Medical aides or assistants assist physicians, chiropractors and other health professionals with some of the clinical and administrative duties of the office. Although no education beyond a high school diploma is required for this job, many employers prefer to hire educated and certified medical assistants with CPR and first aid certification.
Medical assistants can become certified through various organizations, but most commonly upon completion of a Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)-approved college program and a national American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) certification exam. Programs last 1-2 years depending on the award (certificate, diploma or degree) and are available at a number of 2-year vocational and technical schools and community colleges.
Here are some common concepts taught in medical aide classes:
- The human body
- Keeping accurate records
- Medical history of patients
- Body systems
List of Common Courses
Medical Terminology Course
During this course, students learn common vocabulary used in medical offices along with the correct spelling and pronunciation. Prefixes, suffixes and root words are reviewed.
Medical Assistant Administrative Procedures Course
Skills learned in this course include appointment scheduling, phone communication, transcription and billing. Students also learn about medical record management and coding.
Clinical Office Procedures Course
The focus of this course is on common clinical procedures that aides participate in on a daily basis. Students learn how to obtain patient medical histories, take vital signs and administer first aid.
Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology Course
Students learn about the function and structure of the various body systems. Common diseases are also covered, along with common medications used for treatment.
First Aid and CPR Course
Most CMA programs require students to complete training in first aid, CPR or both. Many programs combine the two into one interactive, hands-on course for students to learn the basics of cardiac and respiratory care during an emergency. Typically, courses result in a Heart Saver CPR card from the American Heart Association.
Introduction to Pharmacology Course
Pharmacology refers to the science of drugs and their uses and effects. Although medical aides do not administer pharmaceuticals to patients, they may provide instructions for patients to follow. This introductory course covers the basic principles of pharmacology, including effects on the body, drug interactions and potential side effects. Students learn about drug classification and generic names of pharmaceuticals.