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What Do Medical Assistants Do?

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Best Medical Assistant Programs

best medical assistant programsMedical assisting is an amazing profession that almost anyone can get involved with. All it takes is to enroll in a medical assistant program and a passion for helping others. Whether you’re a fresh high school graduate or an adult without a career, medical assisting could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Let us show you what it takes to become a medical assistant and set off for a successful future.

Featured Medical Assisting Programs

Top 5 Online Medical Assisting Programs

Planning on becoming a medical assistant in the near future? If so, there are plenty of medical assisting programs online to give you the training you need to start your career. You can learn everything you need to know to work in medical assisting from the comfort of your own home. All you have to do is find the right school for you.

Here is a look at the top 5 online medical assisting programs.

Kaplan University

Kaplan University offers an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting online and at several of their locations throughout the country. Kaplan’s program is unique in that there is a start date nearly every month throughout the year. You can start your degree program right away and graduate in under two years of full time study. Graduates from Kaplan’s medical assisting program are eligible to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam, the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) exam, and the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam.

  • Total Credits: 92
  • Total Tuition: $34,132
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP

Keiser University

Keiser University offers an Associate of Science in Medical Assisting online that takes about two years to complete. The program includes courses in Clinical Procedures, Medical Terminology, Anatomy and Physiology, Radiography, and Medical Office Management. It also requires students to complete two externships before earning their degrees. With this program, you can gain real world experience to get a true feel for what your career will entail.

  • Total Credits: 60.5
  • Total Tuition: $30,808
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP

Liberty University Online

Liberty University Online provides an Associate of Applied Science – Medical Office Assistant to prepare students for a career in medical assisting. The program is specifically designed for students who wish to become a Doctor’s Office Assistant, Clerical and Medical Billing Expert, or Medical Clinic Receptionist. Some of the most prominent courses in the program include Medical Office Systems and Procedures, Introduction to Health Professions, Medical Terminology, and Medical Office Billing and Bookkeeping. This school has one of the lowest tuition rates in our top 5 online medical assisting programs lists, and it is certainly one to look into.

  • Total Credits: 61
  • Total Tuition: $21,960
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP

Harrison College

Harrison College has an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting that is available online and through many of its college campuses. This school operates on quarter-long semesters, not traditional semesters. That means you can complete more training in less time. The average quarter consists of 12 credit hours for full time students, which gives you a chance to earn your degree in about two years. Core courses include Medical Terminology, Medical Office Software, Pharmacology, Pathophysiology, and Professional Perspectives.

  • Total Credits: 96
  • Total Tuition: $38,400
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP

Herzing University

Herzing University offers an Associate and Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting Services that only takes 20 months to complete. The degree program is broken down into general education courses, professional and personal development courses, required courses, and transfer courses. The transfer courses are those completed before actually enrolling in the program, like Anatomy and Physiology, Insurance Claims, and Keyboarding. This school requires an externship for real-world training that will prove vital to your success as a medical assistant.

  • Total Credits: 60
  • Total Tuition: $24,040
  • Accreditation: CAAHEP

What Do Medical Assistants Do?

Medical assistants take on most of the administrative tasks in the medical field. Their efforts help doctors, nurses, and other healthcare employees work more efficiently. Examples of medical assisting job duties include:

  • Answering phone calls
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Organizing patient records
  • Taking payments
  • Recording insurance information
  • Drawing blood
  • Checking vital signs
  • Administering medications (as directed by a physician)

There are many other tasks that you might be asked to do as a medical assistant, depending on where you work. The overall goal of your job will be to help your hospital, clinic, or doctor’s office run as smoothly as possible. This is an important, much-needed responsibility that someone has to do. Could you be that person?

How to Become a Medical Assistant

If you want to become a medical assistant, you will need to get a college education. You can start work without this, but most employers prefer working with people who have already been trained. Luckily, most of the medical assistant degree programs associated with this profession only take one to two years to complete. Consider these degrees:

  • Certificate of Medical Assisting
  • Diploma of Medical Assisting
  • Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assistant

These degrees might have slightly different names in your school, like a certificate of medical administrative assisting or an associate of science in medical assistance. The information you learn is the same no matter what. The most comprehensive degree program is the associate’s, but any one of them could help you become a medical assistant.

