An associate's-level medical assistant specialist degree program provides the training needed to begin a career as a medical assistant. Because of this, students who complete an associate's degree program in medical assisting can work in physicians' offices, medical clinics, hospitals and other medical facilities. As they complete the program, they may also have opportunities to acquire clinical experience. The typical program length is 18 months or more, and the only prerequisite is to possess a high school diploma or equivalent.
Associate's Degree in Medical Assisting
Students in an associate's-level medical assistant specialist program can learn a variety of skills in medical transcription, medical billing, insurance processing, routine laboratory skills, legal concepts, basic patient preparation and patient care. The coursework can prepare a student for entry-level work in a number of medical and health facilities. In addition to anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and electronic records, some topics may include:
- Exam room procedures
- Laboratory procedures
- Medical terminology
- Medical law and ethics
- Medical theory
- Medical office procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates can work in a variety of areas such as medical clinics, research facilities and laboratories. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assisting is projected to be one of the faster growing occupations between 2014 and 2024, with an expected growth of 23% over that time period. The median annual salary in 2015 for medical assistants was $30,590 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Beyond the associate's degree level, graduates of medical assistant programs can pursue a bachelor's degree to go on to work in additional areas of the medical field, including nursing or healthcare administration. Work experience could also lead to advancement into such positions as office administrator.
Voluntary certification may allow medical assistants to prove professional competency to prospective employers or to advance in the field. These professionals can earn certification through organizations such as the Association of Medical Technologists or the American Association of Medical Assistants.
While graduates of an associate's degree in medical assisting will only see a median salary of roughly $31,000, the field is expected to grow rapidly at a rate of 23% over the 2014-2024 decade. Obtaining voluntary certification through an organization like AMT or AAMA could help advance your career.