Medical Assistant Sciences Associate's Degree
Do you want to have a job in the medical field without having to go to medical school? Are you a compassionate, detail-oriented person? Consider an associate's degree program in medical assisting. Schools offering Medical Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What Is a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants are responsible for both administrative and clinical duties in hospitals, ambulatory care centers and physician's offices. Some medical assistants specialize in administrative work; these professionals manage patient files, keep track of insurance forms, field phone calls, schedule appointments or bill patients. Clinical medical assistants may have different responsibilities according to the laws of the state in which they work, but typical tasks could include preparing patients for procedures, conducting laboratory tests, cleaning medical equipment and assisting doctors during medical procedures.
What Delivery Methods Are Available?
Associate's degree programs in medical assisting are 2-year programs that can be completed on a traditional college campus or online. Some schools offer hybrid formats, in which you take a portion of your classes over the Internet. Distance learning programs are usually taught by college faculty using virtual classroom software, which could include Web conferencing, digital assignments and discussion forums.
How Do I Get In?
The minimum requirement for associate's degree programs in medical assisting is a high school diploma or its equivalent. You may also need to take a placement test and submit high school transcripts. Some programs might ask you for letters of recommendation and standardized test scores.
What Will I Learn?
This course of study trains you in basic medical techniques, administrative practices and medical sciences. The following are classes you could take:
- Medical office procedures
- Medical terminology
- Health services management
- Insurance, billing and coding
What Is the Job Market Like?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment of medical assistants is projected to increase 34% between 2008 and 2018, noting that it is expected to be one of the fastest-growing professions during this time (www.bls.gov). Growth in this field is expected to be driven by advances in medical technologies and an aging general population who will need medical care. As of May 2010, medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $28,860, according to the BLS; top-earning medical assistants made $40,190 or more, while the lowest-grossing earned $20,810 or less.
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