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

Majors Overview June 18, 2014

Those interested in performing both clerical and clinical tasks in medical settings should look into associate’s degree programs in medical assisting. Graduates will be qualified for voluntary certification and entry-level jobs through several organizations.

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

Students enrolled in medical assisting programs are imparted skills that will be helpful in their professional work employed as technicians and aides in medical offices and clinics. Medical assisting students can expect to become experts in various career areas, such as bill collection, patient interactions, insurance billing and coding, medical records management, and medical transcription. Those that complete these associate’s degree programs are typically trained in helping coordinate patient care, processing insurance claims, and arranging for hospital admissions.

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.

Coursework

Both the patient healthcare and record keeping aspects of medical assisting are taught through classroom lectures in medical assisting associate’s degree programs. Students enrolled in some degree programs are also expected to participate in medical assisting externships as part of the coursework. Coursework in an associate’s degree in medical assisting may include the following subject areas:

•Laboratory skills
•Medical transcription
•Medical terminology
•Radiography
•Human biology
•Medical laws and ethics
•Medical office management
•Pharmacology

Job and Wage Outlook

A faster-than-average job growth rate of 34% has been predicted for medical assistants during the period of 2008 to 2018 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)). In 2012, medical assistants took home an average annual wage of $29,370 (BLS).

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Voluntary certification will allow these professionals to advance in their careers. Organizations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), and the Association of Medical Technologists (AMT) offers professional certification. The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential is offered through the AAMA; this can be acquired by completing an accredited medical assisting program and will help showcase skills and knowledge in the field to potential employers.

Although there is not any continuing education options aimed specifically at medical assistants, by earning a bachelor’s degree in related healthcare fields, including nursing, these professional can enhance their career prospects.

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