Associate of Occupational Studies: Medical Assistant Degree Overview

Oct 15, 2019

Although Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) in Medical Assisting degrees are usually offered at for-profit schools, interested candidates can find medical assistant programs in other associate's degree formats at public colleges and schools.

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Essential Information

In AOS programs in medical assisting, students learn to provide administrative and clinical aid to physicians and nurses in clinics and hospitals. These programs prepare students for a wide variety of medical office responsibilities, such as completing administrative tasks, taking medical histories and collecting laboratory specimens. The administrative portion of the program teaches clerical skills, coding and medical terminology, while the clinical portion teaches medical procedures.

Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED to enroll. Students can usually complete this program in two years or less, and graduates may choose to pursue voluntary certification in the field.

Associate of Occupational Studies in Medical Assisting

The curriculum combines coursework, lectures, labs and clinical education. Students complete externships in medical facilities to obtain hands-on experience with patients. Prospective medical assistants may encounter courses such as:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medication dosage calculations and measurements
  • Human body systems
  • Medical business practices
  • Medical law and ethics

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that medical assistants could see an employment growth of 23% between 2018 and 2028. The growth of the aging population and the increase in the number of people who have access to health insurance both contribute to the faster-than-average employment growth for this profession. Additionally, the BLS stated that medical assistants earned a mean annual wage of $34,540 in May 2018.

Continuing Education Information

Graduates may find immediate work as medical assistants or may continue their education. Some graduates may pursue further training in the medical field to become nurses or physicians.

Medical assistants specializing in administrative work may advance to management positions with experience and training.

Certification is also a way for medical assistants to demonstrate their skill and knowledge. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAA) and the American Medical Technologists (AMT) are two associations that offer certifications to medical assistants. To become certified, applicants must pass a written examination. Certification can be maintained by taking additional examinations or by completing continuing education courses.

For students who want to become medical assistants, an AOS in the field provides the necessary theoretical instruction and clinical training. While certification is not required, it can help demonstrate your knowledge and improve employment prospects.

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