The Various Degrees in Healthcare

November 27th, 2012 by admin

The healthcare industry is a field that has a wide range of education levels within its workforce. Education in healthcare can range from on the job training to graduate school. Listed below are the various degrees found in healthcare and the requirements for each.

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Certification for Nursing Assistants

For those wishing to enter the healthcare field, a job as a nursing assistant is a standard point of entry. Many hospitals and facilities offer on site training for the skills required for the job and can offer certification if a competency exam is passed. Nursing assistants are in high demand and perform a variety of patient care tasks, including assisting with activities of daily living.

Certification for Medical Assistants

Medical assistants are graduates of a specialized program offered at medical training schools or private community colleges. Educational programs typically last for 12 to 18 months and certification can be obtained upon graduation from an approved course and passing a national certification exam. Medical assistants are primarily utilized in outpatient clinics and primary care offices.

Licensed Practical Nursing

A Licensed Practical Nurse, frequently called an LPN, is a graduate of a 24 to 36 month program and has obtained a license for practical nursing within the state of employment. LPNs work in conjunction with Registered Nurses and perform a wide variety of patient care tasks. LPNs can practice in a wide variety of areas, including physician offices, nursing homes, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, and surgical centers.

Registered Nursing

There are three degree routes for those wishing to pursue a career as a Registered Nurse. Diploma programs are offered by hospitals and smaller colleges for those who have taken prerequisite courses and wish to learn at an accelerated rate. Diploma programs are usually completed within 24-36 months and is a way to bypass attending a major college or university. An Associate’s Degree is a two year college degree that allows those with prerequisites completed to enter a nursing program and graduate within two years. A Bachelor’s Degree is awarded upon completion of a four year nursing program at a major college or university. Regardless of the type or duration of the educational program, graduates of all three listed above are eligible to take the same National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and receive the same Registered Nurse licensure in the state of practice. Registered Nurses have the ability to practice in all major hospitals, medical facilities, surgical centers, and private duty nursing areas. There are also opportunities outside of patient care, such as case management, clinical education, infection prevention, and legal nursing consultation.

Advanced Practice Registered Nursing

For Registered Nurses wishing to pursue higher education, the Master’s Degree program for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) is the next step in the educational ladder. A Bachelor’s degree is required for entry to the program, which lasts 24 months. APRNs have the ability to practice independently under the supervision of a physician in the particular field of practice.

Doctorate of Medicine

The highest level of education that can be obtained in the healthcare field is the Doctorate of Medicine. This program typically lasts 4 to 5 years and is an intense, fast paced educational and skill practicing curriculum. Upon graduation from these programs, which are offered through major colleges and universities, individuals can become board certified and practice medicine in virtually any type of medical setting, ranging from primary care and prevention to surgery and critical care medicine.

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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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Conrad Murray’s Peers Offer No Support

October 19th, 2011 by admin


Courtesy via Flickr

In a trial of particular interest to students at medical assistant schools and medical assistant colleges, Michael Jackson’s personal doctor, Conrad Murray, came under fire from his peers in court on Wednesday. The prosecution called two medical experts, Alon Steinberg and Nader Kamangar, who testified that Murray’s conduct violated the standards of care imposed by law on medical professionals. The two experts agreed that Murray’s conduct was “unconscionable” and incomprehensible.

Murray is standing trial as a result of his handling of the death of pop star Michael Jackson, who was Murray’s only patient at the time. Jackson, age 50, died on June 25, 2009. Authorities concluded that Jackson’s death was caused by an overdose of propofol, a surgical anesthetic, and claim that the drug was administered by Murray. Murray has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and has pleaded not guilty.

Murray’s defense team has now abandoned what was once the cornerstone of their case: that Jackson’s death could have resulted from the singer swallowing additional doses of propofol on his own accord while Murray was out of the room. Murray’s defense team now concedes that, in keeping with studies introduced into evidence by the prosecution, swallowing the medication would have had, at most, minimal effects.

Murray told police shortly after the singer’s body was found that, after he administered the additional dose, he had left the room for a few minutes to find a restroom. According to Murray, Jackson was no longer breathing when he returned. Prosecution experts, however, vigorously attacked Murray’s decision to leave his patient unattended. Steinberg stated that it is improper to leave a patient under the influence of propofol unattended, comparing it to a mother walking out of a room and leaving an infant crawling on a countertop. Kamangar asserted that Murray violated a fundamental precept of the Hippocratic oath by abandoning his patient, an oath graduates of medical assistant schools and medical assistant colleges are trained to follow.

Murray also endured harsh criticism for his failure to promptly call 911 after discovering that Jackson was in distress. According to statements Murray made to the police, he noticed that Jackson had stopped breathing at approximately noon, but 911 dispatch records show that he did not call for assistance until 12:20. Once the call was placed, the paramedics responded quickly, arriving at the scene six minutes later.

