Students in AAS programs in medical assisting typically spend the first part of the program learning administrative tasks, such as medical transcription, insurance coding and billing, medical record management and billing. The clinical portion teaches candidates to draw blood, administer medication, record medical histories and take vital signs. Students are required to complete clinical rotations during the day, night or weekends.
In order to apply to one of these two-year programs, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent and demonstrate proficiency in English and math. They must also pass a criminal background check.
Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting
Coursework trains students in economic and legal theories and general administrative tasks. In addition to general coursework, students participate in labs. Courses that medical assisting students take often include:
- Medical terminology
- Medical office procedures
- Medical business practices
- Human body systems
Popular Career Options
Medical assistants can find positions in many clinical settings. They typically work with a licensed physician and complete routine tasks that occur during the examination process. Possible career titles for graduates of this program include:
- Clinical medical assistant
- Administrative medical assistant
- Administrative support
- Patient care coordinator
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that medical assistants could expect an employment increase of 23% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than average, so graduates will have many career possibilities (www.bls.gov). In May 2015, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $30,590 for medical assistants.
Continuing Education Information
Graduates of medical assisting AAS programs may seek immediate employment or transfer to 4-year colleges to advance their education in healthcare through a bachelor's degree. Certification is not required for employment, but it is a way to demonstrate proficiency and knowledge of industry standards in order to improve a job applicant's chance of employment. Individuals can obtain certification through the American Medical Technologists organization and the American Association of Medical Assistants. Certification in specific specialty areas is also available.
Aspiring medical assistants can get the education they need through an AAS in the field. Graduates can start work in this burgeoning field or enroll in bachelor's degree or certification programs.