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Telephone: (415) 400-5137
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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.
Guide to becoming an ophthalmic medical assistant or ophthalmic technician. It’s long been said that each person only has one set of eyes. In an effort to ensure that their eyes do indeed last a lifetime most people make a yearly trek to their ophthalmologist to have their eyesight tested.
Working in an office like this is an exciting way to earn a living. If you aren’t patient enough to attend school the required number of years to become an ophthalmologist, you may want to consider being an ophthalmic medical assistant. A person holding this position is an integral part of the eye care equation.
Becoming An Ophthalmic Technician
In order to become an ophthalmic medical assistant a person must first study to become a medical assistant. In addition, they need specific training that is related to eye health. This varies depending on state, but the additional educational requirements may take as little as six months to one year.
Upon completion of all required schoolwork, the individual is then able to write an exam that is administered by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology. It should be noted that the exam, which results in certification, isn’t mandatory, and a person can work as an assistant to an ophthalmologist with or without certification.
Job Duties and Responsibilities
After completing the necessary coursework they can then secure a position in an eye care environment. The responsibilities often delegated to an ophthalmic technician include taking the history of the patient when they first arrive at the office, perform the first series of tests before the actual examination as well as administer any eye drops or creams that the doctor prescribes or that are necessary for the examination. The assistant may also be responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of the equipment that the doctor uses during his or her examinations.
Many assistants who work in this type of environment will also find themselves taking on administrative duties including booking appointments, contacting patients for recall examinations and ordering supplies including contact lenses. The ophthalmic medical assistant is often the first person the patient sees when they enter the office.
Job Opportunities and Salary
The majority of jobs in this field are found in the offices of ophthalmologists. In addition some people find employment in nursing homes where eye care exams are taken care of on site. Some public clinics now offer free eye examinations to children, and a trained assistant would be needed in these settings too.
Earnings are very promising for anyone considering this as a career route. Starting wages generally average about $11 per hour, with increases up to the $14 per hour range. Many people who begin their careers as an ophthalmic medical assistant or ophthalmic technician actually decide to become an ophthalmic technologist. A technologist performs many of the same duties as an assistant but is also trained to use x-ray, ultrasound and photographic equipment that are used in eye care.
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.
When most people visit their doctor’s office or are taken to the hospital because of an emergency they don’t give much thought to how many competent people it takes to keep a medical office running smoothly. In addition to the physicians and registered nurses, there is also a need for support staff. One of these positions that of the administrative medical assistant is actually quite exciting and lucrative too among medical assistant jobs. It’s a great choice for someone who has an interest in medicine but also enjoys an office type environment.
As is the case with most individuals who take on the job of a medical administrative assistant, someone who holds this position in a medical office must be well-versed on computers. They will be utilizing their computer constantly throughout the day for various duties including booking appointments for patients, accessing patient information and updating patient files.
The administrative medical assistant is often looked on to also handle much of the correspondence that leaves the office. They are given notes and recordings from the doctor and are expected to transcribe and transform those into data that is either filed within a patient’s history or used as a basis for correspondence with other doctors or medical facilities. This is one of the reasons that the assistant must have a full working knowledge of many different types of software applications. They should also have training in medical transcription as well as standard dictation practices.
There is a great deal of money that comes in and leaves a doctor’s office. The administrative medical assistant must ensure that all patient billing is done correctly including preparing invoices for insurance companies as well as handling private billing matters. When an invoice is received in the office to pay for any overhead expenses or supplies, the medical assistant may very well be responsible for paying that in a timely manner. If not, they are usually expected to deliver these invoices to the accountant that is contracted to work with the doctor’s office.
Training and Experience
As the assistant gains experience and specific knowledge of the doctor they are often rewarded with a promotion to office manager. This role requires more responsibility for the administrative medical assistant, but it also comes with a higher salary.
Proper medical assistant training is necessary in both office procedures as well as basic medical terminology. Most medical assistants take a two-year course that enables them to work in an administrative capacity for a doctor. An administrative assistant in a medical office also needs some formal training on the required software applications that apply to this specific job.
Even though the doctor is often considered to be the most crucial part of a well run medical office, the administrative support staff is also crucial. They ensure that patients are seen when they need care and they handle all laboratory reports and the booking of follow-up visits too.
There are many opportunities for career advancement with online medical assistant programs. Medical assistants work in comfortable professional environments providing administrative and clinical services to patients in facilities around the country.
They perform the necessary tasks that keep these facilities operating smoothly and are considered to be a very important part of the health provider’s team.
• Organize and maintain patient files and records.
• Assist the patient in preparing insurance forms.
• Must communicate well with patients both in person and over the phone.
• Maintain organized office routine with efficient scheduling practices.
• Must understand and be able to explain treatment plans with patients.
• Task may vary depending on the particular employment setting so the ability to adapt to a variety of situations and tasks is important.