Addressing the delay, Steinberg testified that professional guidelines allow only two minutes to assess a situation like the one that faced Murray in Jackson’s bedroom. Steinberg went on to state that if Murray had immediately called 911, paramedics could have treated Jackson with oxygen and saved his life. Steinberg expressed shock and indignation at Murray’s disregard for the well-being of his patient. On cross-examination, Steinberg was adamant that Murray’s conduct was criminal, flatly contradicting Murray’s claim that he only administered 25 milligrams of propofol. Based on his review of Murray’s statements to the police, Steinberg testified that Murray must have given Jackson a continual dose through an I.V. drip.

Prosecution experts also criticized Murray’s use of propofol to treat insomnia, stating that surgical anesthetics are not an approved treatment for insomnia in the United States, and that it is improper to prescribe medications with such strong addictive tendencies without obtaining a detailed history. Both Steinberg and Kamangar testified that Murray is responsible for Jackson’s death even if the singer took the drugs himself, as Murray would have been able to anticipate and prevent the problem if he had conducted a proper history.

Murray’s license has been suspended awaiting the outcome of the trial.

Feel strongly about Murray’s conduct? Maybe you’d be interested in learning more about medical assistant colleges. Begin your college search at US College Search or find us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also start searching by zip code.

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What Previous Experience Do I Need To Become A Medical Assistant?

May 10th, 2011 by Dustin

Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing occupations in the nation. And becoming a medical assistant can offer you a significant career boost.

Do I need Medical Assisting Experience?

To briefly explain what is involved in being a medical assistant and how a person can become one, you must first know that medical assistant degree programs require no previous experience in the healthcare industry. Students will learn everything they need to know once they enroll in the program.

A medical assistant is responsible for performing administrative or clinical functions that aid in day-to-day operations of health care facilities. Medical assistants work directly with patients and they can learn skills designed to help them advance their career in healthcare.

Medical Assistant Schools Will Work with Your Schedule

Earning a degree in medical assisting is made simpler because many programs are tailored to fit the needs of the students. There are programs that can fit any schedule, no matter what employment situation an individual student is in at the time they enroll in the program.

In many places, new medical assistants are offered complete on-the-job training that is designed to catch them up to speed on exactly what their job duties entail. Medical assisting will continue to see major growth through the next decade and if you are interested in a career as a medical assistant go to and search by location or degree type.

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What To Expect As A Medical Assistant

May 10th, 2011 by Dustin

As a nurse assistant, you will learn many new procedures in the healthcare industry. Here we learn how to obtain throat and wound swabs from patients. As a medical assistant performing a throat swab you will first need to gather all supplies such as sterile gloves, tongue depressors, sterile swabs in transport containers, separate specimen transport bags, and the required bio-hazard disposal bags. Each patient’s medical records and a standard lab requisition form should also be kept out for easy reference and to confirm that the necessary procedure was performed.

The Process and Work of a Medical Assistant

Before swabbing the throat, the medical assistant needs to wash his or her hands, put on exam gloves, and confirm what the procedure entails with the patient. When taking a throat swab, the medical assistant is reminded to take care not to touch any other part of the mouth such as the tongue or teeth with the sterile swab.

Taking swabs from a wound requires a few more supplies including sterile gauze pads. Any dressing should first be removed from the wound and discarded in the bio-hazard bag. The end of a swab should be carefully rotated over a wound’s surface to pick up any exudates. The medical assistant should also inspect the wound’s appearance for any noticeable signs of infection such as redness or swelling.

Just as with a throat swab, the wound swab should be carefully placed in its sterile container and then sealed in a transport bag for lab testing. Each swab container also has an outer label that should be clearly marked with the patient’s name and other needed information. If you are interested in performing duties like swabbing patient’s throats — a career as a nurse assistant might be perfect for you. To get started, go to and search by location or for Medical Assistant degree.

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What is the role of a Medical Assistant?

May 5th, 2011 by Dustin

A brief overview of a medical assistant’s duties can help those seeking a new career in healthcare. First, you need to determine if medical assisting is a field they might want to pursue. Tasks usually assigned to medical assistants as well as what type of school should be sought and the length of time it takes to complete schooling are topics covered in this video.

For those who enjoy working with people and gain satisfaction from helping others, medical assisting may be a career to consider. Medical assistants usually work in individual doctors’ offices greeting patients, performing basic checks of vitals and recording data in medical files. They must be able to communicate well, convey sympathy and understanding toward patients and work in an organized manner when managing patient files. The support that medical assistants provide to nurses and physicians is invaluable as an efficient medical assistant can become the backbone of a busy, but well-run office. Anyone who is motivated by a desire to excel in a supporting role may wish to learn more about medical assisting.

One could work as a medical assistant as their primary focus, or obtain these beginning skills which would allow them to work in the healthcare industry while pursuing further studies toward a nursing or medical degree. This video is a good, basic introduction to a career as a medical assistant, which can lead the viewer to determine whether more research on this career is worthwhile. If you are interested in a career as a Medical Assistant go to USCollegeSearch and search by location or Medical Assistant degree type.

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A Medical Assistant Degree Will Help You Communicate

May 5th, 2011 by Dustin

In today’s unclear economic environment, medical assisting has remained one of the fastest growing careers. It has also been said to be one of the most promising careers in the next ten years.

