Students in medical assisting programs can develop skills to help them work as aides and technicians in hospitals, clinics and medical offices. Medical assisting students can learn about medical transcription, medical records management, insurance billing and coding, patient interactions and bill collection. They are also trained to coordinate patient care, process insurance claims and arrange for hospital admissions. Some schools also require students to complete a medical assisting externship as part of the degree program. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.
Associate's Degree in Medical Assisting
Classes in a medical assisting program can prepare students for both the record keeping and patient healthcare aspects of medical assisting. Common course topics include
- Medical terminology
- Medical office management
- Medical transcription
- Human biology
- Laboratory skills
- Medical laws and ethics
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that medical assistants are expected to see 23% growth in employment from 2014-2024, which is much faster than average for that time period (www.bls.gov). In 2015, medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $30,590, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Professional advancement may be available through the attainment of voluntary certification. Certification is offered by organizations such as the Association of Medical Technologists and the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The AAMA offers the Certified Medical Assistant credential, which requires the completion of an accredited medical assisting program and can demonstrate industry-recognized competency in the field. Although continuing education options may not be available for medical assistants specifically, professionals in this field may choose to pursue bachelor's degrees to work in related healthcare fields, including nursing.
If you want to become a medical assistant, an associate's degree can help you build the basic administrative and clinical skills that are needed for entry-level work at healthcare institutions.