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Associate of Arts Degree Program in Medical Assisting Overview

Majors Overview June 28, 2014

Although Associate of Business Science programs in Medical Assisting may not be offered, those still interested should look into Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) programs in the field.

Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree Programs in Medical Assisting

Students enrolled in two-year associate degree programs in medical assisting are trained in many vital aspects of medical assisting, such as physician assistance and medical administration. During the program, students will become thoroughly familiar with administrative office procedures, medical terminology, and laboratory procedures.

They are imparted training in the performance of diagnostic tests, taking of vitals, provision of support to doctors, and updating of medical records. They may also become adept at instructing patients about medication and preparing medications as well as performing clinical procedures.

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.

Coursework

Coursework is devised to develop basic computer and office skills in addition to imparting knowledge about clinical procedures. Hands-on clinical training is often included in these programs, whose coursework may include the following subject areas:

•Healthcare ethics and laws
•Pharmacology
•Physiology
•Human anatomy
•Medical billing and coding

Job and Wage Outlook

A higher-than-average job growth rate of 34% has been predicted for medical assistants during the decade of 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). That would translate into about 164,000 jobs. Job responsibilities of medical assistants involve helping with patients’ primary care, and in certain instances, such support allows doctors to treat more patients than usual. The best opportunities are expected to go to assistants equipped with formal educations.

In May 2012, medical assistants took home average annual wages of $29,370 (BLS). Wages can, however, vary by experience, employer, and region. For instance, the highest wages earned by these experts, in Alaska, amounted to $37,750. During this time, the highest concentration of these experts was employed in the Los Angeles–Long Beach–Glendale metropolitan area.

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

The best job opportunities are likely to be enjoyed by assistants that augment experience and education with certification. Professional certification for medical assistants is offered by many organizations, such as the American Association of Medical Assistants and the American Medical Technologists.

Completion of the required education and passage of the required exam can help re-validate certification for up to sixty months. Maintenance of certification over an extended period would depend on continuing education.

Medical assistants can seek career advancement in various areas within the thriving healthcare field. Assistants that arm themselves with additional education commonly seek careers in registered nursing and medical management.

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