend a medical assistant school.

You can earn a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) after you have graduated from a medical assistant academic program accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

All of the medical assisting programs include courses related to anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, medical law, and billing and coding.

Requirements

Even though the certification is not required by law, more and more people are enrolling in programs and take certification examinations, to become professionals in this field and improve their employability.

They can decide whether they want a quick education which will not allow you to continue studying for an additional degree in the health field or the longer one that includes a higher cost and more time but gives valuable benefits in return.

The education and certification prove that you are a medical assistant who is capable of performing a range of clinical and administrative functions and the employer is sure about your capability to effectively do the job.

The CMA Exam is done after the program is finished and in Pennsylvania, you can take it in:

  • In Philadelphia at 601 Walnut Street
  • In Conshohocken at 100 West Elm Street, Suite 300
  • In Monroeville at 4055 Monroeville Boulevard
  • In Pittsburgh at 5700 Corporate Drive, Suite 400
  • In Allentown at 2211 Mack Boulevard
  • Near Scranton in Clarks Summit at 233 Northern Boulevard, Suite 4
  • In Lancaster at 2064 Fruitville Pike
  • In Harrisburg at 1100 North Mountain Road

The achievement of the certification is not the end of your education since there is a legal requirement to maintain any credentials that your employer may require.

Getting a Job

The future medical assistants in Pennsylvania should know that the law does not regulate the requirements for becoming a medical assistant, but the employers are those that set the rules of the required education.

If you are interested in getting the job in this field, you should know that employers prefer to hire experienced workers or certified applicants rather than educating the individual in the clinic.

A person who has passed a national examination is the one that meets certain standards of competence, has experience and training in the real environment and enough knowledge not to make mistakes at the work.

The number of medical assistants working in the state will increase, and there is even a fear that there would not be enough licensed professionals.

However, for those educated ones this will lead to better employment prospects and the ability to negotiate the salary.

Salary

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry estimates that medical assistant jobs will become even more available in Pennsylvania than they currently are.

This will affect the pay rate offered to both educated and non-educated medical assistants and have a positive impact on medical assistant salaries in the years to come.

The average annual salary of a medical assistant in Pennsylvania varies according to education and experience, the presence of certification and the quality of training achieved.

The lowest medical assistants’ annual salary is $ 31 788 in Wilkes Barre, while the highest one is in Levittown reaching even $ 39 019.

The table below shows average salaries for medical assistants in major cities of Pennsylvania, presenting the difference from one place to another:

Annual Salary Range:
$31K
$35K
$39K
10%
50%
90%
Annual Salary by Location:
LocationAvg. Annual Salary
Allentown,PA$34,426
Altoona,PA$32,527
Bethlehem,PA$34,426
Doylestown,PA$38,904
Easton,PA$34,371
Erie,PA$31,895
Greensburg,PA$32,897
Harrisburg,PA$33,618
Johnstown,PA$31,892
Lancaster,PA$33,829
Lebanon,PA$33,805
Levittown,PA$39,019
Philadelphia,PA$37,154
Pittsburgh,PA$33,929
Reading,PA$34,147
Scranton,PA$31,871
State College,PA$32,320
Stroudsburg,PA$34,846
West Chester,PA$36,843
Wilkes Barre,PA$31,788
Williamsport,PA$32,891
York,PA$33,677

Duties

Whether all the daily duties will be delegated to one person, who will be in charge of both the front office, completing a variety of administrative tasks and the clinical tasks related to medical procedures depends on the size of the facility and the number of responsibilities that certain person can manage.

The administrative duties involve:

  • answering telephones,
  • greeting patients,
  • updating patients’ medical records,
  • scheduling appointments,
  • billing and bookkeeping.

The clinical duties differ due to different laws in various states, but in most states, a medical assistant is allowed to:

  • take medical histories
  • record vital signs
  • explain treatment procedures to patients,
  • prepare patients for examination,
  • assist the physician during the examination.

Summary

A medical assistant who is not interested in further education might find a stable job and perform daily duties under the supervision of the physician.

But, those who want to improve their knowledge related to the medical field can get the chance of becoming office managers or nurses.

This additional education will increase their salary, meaning that each effort and hard work pays off in the end.

USA Medical Assisting by State


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