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

Majors Overview June 23, 2014

Receive information about the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Medical Assistant and its education requirements, coursework, job and wage outlook, and continuing education choices.

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

Students enrolled in a medical assistant associate degree program are taught about medical procedures, medical office functions, laboratory procedures, and medical information systems.

Students can expect to become adept at drawing blood samples, understanding safety guidelines, monitoring blood glucose levels, performing an electrocardiogram, and preparing laboratory specimens. In some programs, additional instruction may be provided in medical office procedures, such as medical billing, data management, health system regulations, medical terminology, and medical record management. Those that graduate from the program can seek entry-level jobs in a medical assisting position.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. At some schools, additional criteria may include completion of an entrance exam, passage of health screenings, submission to a criminal background check, and provision of proof of immunizations.

Coursework

Coursework in a medical assistant program covers both administrative and clinical topic areas. Completion of a medical assisting practicum by students is a general requirement in programs. Coursework may include the following topic areas:

•Healthcare ethics
•Medical law
•Clinical procedures
•Medical office procedures
•Laboratory testing procedures
•Medical coding
•Medical terminology
•Introduction to medical record systems
•Pharmacology
•Patient safety and care

Job and Wage Outlook

In May 2012, there were 560,800 individuals employed as medical assistants in the country, and they earned an average annual wage of $29,370 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). Good job prospects are expected for workers in this industry with a 34% job growth rate predicted for medical assistants during the period of 2008 to 2018 (BLS), with the best job opportunities likely to go to candidates with certification.

Continuing Education Choices

While licensure or certification is not mandatory, medical assistants that acquire certification can use it to showcase their knowledge and skills in the field to potential employers (BLS). The American Association of Medical Assistants is an organization that offers such certification to these professionals. Certification requirements vary by company, but general requirements typically include passage of a certification exam and meeting of training requirements.

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