Medical assistants are enjoying an alarming growth rate in their industry. As our population increases, and many age, the need for talented professionals in the medical sector is benefiting from increased need. With that said, there are numerous paths that can be taken as a medical professional, and medical assistants have the benefit of entering their career faster than just about any educated individual in the medical profession. With an expected growth of 29% through 2022 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, you can rest assured that your education will lead to a highly rewarding career in no time at all. In addition, a few considerations, such as registration, will be discussed in this article.
Becoming a Medical Assistant
Entering the field of medical assisting is likely easier than you expected. Many programs can be completed in as little as 9 months to a year. If you wish to pursue an associate’s degree in medical assisting, expect 18 months to two years to reach that goal. The shorter education will award you a certificate or diploma, but don’t confuse this certificate program as a way to become a certified or registered medical assistant.
Your education will also include an externship which will ensure that you are able to get some real world experience on your resume before you officially graduate. With that coming down the line, it is also prudent that you start looking for ways to earn experience as soon as possible. You will likely find entry level positions in a clinic that can give you some real world experience while you are attending school. To balance the heavier schedule that you have to worry about, consider attending online degree programs. More information can be found about these programs through the schools that offer them. For example, Midway College offers a 100% online associate’s degree in medical assisting. There are plenty of colleges, trade schools, universities and community colleges that offer online programs, so do some research to find the right one for you.
Becoming a Registered Medical Assistant
Many students graduate and enter their career without ever looking at what else is available. While this is not the worst way to go, there is a great deal of money left on the table by not considering becoming a registered medical assistant. As a registered medical assistant, or RMA, you show employers that you have a much deeper understanding of the industry and the duties that must be performed. This allows you to command a higher wage, averaging around $62,000 a year, versus the $43,000 a year a non-registered medical assistant will earn.
Your salary will be dependent upon your experience, education, employer, location and local demand, so keep the information discussed in the previous section in mind. Your salary will only be helped by bringing more experience to the table. As you work towards a registration, there is one particular site you will need to become familiar with; The American Registry of Medical Assistants. Explore this site in depth to learn everything you need to know about preparing and taking the exam. Your school will also do a great deal to help you prepare through your education.
Differences Concerning Registration and Certification
As you do your research and prepare to pursue your registration, you will see plenty of certification information as well. You are likely going to be curious as to which is the better choice for your personal needs. The short answer is; either. There is not a correct designation to pursue and in most cases, employers won’t care which you hold. Talk with local employers to see if they have a preference to make sure, but you will be able to earn a solid living and reap the same benefits regardless of the designation your pursue. The real difference in the two is the exam, and the association you belong to. Explore the American Association of Medical Assistants website as well, as they offer the certified medical assistant exam, so that you can decide which association is right for your personal needs. Making the right choice is less about making sure you have the right designation and more about making sure you earn any designation. It does require a little more work, but the benefits are substantial.