Saturday, 25 October 2014

Medical Assistant Certification

Enhance Your Career Prospects

A growing number of employers within the healthcare industry are starting to go for candidates who have medical assistant certification. This is due to the fact that the healthcare industry continues to grow and are looking for medical assistant certification as there is now more need for people who have had an increased level of training for jobs as medical assistants. This simply means that having a medical assistant certification will give you that competitive edge in today’s job market. This trend is set to continue for many years to come.
Although medical assistant certification is not mandatory, it is very valuable. There is no reason why you will not be able to get a job as a medical assistant without a medical assistant certification but, the growing competition for jobs means that those who possess a medical assistant certification have an upper hand when it comes to getting the job, career advancement and better pay packets, as well as job security.
Employers prefer to be able to depend on the fact that their medical assistants have a certain level of knowledge and skills so as to be able to do the job efficiently and effectively. Those who have medical assistant certification are known to possess the desired skill levels in dealing with both clinical and administrative procedures. For people who would want to be successful medical assistants, getting a medical assistant certification is necessary.
Similar careers you might be interested: Nurse practitioner salaries

Who are eligible for medical assistant certification?

A medical assistant certification can be obtained after one completes either an associate’s medical assistant degree or a certificate program. The lengthier option is getting the associate’s degree and it is also more expensive than a medical assistant certification. However, having a degree is looked upon as more desirable by employers and makes the degree holder more likely to have better career opportunities and higher pay packages.
The best way to ensure that you qualify for a medical assistant certification is to go to schools that offer programs which are certified by CAAHEP (Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs) or ABHES (Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools). Those are the pre-requisites for qualifying for a medical assistant certification after you complete a training program for medical assistants.
There are actually no legal certificate requirements for becoming a Medical Assistant. Doctors can develop their own medical assistants. However, because of the rapid growth of the healthcare industry, most physicians and doctors no longer have the time to train their medical assistants and they instead opt for hiring those who already have the medical assistant certification.

Medical Assistant Certification benefits

There are many benefits of getting a medical assistant certification. Those who are certified are naturally more desirable to employers within the healthcare industry. They earn more on an hourly basis than those who do not have medical assistant certification. People who are have there medical assistant certification are then entrusted with more responsibilities which give them brighter job prospects that those without medical assistant certification.
Having a medical assistant certification verifies to potential employers that a person has had the adequate training and has acquired the needed skills to do the job competently and efficiently.
In order to get your medical assistant certification, you need to pass an exam and in order to do so, you will need some serious study. Classes normally takes from 1 to 2 years and you will need to have at least a high school diploma. It is also required to have math and English language skills. The course can vary from one facility to another although medical assistant certification classes can include an introduction to healthcare, laboratory administrative skills, phlebotomy, computer and data entry skills, medical lab assistant skills, medical lab procedures, electrocardiography or ECG, specimen assortment and collection, medical law, medical terminology, infection prevention and management, urinalysis, and medical lab assistant practical experience.
There are some educational institutions that can also include easy medical procedures. There are many institutions like community colleges, private colleges and vocational facilities that offer the classes. College students who have fulfilled the classroom coaching will then be assigned to labs to work as externs in order to gain practical knowledge. This will help you pass your medical assistant certification examination.
The medical assistant certification is provided by a lot of professionals associations like the AMT or American Medical Technologist, the NHA or the National Healthcare Association and many others. Although medical assistant certification is voluntary, it is a big advantage if you want to get good paying posts within the field.
In order to prepare for the medical assistant certification exam, there is a road map of the exam topics online. There is also an AAMA practice exam and there are review courses that are offered by various accredited medical assisting programs.

What do you get with a medical assistant certification?

Passing the medical assistant certification exam will mean being awarded and official certificate plus a wallet card. You will also get the credential of CMA (Certified Medical Assistant). The credential will help you get better job opportunities with more attractive salary packages.
Another part of the medical assistant certification exam is to be re-certified every 60 months. The re-certification can be done through continuing education or through a re-certification exam.
It is important to note that before taking the medical assistant certification exam, you need to fill an application form and submit required documentation plus enrollment fees. If you are a member of the AAMA or the CAAHEP or ABHES, you will be able to take advantage of lower fees. Being a member is beneficial because the fees are non-refundable.
Once you have submitted your application, you will be notified of your status within 30 days. If you were unable to receive any notification within 30 days of mailing the application form, you can contact the medical assistant certification exam department through their email address or phone number.

