Are you aiming to find employment in the allied healthcare service without the long years of technical training? Have you heard that the medical assistant salary can be quite comfortable?
The medical assistant profile
Medical assistant jobs do not do the same tasks as medical professionals in spite the position. In fact, the most medical task they usually perform is draw blood from a patient, if he was trained to do this. Otherwise, it’s just taking vital signs and prepping patients for their examinations.
Of course, the responsibilities may vary depending on the specialization of the clinic or physician you work for. Your tasks as medical assistant are divided into two categories: the clerical or administrative functions and the clinical functions.
The simplest clerical tasks include scheduling appointments, organizing patient records and files, and answering office phones. The more complex administrative functions will be maintaining medical records, insurance billing and coding, which require special knowledge and skills. Bigger offices may have separate personnel to handle these tasks.
If you also handle clinical functions, these usually involving taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examinations, especially if these include special tests, extracting blood (if you are also a certified phlebotomist) and administering medication if these are needed.
The more duties and responsibilities assigned to you, the higher your medical assistant salary. Ideally.
If you’re in a hurry to begin working, you can opt for a medical assistant diploma or certificate program that can be completed between nine months to one year. The course work is a combination of administrative as well as patient care and medical skills.
Typically it includes human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, first aid, clinical and diagnostic procedures, laboratory techniques, pharmacology and medication administration, on one hand, and office practices, computer applications, record-keeping and accounting, medical billing and insurance coding, medical laws and ethics and patient relations on the other.
Aside from classroom instructions or course modules, if you were taking up any online medical assistant programs, you are required to undergo internship for actual hands-on experience. This may be done in a hospital, clinic or other medical facility where you get to put into practice all that you learned in class to become a confident professional.
While certification after graduating from any medical assisting schools is not a requirement before you can start working, it definitely increases your chances not only for employment but also in earning a higher medical assistant salary. Consider that at entry level, the salary range is from $19,798 to $31,776.
Where you fall under will depend on factors such as workplace, location (California rates are different from the wages in Florida), and education, aside from actual duties and responsibilities. Presently, the national pay range for medical assistants is at $22,835 to $31,215 and the median hourly rate is $10.80 to $14.52.
A degree makes a difference
How can you position yourself to receive a higher end of the pay scale even with less than a year of experience? Take the more intensive medical assistant training and earn an associate degree. That means two years of schooling, but the extra time will be well worth it.
Investing a little longer on your education will equip you with additional skills, give you more time for internship, and ultimately gain you leverage for higher wages.
Yes, your medical assistant salary can actually improve by more than $10,000 if you held an associate degree in medical assisting as opposed to just completing a diploma course. Become certified and you boost your pay even more. The certified medical assistant salary could mean a couple of thousand more.
The longer training will result to more skills and added certification (phlebotomy, ECG technology, CPR certification) that will raise your market value in the work place. And when your employer realizes how much you can be an asset in the organization, then you can be certain your medical assistant salary is not going to be at the lower end of the scale.