Formal training isn't always required, but having a formal education increases employment opportunities for people looking for work as a medical assistant. In an associate's program in medical assisting, students learn to perform a variety of clerical and clinical duties in doctor's offices, hospitals and long-term care centers. Programs typically require an externship and hands-on learning. If they choose, graduates can pursue certification beyond the associate's degree from a handful of certifying agencies.
Associate's Degree in Medical Assisting
In addition to general education courses, students must complete hands-on lab and administrative training to earn an associate's degree in medical assisting. Classroom and clinical courses cover topics such as:
- Laboratory procedures
- Medical insurance
- Patient care
- Physical therapy
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The employment outlook is bright for medical assistants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), jobs are expected to grow 23% from 2014-2024. The BLS stated in May 2015 that medical assistants earned a median income of $30,590 a year. The top 10% made $43,880 or more annually, while the lowest 10% made $22,040 or less annually.
Continuing Education Information
The associate's degree is the highest awarded to medical assisting majors. However, graduates can go on to earn bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in related fields such as health care management. Though it's not required, certification boosts job prospects for medical assistants. Several organizations offer certification, such as the American Association of Medical Assistants and the American Medical Technologists agency.
Earning an associate's degree in medical assisting will give students access to a job market growing at a rapid 23% over the next decade. Students can enhance their advancement opportunities by obtaining professional certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants or the American Medical Technologists agency.