Those interested in this field should consider obtaining an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in medical assistant technology. These assistants will assist health care experts with tasks ranging from post-surgery cleanup to pre-clinical assessments, as well as clinical and administrative tasks in several medical settings.
A.A. Programs in Medical Assistant Technology
Students enrolled in an Associate Degree Program in Medical Assistant Technology are taught about providing assistance to health care professionals in hospitals, clinics and offices. Apart from providing assistance to physicians with clinical tasks, such as preparation for medical procedures, measurement of vital signs, and blood testing, students can also become adept at office administration skills, insurance record management and patient billing procedures. Technical schools and community colleges offer these two-year programs whose admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.
Coursework typically combines classroom lectures, with supervised clinical rotations, externships, seminars and lab studies and may include topic areas such as:
•Insurance and reimbursement processing
•Administrative medical assistant office procedures
•Anatomy and physiology
•Human body structure
Job and Wage Outlook
A job growth of 34% has been predicted for medical assistants during the decade from 2008 to 2018; this optimistic projection is based on the assumption that an aging population will result in greater demand for medical services. In 2012, medical assistants earned an average annual wage of $29,370 (BLS).
Continuing Education Choices
While a professional credential is not mandatory, voluntary certification will enable medical assistants to showcase their knowledge and skills in the field to potential employers. Medical assistants may seek certification from organizations such as the Association of Medical Technologists and the American Association of Medical Assistants. In the absence of higher educational opportunities in medical assistant technology, medical assistants may seek to enhance their career prospects with additional training and work experience that would allow them to seek office administrator positions. They can also use the rudimentary medical knowledge acquired from a medical assistant associate’s degree program to seek continued education through courses that could lead to positions as teachers or nurses in the medical field.