About 484,000 Americans held jobs as medical assistants in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Medical assistants perform administrative and clinical duties in the offices of doctors and other health practitioners. Their work may include filling out insurance forms, collecting laboratory specimens, drawing blood and answering telephones. The BLS projects this career path to be among the nation’s fastest-growing occupations through 2018. American Medical Technologists, a certification agency, notes that education in an accredited school ranks among the qualifications to become a registered medical assistant.
Arkansas Tech University
Students training to become a medical assistant through Arkansas Tech University spend two years in the program and graduate with an associate degree. Students learn office and exam room procedures, communication skills and laboratory skills. Admission to the second year of the Arkansas Tech program is limited to 12 students per year, with grade point averages and personal interviews factoring into who qualifies for the program. If more than 12 students qualify, the school places some on a waiting list. Courses in the curriculum include human anatomy, legal concepts, medical coding and medical terminology.
Red Rocks Community College
Located in Colorado, Red Rocks Community College offers two education options for those who want to be a medical assistant. Students who complete 61 credit hours can achieve an Associate of Applied Science Degree, while those who want only a certificate need 45 credits. Medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, insurance and billing and pharmacology are among the classes included in the certificate program. Students must also complete a 225-hour internship to receive a certificate. The medical assistant associate degree includes classes in medical office administration and financial management.
It takes 10 months to complete the medical assisting program at Broward College in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The program begins each year in June and requires the completion of nine credits, not including prerequisite courses. The college admits about a dozen students to the full-time program each year. It combines classroom work, laboratory experiences and clinical rotations. Graduates receive a certificate of achievement in medical assisting. The program’s courses include radiography, electrocardiography, medical terminology and administrative office procedures.
Tulsa Community College
This Oklahoma college offers a certificate program for medical assistants that takes three terms and 40 credit hours to complete. The curriculum includes classes in clinical laboratory procedures, computer science, common diseases and treatments and medical office financial management. Students must complete an externship to complete their certificate. For entry into the program, students must demonstrate the ability to type 40 words per minute and pass a computer skills test.
Sources for this article:
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Assistants
American Medical Technologists: Qualifications
Arkansas Tech University: Department of Biological Sciences
Red Rocks Community College: Medical Office Technology
Broward College: Medical Assisting Program Description
Tulsa Community College: Medical Assistant, CER