If you want a rewarding career in healthcare, becoming a medical assistant can be the right choice for you.
This profession is not a new one, although it has become more and more attractive in recent years.
In the past medical assistants used to learn the ins and outs of this profession through on-the-job training while practicing under the supervision of a licensed physician.
Although Medical Assistant Certification is not required by law, many employers hire only medical assistants who are qualified and certified.
This is understandable since medical liability is an ongoing issue in healthcare.
In our day and age, physicians want to be sure that the medical assistants they hire are competent and ready for the job.
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What Is MA Certification?
Medical Assistant Certification is a great way to prove your competency to potential employers.
This certification is offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) to candidates who pass an exam.
The exam covers topics such as:
- anatomy, physiology, and disease
- clinical procedures
- administrative procedures
- laboratory procedures
- medication administration
Because in the past medical assistants were hired without formal training and couldn’t be held accountable for the work they did, this profession wasn’t always treated as a serious healthcare profession.
Certification has changed this and nowadays this is a well-regulated and respected profession.
When Does A Medical Assistant Need Certification?
As mentioned above, employers usually prefer to hire certified medical assistants to avoid mistakes caused by the MA’s lack of experience and skills.
Sometimes this is required by insurance agencies that ensure physicians or healthcare centers.
However, it is possible to find entry-level employment as an uncertified medical assistant but your employer may require that you earn the certification soon after hire.
Also, if you have some years of experience in the field, this can compensate for the fact that you are not certified.
Why Earn a Certification?
There are many other benefits to earning your CMA credential:
- CMAs have better employment opportunities
- Salaries are usually higher for CMAs
- Better opportunities for advancement
- Even if you’re a recent employee, your starting salary will be higher if you hold a CMA certification.
What Should I Do If I’m Working as an Uncertified Medical Assistant
If you’re currently not certified, you should consider earning this credential in order to improve your credibility.
Talk With Your Employer
The first step is to speak with your employer to see if he/she can offer in-house training or other educational opportunities.
This will not only improve your professional credibility but will also help you stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in the field.
Take Classes, Read Medical Journals
There are other options as well:
- Consider taking classes at a community college.
- Many colleges and vocational schools offer useful classes such as anatomy, physiology, phlebotomy training, and other courses that are relevant to your field.
- Read medical journals and complete continuing education units.
Certified medical assistants are required to complete a certain number of CEU units each year and, even if you are not certified, reading learning units that are offered by professional journals can help you a lot.
Another way to improve your knowledge and to stay up-to-date is by attending medical assisting conferences.
These will look good on your resume and will prove to your employer that you are a passionate worker who’s always curious about the latest advancements in the field.