TouchStone Enterprises, LLC
101 California Street Suite 1920
San Francisco, CA 94111
Telephone: (415) 400-5137
Email: [email protected]
Why was the radiology assistant position created? Prior to 2002, there was only the position of radiologic technologist and radiology technicians, aside from the licensed radiologist, as part of the diagnostic imaging team. As the population continued to age and technological advancements to diagnose medical conditions increased, job opportunities grew. Yet, the number of workers dropped. It was an industry concern that needed to be addressed quickly.
How Much Can you Earn?
Technicians in the field of radiology felt there was little chance of advancement in their career. This was the primary reason why they searched for better opportunities in the health care field, in particularly training to become a nurse practitioner or a physician assistant. Learning new imaging modalities was the only kind of advancement offered but in terms of progressing to a higher level of responsibilities, there was little growth possibilities.
Thus was born the radiology assistant. These professionals are trained to work more closely with the radiologist, and aside from assisting with more advanced imaging procedures, are also trained to make preliminary observations on images taken, although not on an official capacity. Instead, they prepare the reports stating the quality of images, their observations, and offering possible treatment, which help the radiologist tremendously in his job.
The advanced level of duties and responsibilities also gave them recognition for their abilities and capabilities as a member of the diagnostic imaging team, including better compensation. Today, the average radiology assistant salary is $95,000 to $100,000. At the entry level, they can make a minimum of $80,000.
Who Can Become a RA?
The minimum eligibility requirements to become a radiology assistant come in the form of training and experience. To qualify for an advance level position, you need specialized education. So the first thing required for admission into any of the radiology assistant programs in a university or college is work experience as a radiologic technologist — at least for one year. This means you already have prior training to have qualified for the job and are a registered radiologic technologist (RRT).
With the experience component complied with, you then need to complete at least a bachelors degree program in radiology assistance from any of the accredited radiology assistant schools. The American Registry of Radiology Technologists is very specific that the curriculum includes a certain number of didactic and clinical training that must be completed. Clinical components must be supervised by a radiologist mentor/preceptor. More importantly, a student is required to maintain, during the entire training, a portfolio that documents all competencies and experiences.
The culmination of your educational preparation is the five-hour exam administered by the ARRT to become a registered radiology assistant. Ace this and you’re ready to be the right hand man of the radiologist, working in a hospital, private clinic and other medical facilities.
What Are your Tasks as a Radiology Assistant?
In your new position, you still get to do things you performed as radiologic technologist, including preparing patients for diagnostic imaging procedures and explaining it to them. Positioning, manipulating and actually operating the equipment are still your job. But this time, you are called to do more, sometimes just supervised by the radiologist or assisting him directly. And you are now tasked to prepare reports for patients following each procedure.
The importance of your role in the team cannot be overemphasized, particularly because it lessens the burden on the primary physician. So it is critical that you are able to work individually and as a team player, are organized and detail-oriented, and have excellent communication skills to help put patients at ease.
Whether you are looking at the xray of a lung, observing septal thickening or seeing nodules, the complexity of your responsibilities has increased. But you are guaranteed both the respect and proper remuneration as a professional and your invaluable contribution to health care because of what you do. If you want to take the next step in diagnostic imaging, then consider becoming a radiology assistant.
Would you want to put your office skills to use in a medical or health care setting? Then you’ll probably make a good medical office assistant. In the allied health care industry, there are just as many in demand jobs that won’t require you to handle patients other than make them feel comfortable when they come in for an appointment and take care of their paperwork after. Yet you are an essential part of the health team because someone has to take charge of the office work.
The Medical Office Assistant Job Description
Physicians, podiatrists, chiropractors, dentists and medical clinics have most need for the services of a medical office assistant or medical administrative assistant. Medical assisting functions vary depending on the size of your workplace.
The smaller the workplace, the more versatile you are required to be meaning you may be taking on clinical tasks aside from handling administrative or clerical chores. You can learn on the job or get formal training. Some start out as a straight medical office assistant performing front office work, but eventually find the back office work just as interesting and train for that as well.
An education, even a short-term course, will be to your advantage because many medical assistant programs teach more than just office work. You will have an overview of the medical and health care industry, including medical terminology and clinical tasks such as taking vital signs or even using the electrocardiograph (EKG), one of the simplest equipment used in diagnosis.
The kind of work required of you will determine your salary, as well as the size of your organization and location. But you can expect a medical office assistant salary range of $19,000 to $24,000 with less than a year of experience. The more skills you have, the better your chances at advancement as a medical office assistant, including becoming an office manager in the future.
