AAS in Clinical Medical Assisting: Degree Overview
An Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Clinical Medical Assisting combines clinical lab-based education with traditional classroom learning. These degree programs typically take two years to complete, and are available through community colleges, vocational schools and some universities.
Those interested in an AAS degree should confirm the program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs before applying. These accredited programs prepare graduates to obtain the Certified Medical Assistant credential required to enter the workforce. Due to the comprehensive nature of the curriculum, some schools may require students to take introductory classes prior to taking major coursework.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED
- Program Length: 2 years
Associate in Applied Science in Clinical Medical Assisting
This degree program provides students with the knowledge needed to aid doctors with medical examination and perform clerical duties. Topics generally range from medical office procedures to drug administration and specimen processing. Other coursework may include:
- Physiology and anatomy
- Computer application software
- Medical terminology
- Human disease types
- Clinical lab procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS www.bls.gov) the outlook for clinical medical assistants should be excellent, with a 29% job growth expected for the profession from 2012 to 2022. The increasing demand for healthcare support services, an aging population and emerging technology helps to fuel this growth.
Salary earnings may vary depending on an assistant's work experience, skill level, employer type and location. The BLS notes that the mean annual salary for medical assistants in May 2014 was $31,220. In the District of Columbia, the highest-paying region in the nation, medical assistants averaged $39,860 per year. Overall, the top ten percent of medical assistants throughout the U.S. earned $42,760 or more annually. Most medical assistants work in the continually evolving area of primary care and most worked in physician's offices.
Certification and Continuing Education Information
The American Association of Medical Assistants offers a professional certification exam to gain the Certified Medical Assistant credential (www.aama-ntl.org). Continuing education units (CEUs) are required every five years for those who pass the exam. Common CEU courses are required in the areas of general, administrative and clinical medical assisting.
The American Medical Technologists offer a number of specialty certifications for medical assistants who wish to advance their careers (www.americanmedtech.org). The BLS notes some of the common specialty options, which include optometry, ophthalmology or podiatry. Medical assistants may also pursue further education to enter other healthcare careers, such as registered nursing.