Certified Medical Assistants vs Non Certified

June 21st, 2012 by admin

Medical assistants typically work in a clinic setting and perform a variety of administrative and patient care tasks. When the patient arrives at his or her appointment, it is the medical assistant who will greet the patient, take vital signs and gather information about the patient’s symptoms. This makes it possible for doctors to spend their time examining and diagnosing the patient. As a profession, medical assisting is expected to remain in high demand through at least the end of this decade.

How Does Someone Become a Medical Assistant?

Many community and career training colleges offer certificate programs in medical assisting that take approximately one year to complete. There are also two-year associate degree programs available at some colleges. Typical coursework completed during these training programs include medical office procedures, medical terminology, coding and insurance procedures, laboratory procedures, patient privacy laws, anatomy, physiology, scheduling and more. Most programs also offer an internship at the end of formal studies in order to give the student practical work experience.

Certification Through the American Association of Medical AssistantsTS - 86479693

In addition to obtaining a certificate or an associate’s degree, medical assistants have the option of becoming certified through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To become certified, the medical assistant must pass an exam at the end of his or her formal education from an accredited medical assistant school.  The student can have no felony convictions and must apply to take the certification exam 90 days in advance. The AAMA certification exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions across a wide range of subject areas. Medical assistants who wish to take the test will pay a fee of up to $250, depending on whether they are a member of AAMA or not. Medical assistants must pass the test every five years to remain certified. As a member of AAMA, medical assistants have access to continuing education, workshops and other educational opportunities.

Benefits of AAMA Certification

Once a person passes the AAMA certification exam, he or she is known as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). Some employers will only hire a CMA, while others don’t place as much emphasis on certification. A CMA may be able to advance his or her career faster than someone who is not certified. Typical career advancement for a CMA includes office manager, scheduling supervisor or other administrative support positions. If the medical assistant chooses to go on to nursing or another position within the medical field, the credits earned at an accredited college are usually transferable to a degree program.

Typical Pay for Medical Assistants with AAMA Certification

In 2011, AAMA surveyed approximately 20,000 medical assistants across the country regarding typical salary and benefits. The survey included those who had earned certification through AAMA and medical assistants who were not certified. The survey indicated that full-time medical assistants with certification earned an annual salary of $29,460, or an average of $14.94 per hour. According to the 2011 survey, medical assistants who were not certified earned an average annual salary of $26,568, or an average of $13.43 per hour. This lends credibility to the fact that certification can result in higher pay and more career opportunities. Those surveyed ranged from people new to the field to those with more than 15 years of experience. Medical assistant salary by state will vary based on experience, location, licensing, and place of business.

The AAMA also asked medical assistants what type of training they had in addition to certification. 62 percent of respondents indicated that they had a certificate or degree in medical assisting. Only 16 percent had no specific training beyond high school.

 

**Salary information is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

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