Benefits of Medical Assistant Certification
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 29 percent by 2022, much faster than many other occupations. The median pay for medical assistants is about $29,000 per year, and most of these medical assistants work in physicians’ offices and other healthcare facilities doing professional, interesting work. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also found that medical assistants held about 560,800 jobs in 2012, so there are many opportunities available. While it is possible to take advantage of one of these opportunities to become a medical assistant with no more than a high school diploma, and receive on-the-job training, many employers prefer candidates who have achieved Medical Assistant Certification.
Medical Assistant Certification is a voluntary way for medical assistants to show that they have the knowledge required to meet the high standards of the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) exam is a rigorous exam that requires a thorough and broad understanding of health care delivery. The certification exam consists of questions about both clinical and administrative aspects of being a medical assistant, including such topics as anatomy and physiology, medical procedures, patient examinations, office management and procedures, and insurance processing. In order to be eligible to take the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) exam, candidates must be within a month of completing their formal education and practicum, or be no more than 60 months (5 years) past their graduation. There are medical assistant training programs that offer a certificate or diploma in as little as 9-12 months, or associate’s degrees that take up to 18-24 months to complete.
These programs are available either on campus or online, or even through hybrid programs that are a combination of on campus and online. Most of these programs require the student to complete a hands-on practicum before graduation. However, in order to be eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant exam, be sure to choose a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If you are considering a formal Certified Medical Assistant program, and are not sure of the school’s accreditation, you can check the CAAHEP and ABHES websites for listings of accredited programs in your area.
Once you have completed your medical assistant training program, you can apply to take your Certified Medical Assistant exam through the AAMA. Once your eligibility to take the exam has been verified, you can schedule your exam appointment. There are many exam preparation resources available to help you prepare for the exam. The AAMA itself offers an exam content outline, and practice tests. While the exam, which consists of 200 multiple-choice questions administered in four 40-minute segments, is somewhat challenging, students who study and prepare properly can expect to do well on the exam. Once you have completed your training and achieved Medical Assistant Certification, you will be able to add your training and certification to your resume.
Having a Medical Assistant Certification shows potential employers that you are knowledgeable, skilled, and persistent. Your resume will present you to potential employers as a highly qualified and desirable professional who will be worth their time to interview. Once you have obtained a job as a medical assistant, you will continue to reap the benefits of your training and certification. You will have the knowledge and skills you need to perform both administrative and clerical tasks in a variety of physicians’ offices and healthcare facilities. While the duties of a medical assistant vary with the location, specialty, and size of the healthcare facility, receiving high-quality and accredited training, and having the knowledge to pass the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) exam, will leave you well prepared to fulfill your duties as a medical assistant.
Also, certified medical assistants often receive a higher salary than un-certified medical assistants, and more opportunities to advance into management positions during their careers. As the baby boomer population continues to grow, and physicians find their practices expanding, medical assistants will be called on to take care of even more administrative and clinical duties in order to allow physicians to see expanded numbers of patients, providing additional opportunities. The future is bright for certified medical assistants.
With the employment of medical assistants projected to grow 29 percent by 2022, much faster than many other occupations, there will be many opportunities for certified medical assistants to find professional and interesting jobs. And those medical assistants who have achieved Medical Assistant Certification will be in the best position to be hired for the top jobs and accomplish many varied and interesting tasks. Certified medical assistants will also have the satisfaction of knowing that they make a difference in providing quality healthcare.