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Degree Overview: Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree in Clinical Medical Assisting

Majors Overview June 16, 2014

Students in Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Clinical Medical Assisting will be provided with the experience and knowledge needed to become qualified assistants at medical facilities. They will also be prepared for professional certification.

Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) Degree Programs in Clinical Medical Assisting

Students enrolled in Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Clinical Medical Assisting are prepared to seek entry-level careers that require them to perform clerical duties or assist doctors with medical examinations. Some universities, vocational schools, and community colleges offer AAS degree programs that typically span 15 to 24 months.

These programs combine classroom lectures and clinical lab-based training. The most value is assigned to programs that carry the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs accreditation. Those that successfully complete the AAS in Clinical Medical Assisting can seek professional certification and embark on their career.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria for AAS degree programs in Clinical Medical Assisting typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Students are also expected to complete collegiate level classes in math and English. Introductory courses are required to be taken by students seeking admission to some programs relating to major courses in medical assisting.

Coursework

Coursework in AAS degree programs in Clinical Medical Assisting is devised to impart the knowledge and skills needed to pursue careers in the clinical and administrative field. Coursework commonly covers topic areas such as the following:

•Medical office administration
•Human disease types
•Computer application software
•Physiology and anatomy
•Billing and insurance procedures
•Medical terminology
•Medical coding
•Pharmacology
•Medical transcription

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 34% has been predicted for medical assistants during the period from 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). This growth is expected to be fueled by a combination of emerging technology, an aging population, and increasing demand for healthcare support services.

A medical assistant’s wages can vary depending on various factors, such as location, employer type, skill level, and work experience. In 2013, medical assistants earned an average annual wage of $29,370. The highest average salary is earned in the state of Alaska, where these professionals earn $37,750 annually on average.

The average annual wage of $41,570 was earned by the top tenth of medical assistants in the United States. Employers of these professional are mainly in the field of primary care, with more than 62% employed in doctors’ offices.

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

Professional certification is typically required by medical assistants seeking jobs and aspiring for the best occupations. A professional certification exam is offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the passage of which will culminate in the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential. Those that gain the credential will have to earn continuing education units (CEUs) every five years in order to maintain the certification. CEU coursework commonly includes subject areas in clinical, administrative, and general medical assisting.

Several specialty certifications—including common ones such as podiatry, ophthalmology, and optometry—are offered by the American Medical Technologists for medical assistants seeking career enhancement. Medical assistants may also seek continued education to enter registered nursing among other healthcare careers.

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