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A look At Medical Assistant Career

Many people who want to join the medical field often look for information about medical assistant salary by state. This is because salaries vary from one state to the next. Some states usually offer very lucrative remuneration packages while others offer salaries that are below the national median salary. Freshly graduated medical assistants usually look for this information so that they can make a career decision that will give them the best financial rewards.

What is a Medical Assistant?

This is an occupation in the health care industry that involves aiding medical practitioners to discharge their duties. Medical assistants perform administrative duties as well as clinical tasks in the offices of chiropractors, podiatrists, physicians and many other medical practitioners.

Becoming a Medical Assistant

The journey to becoming a medical assistant starts with enrollment in an ABHES or CAAHEP accredited training institution for the medical assisting program. Certification bodies like the AMT, NHA and the AAMA only register and certify individuals who complete medical assisting training programs that are accredited by the organizations mentioned above. Training programs have two parts; clinical and academic training. Some of the topics students cover include; medical law and ethics, medical terminology, record-keeping and accounting, keyboarding and computer applications, pathology, physiology, human anatomy, coding and insurance processing, patient relations, pharmacology, laboratory techniques, medication administration, first aid and office practices. Certificate courses usually take around 9 months to complete. Upon successful completion of an accredited program, candidates can register for the certification exam. Certification is important because employers want to hire competent individuals whose training is approved by reputable organizations, and the only way to ensure that is hiring certified medical assistants. Certification is not necessary in some jurisdictions, but it can help to increase the income potential of a medical assistant.

Medical Assistant Salary by State

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly income of a medical assistant is $14.12. This translates to $29,370 annually.

The top 10 highest paying states include California, Idaho, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Alaska, Rhode Island, Delaware and Washington respectively. Medical assistants in these states earn between $19.04 to $22.11 per hour.

The ten lowest-paying states are: Wyoming, West Virginia, South Dakota, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas Missouri, Alabama and Montana. Medical assistants in these states earn between $13.76 to $14.92 per hour. From the year 2012-2022, employment opportunities for medical assistants is expected to increase by 29 percent, which is much higher than the national average for other jobs in the health care industry. In 2012, California had 2,800 job openings for medical assistants, which was the highest nationally. On the other hand, North Dakota had the lowest vacancies with only 20 job openings.

Common Medical Assistant Duties and Responsibilities

The two types of medical assistant duties are administrative and clinical. Administrative duties often include:

– Filing patient insurance forms

– Taking new patients’ information

– Scheduling patient appointments

– Answering office phones and greeting patients

– Updating patient records

Medical assistants’ clinical duties frequently include:

– Taking patient vital signs

– Removing sutures

– Drawing blood samples

– Administering injections

– Collecting various lab specimens

– Preparing patients for medical tests

Assisting physicians with various other basic procedures

A medical assistant cover letter needs to describe how each candidate is the best fit for an open job at a clinic or doctor’s office. One of the most important roles of a medical assistant is as a liaison between the physician and each patient. The best cover letters express a desire to help people, a willingness to keep learning more relevant skills and a good set of communication skills. The ability to work well with others is also a vital component for success as a medical assistant.