1. It doesn’t take long
Medical assistants are entry-level healthcare professionals. Their job largely deals with providing administrative and clerical support to healthcare facilities. While it requires some specialized knowledge, it doesn’t need years of extensive study or an aptitude for science. You can earn the credentials you need in less than a year.
2. It’s a flexible job
If you’re certified as a medical assistant in Alabama, you can work as one in California. This is a striking contrast to most medical professionals who require licenses for individual states. This geographic flexibility applies in more ways than one. As a medical assistant, you may choose to work in a hospital – but you could also opt for a private GP’s office, an outpatient surgery center, a hospice or even as a home health aide.
3. It’s got high job security
Demand for medical assistants is skyrocketing. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated a 29% job growth for medical assistants until 2026 – a significantly higher rate than most professions (the average rate being 7%). Part of the reason for this is a growing population of senior citizens who require healthcare now and in the future.
4. It’s easier than you think
Here’s a rundown of what to expect from those first steps you take to becoming a medical assistant.
First of all, you’ll take an accredited training program. (Most, but not all, employers require their medical assistants to be certified.) Look for a program that’s accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If you think you might want to work in more advanced roles later in your career, you can consider the option of a two-year associate’s degree program.
Secondly, you’ll need clinical experience. Chances are your training program will include clinical training, but you may be required to find your own internship to complete the program. Even if your program doesn’t list it as a requirement, look for internships anyway. Job experience is your best qualification for the job.
Thirdly, you’ll need to take a medical assistant certification exam to get officially certified. The most common certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) issued by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
5. It pays well
Medical assistants enjoy competitive pay throughout the country although salaries vary according to where they work. A report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that medical assistants working for outpatient care centers earned the highest salary in 2018, followed by medical assistants working in hospitals. The average median annual salary in that year was $33,610 with the top 10% annual salary being over $47,250.
6. The future is bright
We already mentioned that the projected job growth for medical assistants is 29% till 2026. New jobs are being created and many of them span across specializations. Being a medical assistant can lead you to a number of other healthcare positions including specialized medical assistant, EKG technician, phlebotomy technician and more.