What is Medical Assisting?
Medical assistants are an integral part of the healthcare field, and will need medical assistant certification. They must be qualified by both experience and education in order to work in administration, the exam room, or a laboratory. Medical assistants also serve as a liaison between the patient and doctor, assisting with communication. Clearly, they are extremely important to a medical practice. Medical assistants are responsible for tasks such as taking patient history and vital signs, giving injections, preparing blood for the lab, scheduling appointments, and assisting physicians with examinations. Administrative tasks may include updating and filing medical records, handling bookkeeping, arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services and using computer applications. Electronic health records are also under the realm of medical assisting. They often fill out insurance forms or code patients’ medical information. In large practices and/or hospitals, medical assistants can specialize in either clinical or administrative work. Certified medical assistants should have a number of personal characteristics. They should be highly empathic, tolerant of stress and dependable. They must be able to maintain confidentiality due to contact with medical information. They should also have integrity, self-control and respect when handling the private information of others. Lastly, they should be detail oriented and have the visual and manual dexterity in order to assist physicians with necessary tasks. They should have a desire to educate, communicate with and help those that they encounter. Beyond these personal skills, the necessary technical, analytical and communication skills are required in order to be effective.
Why Get Certified?
Although it is not required, most employers strongly prefer employees who have graduated from an accredited program, with a medical assistant certification. This certification ensures the competency of medical assistants at a job-entry level. These programs are offered widely, in vocational schools, community colleges, college or universities. Several programs are also available online. After certification and years of experience, medical assistants are able to advance to office managers or may teach medical assisting courses. Many medical assistants eventually may become nurses, medical laboratory technicians, medical technologists, or other related professions. Many medical assistants are also certified as Phlebotomy Technicians, who are capable of drawing blood. Certification not only makes your more attractive to future employers, but it will help you obtain a higher salary. You will also have more confidence and a better handle on the subject matter that you will encounter at your job. This will allow you to do your best work.
Where to Find Training?
Medical assistant certification can be obtained through a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs, or the Accreditation Bureau of Health Education Schools. There are about 700 programs across the country that are accredited by these organization. After training, certification can be obtained through an application and exam process. Certification can also be obtained without training, after five years of experience. Training will include coursework in medical terminology, math and science, first aid, medical billing, and more. How to get the certification In order to obtain a certification, you must first be eligible. In order to be eligible to take the certification exam, you must have recently graduated from an accredited medical assistant program. You must then apply online to take the exam and pay $125. Once this application has been approved, you will schedule your testing date online. In the meantime, it will be necessary to study, using review materials that can be purchased online. The next step is that you must take and pass the exam. After your initial exam is passed, you will need to take a recertification exam or educational credits every 5 years in order to maintain your certification.
Employment and Salary
The demand for medical assistants is increasing. Employment is expected to grow by 31 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is faster than the average for all occupations. The earning for medical assistants varies depending on skill level, experience and location. The median income as of May 2010 was $28,860. Over half of certified medical assistants work in private practices, but many others work in hospitals. A medical assistant typically works a 40-hour workweek, Monday through Friday, unless the practice in which they work has later hours or hours on the weekend. Job opportunities are extremely versatile because you are able to work in both clinical and administrative roles. They are also not limited to a particular specialty, so they can work for a variety of practices.
Overall, medical assistant certification would be extremely beneficial to those who are seeking a rewarding, versatile and flexible career that betters the lives of those around them. Certified medical assistants enjoy a professional work environment, a lucrative salary, many employee benefits and a challenging, stimulating and rewarding career path. If this is something that interests you, consider obtaining a medical assistant certification.