Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Entry Level Medical Assistants

The healthcare industry offers a wide variety of entry level positions.  According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), healthcare job growth from now through 2020 will surpass all other industries. With a 31% projected rate of change in employment compared to a 14% change for all other industries, medical assistant training may provide a path for entry level applicants into the healthcare industry. 

Medical Assistant Role 

Medical assistants perform clinical and administrative duties under the direction of a physician. Clinical duties may include taking vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by physician.

Administrative duties may include billing, scheduling appointments, and maintaining medical records. Medical assistants work in the offices of physicians and other health practitioners. Depending on the specialty and the size of the office, duties may vary.  

Training and Qualifications

Training focuses on vital sign and examination room procedures in addition to administrative duties.  The BLS says that most states don’t have special educational requirements and many assistants learn on the job. Career colleges and technical schools offer two-year associate degree programs as well as certificate programs for those interested in formal education. 

Candidates should look for program accredited by Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Courses include: human anatomy, medical terminology, laboratory techniques and clinical and diagnostic procedures among others.

The American Association of Medical Assistants functions as the certifying body for the profession. The organization’s mission is to provide medical assistants with education, certification and credentialing support.  


At the time of publication, the median salary for medical assistants is $28,860 per year. Salary will vary with location and duties. Assistants who hold the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification earn more on average than those without certification. A 2011 AAMA salary survey breaks down wage information of CMA certified and non-certified assistants by geographic region, practice specialty and work setting. Entry level employees average more earnings in emergency or hospital outpatient than hospitals.  Similarly, those who work in medical or surgical practices earn more than those in primary care offices.


Bureau of Labor Statistics: Medical Assistants Job Outlook
Bureau of Labor Statistics: Standard Occupational Code – Medical Assistants
American Association of Medical Assistants: Find an Accredited Program
American Association of Medical Assistants: 2011 Medical Assisting Salary Survey
American Association of Medical Assistants: What is a CMA?

About the Author

Tami Glasco is a business instructor at Virginia College in Florence, S.C. She has also served as a senior manager at a major employment website and the director of development/marketing for a local nonprofit organization. Glasco holds an M.B.A. in e-commerce, as well as a B.S. in marketing.

1 comment:

  1. Really nice and great informative and valuable post.Thanks for share brilliant information regarding to Medical Assistants.

    St Augustine School of Medical Assistants