Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing fields currently available. This is partially due to the rapid growth of our population and the advancing age of the baby boomer generation. As constant changes are happening within the medical industry the need for talented but affordable medical professionals is constantly on the rise. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics those in the medical assisting career path should experience a 29% growth through 2022, which is much faster than average compared to other industries. What many students may not be aware of, is the different paths that are available in medical assisting. General medical assisting is the most common, but there are two other specialties available; administrative medical assisting and clinical medical assisting. This article will focus on administrative medical assisting and ensure you have all the information you need to confirm this is the correct path for you.
What is an Administrative Medical Assistant?
Administrative medical Assistants are specialized group of medical assistance that focus on running a clinical office. While they may not have the same level of knowledge on the clinical side of the industry their more specialized in administration. The best fit for this particular career path is someone that is interested more in paperwork and ensuring that the business runs effectively than one that wishes to spend their time working directly with patients.
Duties will vary based on state regulations but the most common include insurance billing, scheduling, greeting patients, setting referral appointments, medical billing, medical coding, and following up with patients. The actual duties as you perform will vary based on the needs of your particular employer as well as the state’s regulations.
Why choose Administrative Medical Assisting?
While general medical assistants understand how to work on the administrative and clinical side of the industry they are more of a jack of all trades than a specialized individual. While this is beneficial to many employers, there is still need for those who understand their particular field at a much deeper level. As an administrative medical assistant you will have the deepest knowledge of everything that is required to make a clinic run in regards to the business aspects. Your education will also generally take less time. While most medical assistants will spend up to two years in school you can earn an education as an administrative medical assistant in 6 to 9 months.
Administrative medical assistants earn an average income ranging from $32,000-$38,000 a year but that number can vary widely based on education, experience, location, and employer. Earning experience while you are going to school can be difficult but there are ways to balance the requirements of these two busy schedules.
Earning an Education
Many students struggle with earning an education as they work full-time. Fortunately, over the last decade or so online education to become increasingly popular and advanced. As long as you have a computer with a word processor and can access the Internet you have all the tools you need to earn an online education. Many schools offer a wide variety of program levels that give you all the options you would expect from a traditional campus-based education. The advantage is that you’re able to learn at your own pace with due dates for graded work or exams being your only time constraint. This gives you the ability to work at an entry-level position while also going to school full-time if you desire.
Experience is just as important an education when it comes to finding a permanent place of employment. Talk to local employers to find what type of entry-level positions may be available. It is also key that you discuss your particular plans with them so they can see giving you the entry-level position will end up being beneficial to them as well. By hiring you early, they are able to teach you their particular methods of administrative medical assisting as you earn your formal education.
Certification or Registration?
The final decision that you must consider is whether or not to become certified or registered. For most employers certification and registration are essentially the same. The primary difference is the organization or association which gives you the designation and the examination. It would be wise to speak with local employers to find out if they have a particular preference one way or the other. While certification may not be right for every student it is worth considering. In general earning a certification will bring in $8000-$10,000 more than those who do not earn this designation.
To earn a certification visit the American Association of Medical Assistants. For those interested in learning about registration visit the American Registry of Medical Assistants. You do not have to choose if you will become certified or registered right now. It would be wise to speak with your educational institution and learn what programs they offer to help you prepare. The individual associations offer study aids but most programs that you will sign up for will offer all the prerequisites to ensure that you have the knowledge that you need to pass the exams.
Any and all of these choices are up to you and your personal goals. There is no perfect path for everybody so considering your goals, how long you would like to spend in school, your likelihood of continuing your education at a later date, and your income needs you will find the path that is correct for you. Research is key so continue doing so but start looking for the right school now. Also start talking to local employers to find what type of entry-level positions you are qualified for. You started your research already so you’re on the right path. Continue this work and you will find yourself in the career that you deserve before you know it.