If you’re thinking about becoming a medical assistant or exploring different jobs in the medical field, learn about being a medical assistant and more in this helpful guide.
What is a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants perform various tasks to help a physician’s day run more smoothly. Although a medical assistant’s duties can vary depending on what type of office he or she works in, most tasks include: – Answering phone callsÂ – Updating patient records – Handling bill payments – Preparing patients for examinations – Checking blood pressure and other vital signs before the doctor’s examination – Helping the physician during a procedure Both administrative and clinical responsibilities are assigned to medical assistants.
Why Become a Medical Assistant?
Becoming a medical assistant has many benefits to it. One of them is that there is always a high demand for healthcare workers, which can mean that a medical assistant has a high chance of getting a job after completing certification or training. Another great benefit is that training to become a medical assistant takes only one or two years to complete; a certification or associate’s degree is required to become an official medical assistant. You also increase your chances of being paid a higher wage when you have a certification or associate’s degree, showing that you have been trained properly as a medical assistant. As a medical assistant, you can choose the type of office or hospital you want to work at; this also gives you the chance to enhance your medical abilities and knowledge while on the job. An important benefit of being a medical assistant is that you get the joy and pleasure of helping both doctors and patients.Â
Online Medical Assistant Programs
There are several online programs that can help you on your medical assistant career path. Listed here are the top four online medical programs that you can attend to receive medical assistant certification:
Herzing University’s online medical program offers two types of certification: a diploma and an associate’s degree. For the diploma program, students can finish their studies between 12 to 20 months. The associate’s degree program takes 16 to 24 months to complete, which is longer compared to the diploma program.Â
At Kaplan University, an online program is available for students who are aspiring to become medical assistants. The program consists of three clinical competency courses that prepare students for the responsibilities of a medical assistant.Â
Originally a school for business, Harrison College has expanded and included other academic specializations, from healthcare to criminal justice. Harrison College’s renowned online medical assistant program takes two years to complete, and students complete 96 credits to become full-fledged medical assistants. Through this program, students learn how to properly handle laboratory tests, check vital signs and other various procedures.Â
Ultimate Medical Academy
Ultimate Medical Academy offers a complete online program for students who are pursuing a career as a medical assistant. This associate’s degree program lasts for 61 to 96 weeks, and students need to earn 60 credits before they can receive their degree. Each online course in the program lasts for five weeks, which allows students to quickly graduate with an associate’s degree. Ultimate Medical Academy even provides alumni support to help students who have graduated find medical assistant jobs more easily.Â
How to Choose the Best Online Medical Assistant School
With many top-notch online medical assistant programs, it can be hard to choose which school is the best for you. Learn to pick the best online medical assistant school for you with these simple tips:
1. When you research for online medical assistant schools, be sure to check for each school’s accreditation. You want to know that the school is accredited so that you know a school is following educational standards set by the National Educational Association. Accreditation also helps you know if you will be provided with the right education and certification you need to become a medical assistant.Â
2. Read through course descriptions because they can help you decide if you are interested in the program. This can also help you take a deeper look at what type of education a medical assistant needs and see if you’re still interested in becoming one.
3. Tuition is a major factor in deciding which online program you want to participate in, so check how much tuition is for each online medical assistant school. You should also see if they offer financial aid and scholarships to help you pay the tuition.
4. See if the online medical assistant school has demo courses that you can watch. This can give you an insight into how the program teaches students.Â
5. If you have previous college experience, make sure to check if the online schools you’re interested in accepts transferred credits. By doing so, you can cut down your time studying to obtain medical assistant certification and graduate sooner.Â
For certified medical assistants, the average salary is $29,460; the average hourly wage is about $14 per hour for a medical assistant. After more years of work experience, medical assistants can see an increase in salary; the highest salary amount that a medical assistant can be paid is approximately $40,000.Â
According to theÂ Bureau of Labor Statistics, from 2012 to 2022, the job outlook for medical assistant will increase 29 percent. This is due to more people from the baby boomer generation needing medical care as they age, which encourages physician practices to expand in order to accept more patients.
Since medical assistants acquire the basic knowledge and skills for their job, it’s easy to find opportunities to advance in their career. By being behind the scenes in a private practice or hospital and gaining experience as a medical assistant, you can find many ways to advance in your medical career. Advancement opportunities for medical assistants include:
Â» Office manager for a private practice
Â» Physician assistant
Â» Lead medical assistant
Â» Healthcare administrator