For anyone interested in becoming a part of this rapidly growing career field it is important to find a program that meets your needs. There are many online medical assistant programs that will help you meet the education requirements for this industry.
Choosing one that works well with your time limitations, family responsibilities, and financial resources will have a large influence on the student’s success in the program. Here are three schools who offer medical assistant programs:
• Kaplan University
• Allied Health Institute
• St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants
Making the decision to pursue certification should not be taken lightly. It will require the research necessary to choose a program that you feel you can be successful in and that will satisfy your needs once you are complete. It may be a good idea to research your particular area to determine the requirements for employment, then verify that the educational program you choose will satisfy these requirements.
For example, St. Augustine School of Medical Assistants is accredited by “The National Accreditation and Certification Board.” You will want to know that you will be employable by the medical providers in your area upon completion of this program.
Advantages of an online education
The expense and length of traditional university education can make continuing education difficult for some people. With the structure and format of these new types of degree programs, many people are able to meet their career goals while saving a great deal of time and money. They also provide you with the freedom to work at your own pace.
If you are in a hurry, you can really focus and complete a program in as little as 6 or 8 weeks. If you need more time, that is okay too. You set the pace and you can cover all the material without feeling the pressure of meeting deadlines.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics report that career opportunities for medical assistants will increase faster than average through 2018. This is a high growth industry and many educational programs are available to help people get their start in this career and enjoy competitive salary with job security for many years to come. A great place to start would to choose one of these online medical assistant programs.
Medical assistant schools in Texas start with Arlington Career Institute. Full time students can complete this certificate course in as little as 10 minutes yet have the skills and competence of a professional. Upon completion of the training program, graduates can take the certification exam administered by the National Association for Health Professionals and carry the credential certified medical assistant or CMA. The school is approved by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges as well as the National Health Career Association. Cisco College offers medical assisting Level I and II programs. The former is a certificate program, while the latter will award graduates an associate in applied science degree. Both prepare individuals to sit for the national certification exam. Both programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Specializations in the Level II program include medical transcription, coding and billing and medical insurance. This is on top of basic clinical and administrative assisting that is the core of the profession.
Campus Based Medical Assisting Schools in Texas
- Flexible, online and on-campus program available.
- Capstone projects and clinical practicums that can help prepare students for more career opportunities.
- Students learn from instructors with experience in the health care field.
- Programs include Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration, Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness, Master of Health Care Administration, and more.
- Medical Assisting
- BS in Health and Wellness
- Medical Billing and Coding Certificate
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Becoming a registered medical assistant is a superb career choice for people who feel a pull to help others. It’s also great for someone who wants to be a part of the medical profession, but also enjoys clerical duties. A medical assistant is someone you’ll often be greeted by when you either call or visit a doctor’s office. They are viewed as the foundation of the office, and keep all the paperwork in perfect order. In some cases they are also fundamental in helping with taking patient information as well as collecting blood and accepting lab reports.
In order to qualify, a person must either be enrolled in a program of study at a post-secondary institution or have relevant work experience. An official document is filled out when the individual decides they want to become registered to work as a medical assistant. This form is then submitted with a fee and the person, if qualification provisions are met, becomes a registered medical assistant. This document is sent to American Medical Technologists.
The portion of the application that focuses on relevant work experience is clear in its expectations. Although training as a medical assistant is not specifically required to become a registered medical assistant, the work requirements are substantial. If a person forgoes the education portion of their training to begin work right away, they will need to work at minimum for five years.
Obviously this means that they will have to wait longer to become registered than their counterparts who choose to pursue schooling as part of their training. Also, within that five year period they can’t have been employed as an instructor in a post-secondary medical assistant training program.
Passing The Exam
They will also be required to pass an examination in order to be considered as a registered medical assistant. Those applicants who have already attended medical assisting schools as an assistant will not have to complete this portion of the application.
Regardless of which qualification is met, the individual must possess a high school diploma. Proof of this will typically be required in the form of a transcript so it’s advisable that the applicant have that at the ready before beginning the initial registration process. In addition, being at least eighteen-years-old is necessary.
Also, for those applying with just relevant experience they will need their current and/ or past employers to fill out a portion of the application form. This portion details their work experience and the physician who hired them will need to complete the form by noting the dates that he or she employed the individual in the capacity of medical assistant.
Although the procedure to become a registered medical assistant may seem a bit daunting, it’s really not. It’s an important step to being recognized as a skilled professional and anyone considering entering the field should consider filling out the application.
What are the challenges in becoming a certified medical assistant? There are always a lot of concerns attached to choosing a career, so it’s important to do the right amount of research beforehand to avoid regretting your decision later on.
