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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Clinical Medical Assisting Technology

Majors Overview June 29, 2014

Receive information about an associate’s degree program in clinical medical assisting technology and its educational requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education and certification information.

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

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program for clinical medical assisting technology are provided with the knowledge and skills needed for assisting physicians and nurses with medical procedures in clinics, hospitals, or physicians’ offices. While administrative medical assistants only perform clerical work, much of clinical medical assistants’ time is spent in working with medical equipment and patients. Students will become adept at taking medical histories, collecting and preparing lab specimens, authorizing drug refills, preparing and administering medications, and performing lab experiments.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Prospective students—who should be at least 18—may be expected to submit to criminal background checks before they can begin the clinical segment of the program.

Coursework

Apart from lab work and classroom lectures, supervised clinical sessions are given to students to help them gain hands-on training. Externships or internships may also be included in clinical education. Coursework may include the following topic areas:

•Human anatomy and physiology
•Computerized billing and coding
•Medical law and ethics
•Medical administration
•Pathophysiology
•Clinical care techniques
•Medical terminology

Career Choices

Those that successfully complete the associate degree in clinical assistant technology can seek entry-level jobs in medical office and medical laboratory settings alike and can choose from various positions:

•Clinical medical assistant
•Doctor’s office medical assistant
•Medical laboratory assistant
•Hospital medical assistant

Continuing Education and Certification Information

While certification is not mandatory, employers prefer candidates that hold professional certification as it helps them showcase their skills and experience in the field. Obtaining certification can also boost job opportunities and earning potential. Eligible clinical medical assistants can obtain certification through the American Medical Technologists (AMT) and the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), which offer certified credentials to eligible clinical medical assistants.

Passage of the exam is needed to obtain certification. Certifications are also offered to medical assistants in specialty areas, such as ophthalmology, podiatry, and optometry. Additional training and work experience can help medical assistants advance to other positions, such as those of paramedics or nurses among other health care positions. Some may also choose to teach medical assistants.

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