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

Majors Overview June 23, 2014

Medical assistants work in the medical field while helping others. Those interested should look into Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree programs in Medical Assisting, which can help students find jobs in outpatient clinics, physicians’ offices, or hospitals.

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

Students enrolled in this two-year program are prepared to seek entry-level jobs involving clinical and administrative roles in healthcare work settings. Students are typically taught administrative tasks, such as medical record management and billing, insurance coding and billing, and medical transcription. Students are taught—through the clinical portion—about drawing blood, administering medication, recording medical histories, and taking vital signs.

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma; additionally, some schools require students to demonstrate that they are proficient in math and English apart from completing clinical rotations during weekends, days, or nights. Some programs also require submission by prospective students to criminal background checks.

Coursework

Coursework in a medical assisting associate degree program is devised to impart training to students in legal and economic theories in addition to general administrative tasks. Apart from general courses, program coursework may include participation in supervised clinical rotations and completion of lab studies. Coursework in medical assisting programs often includes the following topic areas:

•Pharmacology
•Human body systems
•Medical office procedures
•Medical terminology
•Medical business practices

Career Choices

Medical assistants can seek entry-level jobs in many clinical work settings. Faster-than-average job prospects are expected for workers in this industry with a 34% high job growth rate predicted for medical assistants during the period of 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). Graduates of the associate’s degree program can aspire for job titles such as:

•Administrative medical assistant
•Patient care coordinator
•Clinical medical assistant
•Administrative support

Continuing Education Choices

Those that successfully complete the Medical Assisting A.A.S. program may seek to join the workforce immediately on completion of the program or pursue continued education by transferring into a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

While certification is not mandatory to get a job, it can help these professionals showcase their knowledge and skills in the field to potential employers. The American Association of Medical Assistants and the American Medical Technologists organization offer certifications in the field, including credentials in specific specialty areas.

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