Communicating with patients is a large part of the job. You will be answering questions for them. You may be listening to a patient’s concerns regarding a health issue. And you often will relay test results, and messages from the physician. If you enjoy working with people, and helping others, you can be successful as a medical assistant. Medical assistants can work in a front-office role which involves administrative duties such as making appointments, accepting payments, taking phone messages, and maintains office supplies.

Medical assistants can also work in a back office setting which involves assisting physicians with procedures, taking vital signs, taking a patients history and symptoms, giving injections, drawing blood, and performing other clinical duties as assigned. Medical assistants work under the supervision of a registered nurse and/or physician. Medical assistants are trained with the essential skills that can lead to future management roles. The medical assisting training programs available today offer flexible course methods such as online courses, evening courses, weekend courses, and part-time programs. Best of all, most training program do not require any specific prior experience.

If you want to learn how to communicate with people and a career as a medical assistant sounds interesting to you, this career choice might be the right decision for you. To start this process go to USCollegeSearch front page and search by location or Medical Assistant degree type.

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What Does A Medical Assistant Do Everyday?

May 4th, 2011 by Clifford

A good example of what a Medical Assistant does everyday is taking a child’s temperature.
First a medical assistant would make sure that the following equipment is handy: digital temporal thermometer, alcohols swabs, gauze, and the patient’s chart

Next, thoroughly wash your hands. Assemble necessary equipment in a location near the area where the patient will be seated. Wipe the front of the digital temporarily thermometer with an alcohol swab. Allow patient and his/her caregiver to enter the room. Verify that you have the correct patient chart by asking the caregiver to verify the patient’s name. Explain what you are about to do to the caregiver and address any questions or concerns that the caregiver brings up. Obtain the patient’s medical history along with all relevant signs and symptoms that are present. Obtain consent to take the child’s temperature.

Blot any sweat off the forehead before placing the temporal thermometer flush to the skin in the center of the forehead. Press and hold the scan button while moving the thermometer across the side of the patients forehead.

Light will flash and beep when a reading has been obtained, then release the scan button.

If there is perspiration on the child’s forehead place the thermometer behind the child’s ear and hold the scan button to get a reading. Read temperature and record it in the patient’s chart.

If this kind of career sounds interesting to you and you enjoy helping others, pursuing a career as a medical assistant might be the right decision for you. To start this process go to USCollegeSearch front page and search by location or Medical Assistant degree type.

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How To Become a Medical Assistant

March 23rd, 2011 by admin

How To Become a Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are important contributors to medical establishments and are given responsibility for the proper organization and functioning of such establishments. They are required to be both highly organized and efficient multi-taskers who can work in fast paced, high stress environments for extended periods of time without relief.

Medical assistants must be able to handle, record, and file large volumes of vital, intricate paperwork with detail and accuracy. Those who show interest in working as medical assistants may also be required to achieve and maintain a certain level of dexterity, especially since they may need to handle or discard contaminated medical supplies and instruments on a daily basis. Medical assistants ought to be warm, friendly, and outgoing and should posses the ability to make patients feel comfortable and relaxed, before, during, and after medical procedures. Often, the first person to make contact with patients is the medical assistant.

shutterstock_47989414Depending on where any particular medical assistant is stationed, they may be required to handle both administrative and medical duties. In smaller facilities, both skills are often required. However, in some larger facilities, medical assistants may only be required to deal with the latter or a specialized field. Medical assistant play an indispensable role in simplifying and enhancing the jobs and lives of other medical professionals through the important duties that they perform.

For more information on medical assistant colleges go to ourmedical assistant hub page.

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Becoming a Medication Assistant

March 18th, 2011 by admin

Becoming a Medication Assistant

Perhaps one of the most popular questions to ask young children is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Answers widely vary from astronaut, lawyer, fireman, teacher, doctor and everything in between. For those ambitious children who dream of helping others by joining the medical field, there are hundreds of opportunities for them to explore. Surgeons, specialist doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses and more. They can be whatever they want to be!

Many people who are interested in science and desire to be help others through healthcare might feel hampered due to having a stomach to weak in order to pursue the position of doctor, nurse, or surgeon. For people such as this, an exciting career opportunity is to become a medication assistant. Medication assistants serve a vital role in dispensing medicine to patients living in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. This is an important job in assuring that each and every patient is giving the best care possible.

In order to become a medication assistant, a person needs to first earn the designation as a certified nursing assistant. The next step is finding a person in the facility they are currently employed at to serve as their sponsor. Once a sponsorship is secured, there are classes provided to give proper training in the different classes of drugs, effects to expect from each type of drug, as well as the different ways to administer medicines.

Medication assistants should be focused, careful workers, who give great attention to detail in all aspects of the job. The patients that they will serve are almost always living in a facility aimed at keeping them comfortable and prolonging the later stages of their lives. A mistake in the medicine or dosage that is administered unfortunately can at times be the difference between life and death.

For those interested in helping others and making a difference in the lives of many, pursuing a career as a medication assistant is something to be considered. After securing a certification as a nursing assistant, the process is relatively easy to add medication assistant to a title. Several of Wisconsin’s technical colleges offer courses to help those in wanting to become medication assistants.

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