Podiatrist assistants don't require a college education as they receive on-job training, although multiple training programs are available. There is optional certification, which may be beneficial for employment. We will also look at the various tasks a podiatrist assistant performs.
A podiatrist assistant is a medical assistant who performs administrative and clinical procedures in a podiatrist's office. No formal education is required since podiatrist assistants are usually trained on-the-job. Diploma, certificate and associate's degree programs in medical assisting do exist for those interested in formal education. Certification can increase job opportunities for podiatrist assistants.
|Required Education||High school diploma or equivalent; medical assisting programs available|
|Other Requirements||Voluntary certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||23% for all medical assistants|
|Average Salary (2015)*||$30,590 annually for all medical assistants|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Education Requirements for Podiatrist Assistants
Podiatrist assistants are typically trained on-the-job by the podiatrist. A high school diploma is usually necessary to obtain employment.
In lieu of on-the-job training, aspiring podiatrist assistants can pursue medical assistant certificate, diploma and associate's degree programs at community colleges and vocational schools. These programs take 1-2 years to complete. Coursework for medical assistant training includes human anatomy, medical terminology, laboratory techniques, first aid and record-keeping. A clinical externship is required in some programs.
The American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants (ASPMA) offers voluntary clinical or administrative certification. Assistants must pass an exam to earn the Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified (PMAC) designation. The examination consists of seven sections and candidates must pass with an overall score of 70%. According to the ASPMA, the benefits of earning certification as a PMAC include credibility and prestige as well as a greater level of professionalism.
The duties of a podiatrist assistant are usually defined by the employer, but they are generally expected to perform both clinical and administrative duties. Clinical duties may include taking and developing x-rays, providing assistance during surgery, preparing patients for exams, making impressions of feet for orthotics and sterilizing instruments. Some states require podiatrist assistants to complete additional training and licensure in order to perform x-rays. Office duties may include scheduling appointments, updating patient files, billing insurance companies and maintaining records.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for medical assistants, which include podiatrist assistants, should grow about 23% during the years 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Prospects should be best for those assistants who hold certification. The mean annual salary for medical assistants was $30,590 in May 2015.
A podiatrist's assistant helps them with clerical and clinical procedures, which they are taught on the job. While a high school education may suffice, pursuing postsecondary training and certification can be useful.