Medical aides perform a variety of duties in medical offices, from administrative duties to medical transcription. There are no educational prerequisites required for medical aides, though formal training is preferred by many employers. Certification is available for medical aides, but is usually not required.
Medical aides, who are also called medical assistants, perform clinical and administrative duties that keep medical offices running smoothly and efficiently. Some of the tasks they may help out with include bookkeeping, typing and medical transcription. Individuals interested in this career may learn from on-the-job training or by earning a diploma, certificate or associate's degree in medical assisting. They can also pursue optional certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or another organization offering medical assistant certification.
|Required Education||Diploma, certificate or associate's degree in medical assisting; on-the-job training|
|Certification||Optional medical assistant certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||23%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$30,590 annually|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for Medical Aides
Medical aides, or medical assistants, are not required to seek postsecondary training; however, formal training is preferred by most employers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Certificate, diploma and associate degree programs in medical assisting focus on topics such as anatomy, pharmacology, diagnostic procedures, first aid and medical terminology. Students also take business courses in accounting, office administration, medical transcription, typing and bookkeeping. Aspiring medical aides who haven't completed a postsecondary program should have taken high school classes in science, math, keyboarding and computer applications.
On-the-job Training and Volunteer Experience
On-the-job training for medical aides consists of supervised work and training sessions that last a few months. New aides may be assigned a mentor who supervises aides' work and provides feedback. Aspiring medical aides can gain experience by volunteering at medical centers.
Though not required, certification shows that a medical aide's skills meet industry standards. Certification is available through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Graduating from a medical assisting program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) is prerequisite for AAMA certification. First-time applicants must also provide their college transcripts. The AAMA certification exam is administered by the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants. Under the AAMA guidelines, certified medical aides are required to renew their certification every five years.
Certified medical aides can recertify by taking the certification exam again or by completing continuing education. They are also required to maintain CPR certification. CPR certification courses are offered by the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association.
Medical aides typically receive formal training on-the-job, but optional certification can greatly improve your employment prospects. To receive certification, medical aides must graduate from an accredited program as well as pass an exam. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job growth for medical aides is promising, with a faster-than-average job growth when compared to other occupations.