You need to know things like what types of schools you can get into, what the certified medical assistant job description consists of and how much a CMA makes. It’s also important to assess your personal strengths and weaknesses to ensure this is the right type of work for you so you can save time and money by not entering the wrong field. Learn everything you need to know to give yourself peace of mind and confidence to move forward with your plans.
How Can I Be Sure this Career is Right for me?
Working as a certified medical administrative assistant is not for everyone, because it will pull you in many different directions throughout the course of your day. You will be working long hours under the supervision of a physician, and be required to take on physical and emotional challenges, like helping patients and providing comfort and support.
You will need to be patient, have good communication skills and be able to handle all sorts of people and conditions. If you are capable of multitasking and enjoy a diversity of tasks in a high paced environment, then it might be suitable for you and be worth learning more about.
Is Starting My Medical Career as a Certified Medical Assistant Worth it?
Within the field of nursing, there are many levels you can reach, but they mostly require time consuming and expensive training. Instead starting out as a certified medical assistant could be the best idea for you because with less than a year of training, you can begin a career in entry level nursing, but then have the opportunity to get hands on work experience to decide if it’s worth it for you to pursue training to move up the ranks.
A CMA is known as the heartbeat of a hospital, with your hands in such a wide variety of duties that you will feel fulfilled at the end of the day, and the exposure and practice you get in this role will only better prepare you for any advancement you may consider in the future, so if you want to join nursing, it is the best place to start.
What Kind of Schools Offer the Best Programs?
How to become a certified medical assistant is the first piece of information you need to find. The best thing about working in this position is that formal training beyond having a high school diploma is not required in every state, however, although there is always a demand for medical professionals, competition is still high for the existing medical assistant jobs, so having at least a 1 year certificate behind you is becoming the norm.
Community colleges, vocational schools and even online schools offer 1 year certificate courses ranging around $2500-$4000 or 2 year associate’s degrees that will average around $5000. You will get training in physiology, anatomy, medical vocabulary, recordkeeping, accounting, lab techniques, administering medications and diagnostic procedures.
There are about 350 medical assistant programs across the country that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), which is an advantage since they will most likely include an internship, giving you the clinical experience you need. If you don’t have an internship offered, you should try to obtain hospital volunteer work to get the hands-on exposure you need.
What Will I Be Expected to Do on the Job?
The job description of a certified medical assistant can cross many areas. You will have both administrative duties and practical ones, ranging from updating patient charts, taking vital signs, educating patients, preparing them for treatments, and helping doctors conduct exams.
Furthermore, you will be responsible for taking samples for lab work, sterilizing equipment, and depending on the requirements in each state, you could also take on additional duties like administering medication, instructing patients on proper diets, taking blood samples and suturing. There is a great range of tasks to handle, which is why the right training and amount of clinical practice beforehand is essential in easing you into the work.
Is Certification Necessary or Can I Work Without it?
Nationally registered medical assistant schools will make you eligible to sit your national certified medical assistant exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or Association of Medical Technologists (AMT), but certification is not required to work in this position. Non certified medical assistants can find work, but they will not get the same opportunities as certified workers.
Having passed your licensing exam proves your capabilities and highlights your training and competence on the job, and it can boost your resume by opening more doors for you as well as giving you a higher medical assistant salary capacity, with an average range of about $25,000.
Taking the national exam will cost about $170-250, and there is also the opportunity to get a specialized certification in areas like podiatry or optometry. You will need to go through certificate verification every 5 years in order to renew it.
How Can I Be Sure to Pass the Licensing Exam?
In order to ensure success on your national exam, you should prepare in advance by take sample exam questions online. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) website offers practice tests that take you through the same format and content that you will experience on your actual test.
The website offers this service for free and consists of 50 anatomy and physiology questions as well as a medical terminology section. Additionally, you can find many textbooks that you can buy that will contain similar style exam questions so that come exam time, you feel calm and prepared.
Is Becoming an RMA the same as a CMA?
An RMA is actually a registered medical assistant, a certification offered by the AMT (American Medical Technologists), accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies, and although the job duties are essentially the same as for a CMA, it doesn’t certify you to do the work; it simply registers you in the field.
Also, although in most states both RMAs and CMAs are equally accepted, in some places like Southern California, only CMA qualifications are accepted. Be sure to look into the demands of the state you choose to work in to ensure you have the proper medical assistant training.
What Kind of Work Environment Can I Expect?
Of course hospitals offer an array of jobs for CMAs but the majority of work can be found in private offices and clinics. The environment will be very fast paced and can be hectic, so you need to be prepared for anything to be thrown at you, but the pace can be exhilarating and will never be dull or tedious.
A typical full time week is about 40 hours, but part time and evening shifts are also available for those who need more flexibility, or if you decide to keep studying while working. Your work space will always be clean and bright, but be prepared to handle stressful situations, be on the move and keep a friendly face to handle anyone who crosses your path. With this knowledge in advance, your launch into being a certified medical assistant will be painless.