Medical assistants are finding a great deal of success in the job market, but not all individuals wish to cover the clinical and administrative duties required. If you would like to work in a more specialized career, earning a degree or a certificate as an administrative medical assistant will put you on that path in a very short amount of time. With a little preparation and some forward thinking, you will also be able to leverage your future if you wish to pursue a higher position within the field. We will cover all of that information right here, so read on to learn how to make the best choices to prepare for your goals.
What is an Administrative Medical Assistant?
The key difference between a medical assistant and an administrative medical assistant, or medical administrative assistant (usually shortened to MAA) comes from training and work environment differences. As an administrative medical assistant, you will focus all of your work in the office setting, as opposed to learning office and clinical setting duties covered by medical assistants. There are a few advantages and drawbacks to taking this more specialized role, which will be covered in the next section. You will also learn a bit more about specific administration duties that will give you a better understanding of how to best handle the office and administration side of the medical facility in which you work. You may work in a medical office, hospital, dental office, or any other specialized office, and your income expectations and growth potential will vary a great deal based on these factors.
The big reason students decide to pursue the administrative side of medical assisting is the shorter length of time required to earn an education. About eight months will put you through a certification program that will let you enter the field. For example, Penn Foster Online offers a career diploma program which takes even less time, allowing you to finish in six months, and their fees are shockingly low. This is also an online program, so you won’t have to leave home to earn your degree. You will also be able to learn on your own schedule, so if you already have a busy work schedule, this type of education will help you get prepared without making a significant change to your current schedule.
Keep in mind that with specialization, you will find fewer job opportunities. In this field though, that doesn’t mean much of a decline at all. According to BLS.gov, medical assistants are experiencing a 31% growth in the field, which is much faster than average, and while administrative medical assistants are included, but not given specific numbers, you should expect plenty of open positions in your area. Medical administrative assistants also earn slightly less than medical assistants. According to indeed.com, which has the most up to date information, the average medical administrative assistant will earn around $38,000 a year, about $4,000 a year lower than medical assistants.
So Why Choose Administrative Medical Assisting?
This may not be a clear answer, considering the lower pay and more specialized skills required. There are a number of factors that lead to students pursuing this career as opposed to the medical assisting path. First, with the growth in the field, countless students are pursuing medical assistant educations, but fewer are specializing in the administrative aspect. This is understandable of course, but some employers will have specific needs for someone adept in the administrative arts of medicine. Individuals that prefer not to work with patients or worry about keeping the rooms sanitary will also find themselves much happier in the administrative position. You will also likely graduate early and start working much sooner by specializing in this path.
How do I Make Sure I’m Prepared?
First time students, and even those returning to school, often make some fairly simple, and understandable, mistakes. Discuss advancement options with the schools you are interested in attending. Find out how far up you can move within your career through their educational options, and if they don’t offer what you may want to pursue later in your career, find out what you can expect from transferring credits. A number of schools will not offer credit transfers, but as long as they offer upward mobility in your particular field, and let you leverage what you learned as you prepared for the administrative medical assistant program of your choice, there is little to worry about for your future. Focus on today, but prepare for your future and you will quickly find the perfect program for you.