Anyone who is seeking a career with an excellent occupational outlook within the next 5 to 10 years should consider working in the field of medical assisting. The demand for medical assistants is expected to increase by 34% through 2018. This growth rate is much faster than the average. As physicians begin to rely on medical assistants for assistance on basic clinical tasks, due to the continuous lack of nurses and the increasing number of patients with chronic medical conditions, the demand for medical assistants may further increase in the coming years.
In addition to having an excellent job outlook, a career in medical assisting opens many opportunities, both professionally and personally. With formal trainings and certifications, medical assistants are more likely to achieve career advancement options, higher salary pays and increased opportunities for specialization. Working as a medical assistant can be rewarding in many aspects. For this reason, anyone who desires to be a part of the growing healthcare workforce should seriously consider a career as a medical assistant.
Diploma and associate degree programs in medical assisting are offered in community and junior colleges, post-secondary vocational schools and vocation-technical high schools. A diploma in medical assisting is usually completed within a year, whereas an associate degree is completed between 16 and 24 months. Many institutions are also offering diploma and associate degree in medical assisting online programs. The development of these programs allows students to pace their workloads and maintain employment as a diploma or an associate degree is being completed.
Medical assistant online degrees equip aspiring medical assistants with the necessary skills and knowledge to efficiently perform administrative and clinical tasks in physician offices, inpatient and outpatient centers, nursing care facilities, or in any healthcare facility. Students enrolled in medical assistant online programs are trained to gain strong understanding of the most basic medical terms and procedures. At the same time, basic office and administrative skills are developed and enhanced. An associate degree program typically includes courses in anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, medical terminology, medication administration, medical business operations, medical office procedures, clinical assisting, keyboarding, accounting, insurance processing and recordkeeping. Patient relations, medical law and ethics are also incorporated into the program. Some medical assistants may perform advanced medical procedures, such as obtaining x-rays and drawing blood for testing, after taking a course.
Accredited medical assistant online programs also require students to complete a certain number of hours on hands-on training in physician offices or other healthcare facilities. Students are exposed to actual situations to develop and improve the skills needed in work settings. During students are given the opportunity to resolve actual situations through application of the theories and concepts learned during online classes. After the completion of an accredited online program, students are eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants or AAMA.
Before students are accepted into a medical assistant online program, a high school diploma is required. It is suggested to check with the schools to learn the specific requirements for the medical assisting programs being considered.