After you complete your medical assistant program, you may consider taking a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant exam. This will verify your credentials and make it even easier for you to find a job. When an employer sees that you are a CMAA, he will not have to question your abilities. You will instantly be ranked better than other applicants without a certification.

What to Expect from Medical Assisting Degree Programs

Every medical assisting program has a unique set of courses you must take within it. However, these degrees all have the same goals in the end. They often include classes like:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Business Administration
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medical Billing and Coding
  • Telecommunications
  • Medical Terminology

These classes will help you learn how to go about the basic job duties of a medical assistant. You may need some additional on-the-job training when you begin working for a new employer, but after that, you’ll be able to get through your work with ease.

How long are medical assistant programs? Most degree programs take one to two years to complete. You may be able to start studying in your junior or senior year of high school so that you are ready for work once you graduate. Medical assistant programs are made to give you direct insight into this profession so you can decide if it is right for you. If not, there are many other medical careers to keep in mind.

How to Find the Right Medical Assisting Program

You may choose to obtain your medical assisting degree online or on a traditional college campus. Studying online will allow you to set your own schedule for class, but it will also require you to be independently responsible for studying and completing assignments. If you work better with hands-on training, you should consider going through a standard college degree program.

Many students choose to attend local vocational schools or community colleges because they offer low tuition rates and career-specific classes. If you do this and decide you want to go back to school later, you can always transfer your credits to a four year university. You could attend a private or a public school, but note that private schools typically charge more money for tuition. If you have the financial aid to back that up though, go for it.

No matter what kind of degree program you decide to pursue, make sure it is accredited. The CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) and the ABHES (Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools) are the best accreditation boards for medical assistants in the country right now. If you find a program backed by one or both of those, you know that you will be getting a good education.

Would You Make a Good Medical Assistant?

Almost anyone can become a medical assistant, but you will do better at this job if you have certain personality traits. This is not a career for those who like to work on their own because it requires constant interaction with others. People who do well in medical assisting often:

  • Are able to multitask easily
  • Have strong organizational skills
  • Understand basic medical terminology
  • Are able to learn new tasks quickly
  • Have good communication skills
  • Work well in teams
  • Know how to remain calm in emergency situations

As a medical assistant, you will likely work with a wide range of professionals and patients on a daily basis. You must be able to get along with all of them and still maintain control over your work station. If you think you have what it takes to be a medical assistant, there are plenty of opportunities out there for you.

How Much Money Do Medical Assistants Make?

The average salary for medical assistants varies from state to state. For instance, medical assistants in Texas earn an average of $13.20 an hour, while the same workers in New York earn $15.43 an hour. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average medical assistant in the country earns $14.80 an hour, based on data from May, 2013. That equates to about $30,780 a year working full time.

The highest paid 10% of medical assistants earn an average of $20.15 an hour, so you certainly have something to strive for. Many medical assistants go on to work as nursing assistants, registered nurses, executive assistants, and more. These careers offer even larger pay rates for just a little extra training. If you decide that you want more out of your career once you are a full-fledged medical assistant, there are extensive options to help you out.

What Is the Job Outlook for Medical Assisting?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 29% growth in jobs for medical assistants between 2012 and 2022. This is “much faster than average” when compared to other occupations. In 2013, there were 571,690 medical assistants in the United States, which is 10,890 more than the year before. If you want stability and ample job opportunities when you get out of school, this is the career for you.

Keep in mind that medical assistants will always be in high demand. As the population continues to grow, more people will need some sort of medical care. Doctors and nurses cannot get through their appointments without administrative assistants on hand to keep them organized. Many medical assistants are starting to take on the basic roles of nurses because medical facilities are trying to cut back on wages. The more versatile you are as an employee, the better off you will be.

How Can You Get Started?

If you have decided that medical assisting is indeed the right career for you, start looking for a school to attend. Our extensive database of medical assisting programs will help you find the perfect school to fit your needs. Whether you stay at home to learn or you travel across the country, there is a program out there for you. Let us walk you through your search today.