How to Be a Medical Assistant in Today's Economy

Madison, WI (PressExposure) July 22, 2011 -- With the national average of unemployment holding at 9.2 percent, many workers who once toiled in factories, mills, or call centers are now considering a career change to medical assisting. The demand for medical assistants is expected to rise exponentially as the population expands and ages, making it a good option for workers in fields that are shrinking or being outsources to other countries. If you are interested in switching careers, becoming a certified medical assistant is an excellent choice.

A medical assistant can expect to make anywhere from eight to 14 dollars an hour and up to start, depending on what area of the country you live in, the local cost of living, and the position you accept. For example, the medical assistant salary at a major trauma center in a large city would out-pace that of one working in a private practice in a small town.

There are several options available if you wish to obtain a medical assistant certification. There are trade schools that cater to two-year medical degrees and certificates, but they can be prohibitively expensive and have rigid schedules. Medical assistant schools vary greatly in price and scheduling. Often, the most flexible and least-expensive option is a community college. In many states, you can complete a two-year degree while still working and meeting your other obligations. This cost-effective route to certification attracts students of all ages and from all walks of life, making it an attractive option for older students or those who already have families, jobs, and other commitments.

A certified medical assistant will receive practical experience during the latter portion of their education. Many schools and college also have placement assistance. Medical assistants work in hospitals, nursing homes, private practices, and may even be hired as a personal assistant by someone who is ill or disabled.

Medical assisting is also considered a gateway degree. Medical assistants frequently branch out and continue their educations, becoming nurses, physician assistants, MRI technicians, or transcriptionists, just to name a few. If you decide that your specific specialty isn't the right fit, moving into another area of medicine may even be possible without further education. For example, a medical assistant who doesn't particularly care for their job at a urology office may take a position with an orthopedic surgeon.

The first step in toward your desired medical assistant salary [] is to decide where you will be receiving your medical assistant training. You will want to take careful stock of your schedule and other obligations to see when you will be able to fit in classes. You will also want to make sure that the schools you consider are fully accredited and accepted by The American Medical Association (AMA). Make sure that the pace of the curriculum fits in with your learning style and that the campus is convenient and accessible.

Once you've narrowed your list of schools, speak to the financial aid office to see if you qualify for any federal or state programs. Find out if you can be included in a work-study program. It is usually a simple matter to apply for financial aid and any programs for which you might qualify. This will help decrease the amount you will need to borrow to pay for school. Even if money is not a huge consideration in your decision, take advantage of the programs you qualify for- it's free money!

After deciding on a particular school and following the required course program, you will receive your medical assistant certification [] and can then accept a position. Many schools and colleges have programs to help you find work, so be sure to set up an appointment as soon after graduation as possible. Some schools will allow you to begin your search before you have graduated, so find out when is the earliest you can begin applying.

Once you are employed as a certified medical assistant , you may decide to specialize in a specific field or to return to school for another degree in medicine. Many employers are willing to pay for your additional schooling, including all fees, tuition, and books, if you sign a contract agreeing to work for them. The contract is usually measured in years and can also include a signing bonus for valued employees. Some hospital systems do not even require you to work full-time during your additional schooling, so don't be afraid to consider their offer.

If you are stuck in a job sector that is shrinking or outsourcing, consider a position in medical assisting. The world of medicine is an in-demand, expanding field. Be astute about your choice of school and apply for all applicable grants and funding programs to lessen the financial burden of a college education. Lastly, be sure to begin applying for work as soon as possible. Once employed, you may even be asked to continue your education with your employer funding it entirely. The medical field offers a plethora of exciting opportunities to a certified medical assistant.

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Press Release Submitted On: July 22, 2011 at 4:04 am
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