Requirement For Medical Office Assistant Jobs
Having general office skills is the most essential for a medical office assistant. You can take up these courses, along with keyboarding or computer classes, and some science subjects like health, biology, physiology and anatomy as early as high school. Your position demands that you have above average skills in typing, computer work, organizing and filing because these are your primary tasks. You may also be required to do medical transcription or transfer medical charts to digital files. Bookkeeping skills are also an advantage.
You may or may not do reception work, but it is a plus if you have good communication skills. A doctor’s appointment can often be a stressful time for patients so it will be a big help to make them feel at ease before they begin their consultations.
What Training Will You Need?
Decide if you will pursue a certificate program, which can be completed between nine to 12 months, or an associate degree program that runs for two years. The former will teach you the basics about medical assisting, especially the clerical and administrative work.
You will learn office practices, transcription, insurance processing, record keeping and even medical billing and coding, patient relations, medical law and ethics. The associate program will include laboratory techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, pharmaceutical principles, medication administration, and first aid. Get as much experience during your internship or externship, which should give you an actual feel for the job.
Where To Get Your Degree?
You have a choice from vocational or technical schools, community colleges or colleges and universities to get your training. You may also opt for traditional classroom instruction or take online medical assistant programs. As long as they are accredited medical assistant schools and programs, you are assured of standard quality training. Accrediting bodies are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
Should You Become Certified?
Though not necessarily a requirement for employment, you have an edge over the competition if you pass the national medical office assistant certification exam and become a certified medical assistant.
A medical office assistant job may start out as routine but over time and with enough experience, you may discover even bigger career opportunities including becoming a medical professional yourself.
Medical assisting schools are thriving. Medical professionals are in high demand There never seems to be enough doctors or nurses or medical assistants. For someone interested in entering the medical field who doesn’t have the drive to become a nurse or a doctor, going to medical assistant schools to become a medical assistant is ideal for them.
Although the position doesn’t pay as well as a registered nurse, it does come with a nice salary as well as a lot of personal reward. Caring for patients on a daily basis, in addition to ensuring the medical office is well run is often the job of the doctor’s assistant. In order to qualify for one of these lucrative and exciting positions an individual first needs to train at one of the medical assistant schools found in their state.
Medical Assistant Schools By State
How to Obtain your Accreditation from Medical Assisting Schools
No matter where you are it is essential that you enrol for your medical assistant training at a accredited school – if you want to get your certification. The accrediting bodies are Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
How Long Will it Take To Complete a Degree?
The length of time you will be required to be in school depends largely on the scope and depth of the course materials. Certificate and diploma programs, available at career and community colleges or any medical assisting schools generally take 9 months-to-1 year to complete.
The more comprehensive Associate’s degree programs last 2 years. If you are planning to advance your career with a Bachelor’s or Masters degree later on, an Associate’s degree is the right choice for you. These medical assistant programs are also availabe at online medical assistant schools. Provided the school is accredited, online medical assistant programs may extend your studies to more than 2 years.
What Courses Are Covered by Medical Assistant Schools?
There are a lot of areas of study that must be covered in order for someone to become a certified medical assistant. In most cases, if the individual wants to have the ability to not only handle billing and clerical duties, but also be involved directly in the patient’s care, they need to enroll in a comprehensive training course.
These medical assistant courses include human anatomy, first aid, pharmacology, physiology, laboratory techniques, medical billing and insurance coding, medication administration, terminology, record keeping and accounting, patient interaction. One of the core responsibilities of an assistant to a doctor is patient interaction. Even in an office where the assistant is restricted to answering calls and booking appointments, they are still going to be speaking directly with patients.
Therefore it’s important that they understand how best to deal with particular situations including pressing medical issues. The insurance billing procedures are also vitally important to the smooth operation of the doctor’s office. Many assistants are solely responsible for this task, and in order to perform it efficiently they will receive training while in medical assisting schools.
Some of the more demanding responsibilities of the job can include taking patient histories as well as talking to them when they first arrive at the office and gathering their vital signs. This is all taught in detail during the training period and once the person completes the course they will feel comfortable interacting with patients in this way.
How Do you Become Certified?
A test must be passed before certification is granted, so it’s advisable that the medical assistant complete that as soon as his/her studies at any medical assisting schools are completed. American Association of Medical Assistants awards the Certified Medical Assistant credential. American Medical Technologists (AMT) awards the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential. AMT is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) and is the only medical assistant certification program accredited by NCCA.
American Association of Medical Assistants, 20 North Wacker Drive Ste 1575, Chicago, IL 60608, http://www.aama-ntl.org Registered Medical Assistants of American Medical Technologists, 710 Higgins Road, Park Ridge, IL 60069, http://www.amt1.com Once the test has been passed, they can then start applying for positions. Although some people suggest working in a private practice first as a way to ease into the demands of the profession, it’s really a personal decision.