The two main medical office assistant areas

There are two major areas where a medical office assistant may be required to work and those are the back office as a clinical medical assistant or the front handling clerical and administrative duties. There are different duties and responsibilities for those two areas.
There are occasions when a medical office assistant may need to work as a medical laboratory assistant. This also involves different duties and responsibilities. Though the job of a medical office assistant may vary depending on the medical facility, there are some responsibilities and duties that remain similar.

Medical Office Assistant Job Description

• Responsible for updating, filing, and keeping medical records, as well as safekeeping of the records for future reference
• A medical office assistant also handles the recording of the medical history of patients, lab test results, and other notes as required by the doctor in the patient’s record sheet or file
• Recording of bills and taking note of codes for purposes of insurance
• Scheduling appointments for patients
• When a medical office assistant is working at the front desk, he or she greets patients and logs them in after they arrive in the office or clinic
• Completion of medical insurance forms
• A medical office assistant also handles bookkeeping duties
• Mailing of monthly statements to patients
• Handling credit and collection
• Performing common clerical office functions such as taking dictation and answering phones.
• Contacting different medical departments and facilities for scheduling tests and processing admissions in hospitals for patients.

Medical Office Assistant Responsibilities

A medical office assistant can be assigned duties that are clinical in nature like checking vital signs, weight, blood pressure, height, pulse, and many more. Preparation of the patient for a doctor’s examination is also part of the job,
There are times when a medical office assistant will be tasked with keeping all the equipment and instruments in the examination room neat, clean and, in cases, sterilized. Instructions to patients need to be given properly, dressings may require changing, tissue samples may need collecting, vaccinations or injections may be required, prescription information may need to be shared with pharmacies and many more.
When a medical office assistant works as a lab assistant, he or she may be required to collect samples like blood or tissue, prepare specimens for tests, check inventory or medical supplies, and there are times when he or she will need to analyze samples.
For someone who is a medical office assistant, there are also other places where he or she can work. These are the specialized field facilities like clinics for optometry, podiatry, ophthalmology, dermatology, and many others. Within such specialized fields, a medical office assistant tends to work closer with doctors compared to other medical assistant.
A medical office assistant may provide help that is crucial to the medical professionals within a healthcare facility. There will certainly be a requirement for having knowledge of code treatments and medical terminology especially within an area of specialization in which the facility is concerned with.
It is necessary to have excellent office management skills as patient records must be well-maintained and up to date. Time management is also very important as there will be a need to make sure tasks are completed within a schedule. Calls need to be answered right away, messages may need to be taken and delivered, reminders may need to be issued, and many more. More importantly, medical records need to be kept private.
A medical office assistant also needs to have excellent communication skills as he or she will be interacting with patients. Patience and compassion is also very important. Customer care skills are also highly prized.

Medical Office Assistant Responsibilities

If a medical office assistant works in a large healthcare facility, he or she may have a specialized area of expertise.
• Administrative Responsibilities
The administrative responsibilities of a medical office assistant include keeping medical records and other patients’ paperwork up do date, making arrangements for laboratory services or hospital admissions when required, greeting patients, attending to telephones, scheduling appointments, coding and billing, and many more.
• Clinical Responsibilities
A medical office assistant may have to take the patients’ medical history, prep them for examination, collect tissue or blood samples, assist the doctor during patient examinations, sterilize instruments and many others.
Once a medical office assistant is directed by the doctor, he or she can then help explain to a patient how and when to take prescribed medications, authorize drug refills, and explain test results to patients among other things.
If the medical office assistant has a specialization like gynecology, then he or she will be helping the gynecologist with conducting diagnostic tests on patients, conduct ultrasounds, and other tasks that may be assigned by the gynecologist.
An dermatology medical office assistant will help dermatologists by instructing patients how to best take care of their skin, how to apply medication, conduct tests on patients and many more as may be assigned by the dermatologist.
The medical office assistant that is certified tends to be preferred by most doctors as he or she would have had to pass an exam and a preparatory training program. This means that the medical office assistant has received more training.
Being a medical office assistant is a good way to start a successful career within the healthcare industry. The duties and responsibilities of a medical office assistant provide him or her with a solid foundation on which to advance onto the higher levels in the healthcare professions.
There is a huge demand for more medical office assistant positions and the opportunities will continue to grow. As more and more people age and have health problems, the need for providing quality healthcare will continue to increase and along with it the demand for highly skilled medical office assistants.
A certified medical office assistant will always be assured of being able to get good paying jobs within the healthcare sector. The salary will depend on many factors but if the medical office assistant is certified, well-experienced and has a specialization, then the possibilities are endless.