a career in the medical field, but don’t want to have an extended
amount of time schooling? Want to serve patients, but prefer
administrative duties to hands-on duties?
Training to become a medical administrative assistant could be the answer to your career goals.
A career as a medical administrative assistant can open up new doors for you. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistant career is among the top fastest growing occupations.
Medical administrative assistants are the first faces of medical facilities. Keep reading to know the role of a medical administrative assistant, their working environment, salary scale, and what it takes to become one.
Who is a Medical Administrative Assistant?
A medical administrative assistant performs clerical work in a hospital, clinics, or healthcare center, providing support to both colleagues and patients. The assistants ensure successful operations of health facilities by handling office tasks, organizing procedures, completing care instructions, among others.
How to Become a Medical Administrative Assistant
don’t require many years of schooling to become a medical
administrative assistant. Compared to physicians or nurses, medical
assistants don’t need much education.
There are many medical assistant programs. Some dwell more on laboratory work, while others offer clinical practice. Other programs teach administrative duties and less medical duties.
There is a significant variation in the programs. You need to know the difference before choosing your preferred program. However, all programs should include:
- Medical billing and coding
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical ethics and laws
- Medical terminology
- Computer applications
- Clinical laboratory procedures
You have two options if you want to become a certified medical administrative assistant.
- One year of certification at a technical school or community college.
- Earn an associate’s degree from an accredited medical school. This may take up to two years of study.
schools and community colleges rarely offer online programs. With
advanced technology, however, some colleges are offering medical
administrative assistant courses online.
You can also get course study materials and practice examinations online. Don’t forget to check the credibility of your online sources and programs.
Becoming a Medical Administrative Assistant
Are you ready to start your medical administrative assistant career journey? If so, follow the steps below.
1. Obtain a High School Diploma
must have a high school diploma to qualify for a medical assistant
certification program. Do well in subjects like mathematics,
office skills, and typing. They’ll be of great help in the office
Computer skills are essential since medical records are electronic. You can also consider taking health and biology classes for basic medical knowledge.
2. Gain Experience
can get a job as an administrative medical assistant with a high
school diploma only. However, many employers opt for an employee with
a degree in the field.
Gain experience from experienced workers through an on-the-job-training program in an entry-level position. You can also work as a volunteer in any medical facility to familiarize with the medical environments and office procedures.
3. Join an Institution for Formal Training
Enroll in a formal training program for a certificate or degree in medical administration. Both certificate and degree levels offer courses in:
- Medical computer systems
- Medical insurance billing
- Healthcare compliance law
You may also get an internship opportunity and gain experience before graduation.
4. Get Licensed
Healthcare Association gives a Certified Medical Administrative Assistant credential every
year to qualified individuals.
Certification is not a mandatory requirement to work as a medical assistant. However, a certified medical administrative assistant finds a job quickly.
5. Job Searching
for a job in private physicians’ offices, private and public
hospitals, and outpatient and inpatient facilities. You can also try
your luck in podiatrists, optometrists and chiropractors’ offices.
Your chances of getting a job are higher if you’ve professional certification, formal training, or prior experience.
Medical Administrative Assistant Certification
can get a medical administrative assistant certification through
online training programs or vocational schools. The certification
programs cover all essentials in the medical assistant field within
six to twelve months.
Students learn more on medical terminologies and abbreviations, and functions of medical facilities. They also gain an in-depth understanding of the guidelines and regulations used in processing health care information. Coding, radiology, and phlebotomy are also part of the program.
With a two year Associates Degree in Applied science, you are fit for an administrative medical assistant job. It becomes easier to pass a nationally recognized exam after completing the certification course.
After passing the exam, students receive a certification certificate. It remains valid for the next 60 months. Additional education through general medical and clinical courses keeps the certificate valid.
hard to give an accurate cost figure. Tuition fees vary in different
colleges and technical institutions. Also, there are additional
costs, such as medical insurance, upkeep costs, travel, and books,
Generally, tuition fee alone ranges from $1200 to $4200. More money is paid for an associate degree since the course is in-depth and more extended. International students pay more tuition fees as well.
A full program can cost up to 10,000 dollars.
are grants and scholarships offered for the certified medical
administrative assistant course. Beneficiaries must meet specific
requirements such as financial background, ethnicity, age, and
gender. However, scholarships cover a percentage of the program cost
and not the full amount.
If you want a scholarship, research on what is available in your state. Scholarships are not always available, but they reduce the program cost significantly.
Working as a Certified Medical Assistant
mentioned earlier, the medical administrative assistant profession is
growing fast. The population and medical workforce are aging. Health
facilities will soon absorb more medical assistants.
As a medical administrative assistant, you’ll have both administrative and clinical duties. In most cases, you’ll be the first faces patient meet when they enter a healthcare facility or doctor’s office. Your duties will include:
- Filling patients records
- Scheduling appointments
- Filling in patients’ medical information in the medical database
- Coding medical records
- Filling in insurance forms
- Ordering laboratory tests
Earnings highly depend on the industry and employer. The average pay, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, is 33,610 dollars per year. Workers in the District of Columbia and Alaska receive the highest pay.
Perks of Becoming a Medical Administrative Assistant
Medical assistant career isn’t for everyone. However, if you find it appealing, you will enjoy numerous benefits.
1. Few Months of Schooling
Unlike other medical related courses that take several years, completing a medical assistant program takes a shorter period. An associate program can take 18 months while a diploma program takes approximately 12 months.
2. You can Work in Different Fields
Medical assistant jobs are not limited to hospitals. You can work in a chiropractor’s office, clinic’s oncology department, and as part of general practice. There are also vacancies in nursing homes.
3. You will Relate with Patients Positively
you are the kind of person who loves to help, you will love all
aspects of this career. Medical assistants build relationships with
their patients in the course of duty.
You get a chance to direct patients, ask questions, and engage in conversations that turn meaningful.
4. You Will Work in a Team
Medical assistants work alongside nurses and physicians. You will get a chance to consult, and your colleagues will rely on you too. You build trust as you work together.
5. You can Work in Different States
A certification certificate remains valid in all states. On the contrary, Licenses are only valid in one state.
6. Good Salary
Working in the medical field provides both job security and a good salary. Earnings depend on job location and cost of living. As your experience increases, your potential to make more money also increases.
to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there might be a 29% increase in medical
assistant jobs by 2026. This growth is faster compared to the 7% average growth for
Health facilities are hiring more medical assistants after realizing how useful they are in their wide range of skills. For a cost-conscious facility, hiring one individual who can handle different duties is more economical.
8. You can be a Generalist or a Specialist
administrative assistants can handle many duties, but they don’t
have to. You can fit in a small clinic if you love working in
different areas. Also, you’ll understand the medical field more
when you handle a variety of activities.
If you prefer specializing in a few tasks, you can work in a larger medical facility with more staff. The environment will allow you to focus on one department of your choice.
9. You Will Gain Work Experience Before Graduation
colleges require medical assistant students to complete an externship
or internship program before graduating. Although the program is
unpaid, you get a chance to showcase your skills and build a good
reputation that may earn you a future job offer.
The experience earned is an addition to your resume and makes your job search easier.
to become a medical administrative assistant? Follow this step by
step guide and achieve your career goals.
Health care industry offers stable employment and numerous new opportunities for critical personnel. Pursuing a short online course is the ideal path to achieve your goal.
Visit the career section of our blog for more information on medical-related careers.