Medical assistants are experiencing alarming job growth and there is no time like the present to get certified and start making a better future for yourself. As a medical assistant, you earn a healthy income and can complete your education in very little time, but earning a certification gives you even more advantages, job opportunities and room to grow in your career. You may be surprised how quickly you can enter the field and how much you can earn. This article will cover all of the information you need, as well as a few tips to help you prepare for even more growth, if you decide to pursue it.
What is a Medical Assistant?
As a medical assistant, you work in an allied health occupation and perform administrative and/or clinical duties which support the physicians and health professionals in your medical office. Routine tasks and procedures are the norm, and may include administering medications, injections, recording information in a specific medical records-keeping system, handling medical instruments and supplies and ensuring that rooms are sanitary and ready for the next patient. You will also need to have a welcoming personality and the ability to discuss issues with patients, or greet those that are coming in for appointments. While many appointments are routine, the patients that visit your office will often be a little more stressed than normal, and having the personality to calm them will be invaluable.
Medical assistants are not required to hold a certification to enter the field. There are plenty of advantages to this extra work though. The average certified medical assistant (at the time of this writing) earns about $52,000 a year according to indeed.com. At the same time, a non-certified medical assistant earns around $43,000 a year as reported by the same site. Indeed.com is a fairly accurate site as they give up to the day information based on actual job postings. BLS.gov, gives great information as well, but it is only updated every few years in most cases, and rarely separates sub-careers from one heading. For example, they report that medical assistants earn an average income of $28,000 a year, as of 2010, but they do not give specific numbers for those with a certification. BLS.gov is a much stronger site when it comes to occupational outlooks. The field is expected to see a 31% growth from 2010 – 2020. That is much faster than average and should make you more comfortable when it comes to taking the dive into your education.
How does the Certification Work?
Upon graduating from your chosen program you will need to prepare for the certification exam. Make sure that you are researching education institutions that prepare you for this exam, as some provide a very short education, but will not prepare you for your certification. Upon graduation you will need to visit the American Association of Medical Assistants web site. Within this site you will find a handbook that helps you understand what will be required before taking the examination. It is highly recommended that you read through the handbook before starting your education. The worse possible problem to have is to graduate without meeting the requirements.
How do I ensure I am Future Proof?
Careers will see alarming growth and significant slowdowns (though it seems unlikely in the medical field) so you need to ensure you are ready to react to the changing environment. It is unlikely that you will need to completely change professions at any point. Our population is increasing and aging and medical care is more important today than ever before, so you are entering a very safe field. What happens if you want to move up the career path to a higher responsibility and higher paying position? You will likely need to return to school, and if you did not ensure your education was ready for upward mobility, you may find that you have to spend more time than you really need going back. Make sure the educational institution you choose has programs you can move up to, if you decide to at a later date, or find out how likely credits are to transfer.
I’m too busy for College?
Finally, this is the issue, or excuse, that many students use to put off their education until a later date. In many cases, that later date never arrives and potential students find themselves stuck in their current lives. Work, family and other responsibilities just build over time and it can make it seem impossible to get an education. As you can see on this page, and by browsing sites all over the web, there are countless online colleges out there. Online degree programs put the scheduling power in your hands. You decide when and how to learn, and you can often finish your degree sooner than you would in a traditional campus based course. Call a few of these educational institutions and learn more about learning online, you may be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to get an education on any schedule these days.