Students interested in pursuing careers in the growing field of health care may want to consider a clinical medical assisting certificate or associate degree. Medical assistants provide support for physicians, nurses, and other health care practitioners by performing clinical and administrative tasks. Common courses for this type of training program include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, clinical procedures, medical office management, and health care law and ethics, to name a few. Graduates who earn their certification are qualified to pursue entry-level positions with hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices.
Types of Clinical Medical Assisting Certificates
Clinical Medical Assisting
If you are interested in earning a certificate in clinical medical assisting online, there are a number of options available. Students enrolled in this type of program can expect to learn about medical terminology, health care operations, clinical procedures, anatomy and physiology, and health care law and ethics. Some programs may also incorporate training in X-ray positioning, venipuncture, and electrocardiograms to prepare students for these specialized tasks. Some common admissions requirements are listed below. However, please be sure to verify with the specific school.
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Transcript or GED test scores
- Application form and fee
In most cases, online clinical medical assisting programs are designed to be completed in six months to a year. Factors such as the specific number of courses required, level of enrollment, and any breaks taken during the course of the program can all influence time to completion. Many programs also include an internship or clinical experience component. Distance learners can arrange to complete this with a facility in their area. If you attend an accredited program, you should be prepared with the knowledge and skills to sit for one of the nationally recognized certification exams in this field.
What’s Next for Certificate Holders?
Students who complete a certificate program for clinical medical assisting can go on to work in doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. Please note, however, most of these employers will give preference to applicants with professional certification. This could be through any of the following organizations: the American Association of Medical Assistants, the American Medical Technologists, the National Center for Competency Testing, or the National Healthcareer Association. As long as the program you attended was accredited, you should be prepared to take this type of exam.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports strong job growth for individuals interested in this career path. In fact, the demand for medical assistants is expected to increase by 31% from 2010 to 2020. This is more than twice the 14% growth predicted for all occupations during this period of time. The reported mean annual wage in 2011 was $30,170 for those working as medical assistants. The highest paid workers were employed in scientific research can development services, with an annual mean age of $37,040. However, the majority of positions were available with physicians’ offices. Please remember, actual pay and the availability of jobs varies based on factors like location, level of experience, the general economic climate, and the specific employer.