Medical Assistant Schools

Medical Assistant Schools

Medical assistants historically received on the job training and never had any formal training prior to being employed. Individuals that had completed a minimum level of secondary or high school education were usually selected by medical practitioners who required their services and “shown the ropes” so to speak. Most handled administrative work in the medical facilities that they worked in. More recently, the medical assistant’s task list has grown to include more technical or clinical work such as reviewing patient’s medical history, explaining medication to patients and sometimes administering injections.

In 1956, an association called the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) was formed and currently administers a test that once passed, gives the bearer a professional designation as a certified medical assistant or CMA. Another body that also registers and certifies medical assistants is the American Medical Technologists which awards a successful candidate as a registered medical assistant or RMA.

A third body, called the National Health Career Association, offers certification and unlike others, segregates these as clinical (certified clinical medical assistant or CCMA) and administrative (certified medical administrative assistant or CMAA) certifications. The fourth body known to certify medical assistants is the National Center for Competency Testing, which uses the term national certified medical assistant or NCMA. Each of these bodies has their own chapters, by-laws, functions, and as you can see, designation for individuals that register or are certified by them.

The law on minimum training levels and certification of medical assistants varies from one state to another, and it isn’t a requirement that one be certified before seeking employment. However, it is now generally a trend for employers to prefer candidates who are certified as they can be sure that they have undergone standardized training. In order for a graduate to become a certified or registered medical assistant, it is recommended that they will have to train with an institution accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Another accreditation body for such institutions is the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).

Medical assistant schools nowadays can be found in technical colleges, vocational institutes and community colleges. With the explosion of the internet, on-line or remote training of medical assistants has become widely available at many of the traditional colleges or schools, just like it is in other professions. The most common options available to upcoming medical assistants, are a diploma or certificate that is acquired after one year of study or an associate degree which is usually awarded after completing two years of training.

Typical course content includes accounting, transcription, insurance forms processing, medical terminology, physiology and anatomy. The more clinical portion of the course will include classes on first aid, administering drugs, diagnostic procedures and how to work with samples in a lab. Experience is definitely an added advantage when seeking employment and volunteering while studying, is recommended for most students to help them acquire more and enhance their professional appeal. Internship is usually offered to students after completing the certification process.

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