We all know that there are jobs in the medical field. But where do you fit in? There are options available other than nursing school or medical school. One great option is to train to become a certified medical assistant. Medical assistants hold a truly unique position in the medical field. Students who complete a Medical Assistant Diploma or Medical Assistant Associate Degree compose the Allied Health Field. It has an interesting and meaningful history. The Medical Assistant position was developed by doctors and the American Medical Association (AMA) to fill a role that physicians felt was specifically vital to their practices and specialties. According to American Association of Medical Assistants, “Medical assisting is one of the nation’s careers growing much faster than average for all occupations, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics” (www.aama-ntl.org). So what does the allied health field offer over the nursing and physician fields?
Areas of Opportunity for the Certified Medical Assistant
There are several advantages to pursuing a Medical Assistant career:
- Work in a specialized field
- Work daytime business hours
- Perform administrative and clinical duties
- Accelerated career training programs available
First, medical assistants are able to specialize in their field. Medical assistants work under physicians at their clinics/offices, not necessarily at the hospital or the ER; they work in the offices of primary care physicians, ophthalmologists, chiropractors, essentially every specialty. Secondly, medical assistants have the advantage of working clinic/office hours as opposed to a potentially more varied or demanding schedule at a hospital or ER (as in the nursing and physician fields), due to the fact that they often work in offices or clinics. This allows for the Medical Assistant to be present for after school activities for children and guaranteed weekends off work. This makes the Medical Assisting position a family friendly option in the medical field. Third, “medical assistants are cross-trained to perform administrative and clinical duties” (www.aama-ntl.org). This allows for broader general field of knowledge, and can lead to further career opportunities and vocational awareness. Finally, students can receive a diploma in Medical Assisting in as little as forty (40) weeks and an Associate of Applied Science degree in as a little as seventy (70) weeks. Compared to years of study to become a nurse or physician, the duration of study is exponentially shorter.
Certification is an important aspect of any Medical Assistant training program. It can be vital to obtaining desired employment and professional growth opportunities. Certification, in addition to competing a degree program over a diploma program, can improve job opportunities for students. Hospitals and health systems are accredited just as universities are. In short the more skilled/certified professionals employed help these institutions to keep and to improve their accreditation. Forging strong professional relationships, identifying local positions and needs by obtaining certification through the American Medical Technologists (https://www.americanmedtech.org), for example, can only improve professional opportunities. Certification should be considered when choosing a Medical Assisting training program, as it can lead to a successful career.
How Do I Get Started?
The medical field offers an abundance of professional opportunities, and the Medical Assisting field may be one of the most attractive options currently available: family-friendly hours, comparably short time spent in school for training, national certifications, opportunities to learn and work under doctors in a variety of specialties, performing both administrative and clinical duties or building a strong foundation of knowledge needed to obtain bachelor of science degrees in healthcare. If you want to find out more, visit the Allied Health section of our website.