As a medical assistant you already have plenty to look forward to in your career. The field is experiencing rapid growth (31% which is much faster than average), and income expectations are on the rise. There are also multiple paths medical assistants can pursue be it general medical assisting, administrative medical assisting, or clinical medical assisting. Certification and registration also increase the job prospects of those looking to make the most out of their career. So how can you leverage a registration as a medical assistant to make the most of your future, and how is it different from a certification, or just skipping it all together?
Registered vs. Certified Medical Assistants
This is the big question that comes to mind when students start to explore their options for post-graduation work towards their career. In short, there is no difference in registered or certified designations. The only reason you would be one or the other is because of where you earn your designation. The American Registry of Medical Assistants offers a registered medical assistant license which is viewed with the same respect as the certification earned from the AAMA. So you have much less to worry about when it comes to which type of designation to pursue, and have to instead look at why you would want to follow this path.
Registered vs. Non-Registered
Non-registered medical assistants earn an average income of around $43,000 a year according to indeed.com. The same site shows those with that work as registered/certified medical assistants earn a total of $52,000 a year. This is the most current information at the time of this writing, but check for yourself and see if it is different now. Employers will also be more likely to take you on as a registered medical assistant than if you were not. The registration exams are thorough and broad, and require extensive knowledge of the tasks, policies, regulations and practices that are required in your career. Earning your registration shows employers that, even without experience, you know the requirements and you are willing to put in the extra work to stay up to date on your field.
Before you earn your registration you will need to get a diploma, or degree, of some sort from a learning institution. A few things to keep in mind as you star to pursue this goal. Look for schools that specifically prepare you to take the exams offered by the ARMA or AAMA to ensure your education is working towards your goals. Don’t be afraid to look for work before your registration exam. Employers will likely assist you in earning your registration and reward you with higher income upon completion.
You should also discuss future plans with the school of your choice. Find out if they offer advanced classes, or if credits will transfer to other schools. The ultimate goal is to leave plenty of bridges open for your future if you decide to continue your education at another time.
A Few Tips
As you star to pursue your designation, you should spend some time now, learning about the requirements that you will need to meet to earn it. For example, the American Registry of Medical Assistants has a convenient page that covers everything you will need to know about the requirements to join the organizations. In most cases, you will likely pursue the CMA (AAMA) Exam, and making sure you are prepared is key. Explore the information that is provided through their site to learn more about how to make sure you are ready to earn your certification or registration. Keep in mind that the designation you earn is going to vary based on location and a few other factors, but registered and certified medical assistants are viewed the same, with slightly different names.