If you are just entering the job market, or thinking about starting in higher education, you may be interested in entry level medical careers. Naturally, the question comes up, “Do I have to be certified to work as a medical assistant?”
Even if you are already working as a medical assistant, but do not have your certification, you are not alone. Although most healthcare facilities do require medical assistants to earn their certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), some do not.
We think it’s great that so many medical assistants would be proactive enough to pursue this career before completing their certification, but we do think that all professionals are better off completing this process.
If you are just looking into becoming a Medical Assistant, you may be wondering why you’d get certified if it’s not required…
At MedicalAssistantSchools.com, we have the answer to that question. There are more than a couple of reasons why MA certification is a good idea.
Listed below are 12 reasons why we think all medical assistants should seek certification, starting with a quality medical assistant training program.
You can typically earn your medical assistant diploma, certificate or Associate’s degree in 12-24 months, depending on the program. Another nice thing about these programs is the availability of online courses for material that can be learned from home. You should look for an accredited program that will offer some form of clinical experience along with your classroom coursework.
Once you complete your program, you will qualify to take the AAMA certification exam. What’s nice about this certification is that it is valid in all 50 states. So if you move, your credentials move with you!
What Is the AAMA Exam Like?
There is no reason to be afraid of taking this exam, or to delay looking into quality training. There are many programs available in cities in every state, because the need for healthcare workers is increasing with the aging population. Your training program should include a curriculum that follows the guidelines created by the AAMA.
On the test, you will take 200 multiple-choice questions about several areas important to this profession. You can view the content outline online which includes such topics as human growth and development, interpersonal skills, communication, data, and others.
12 Reasons Why MAs Should Be Certified
1.) You want more job options. Let’s face it, the more qualifications and skills you have, the more employment opportunities you can create for yourself. While some healthcare facilities may hire medical assistants who are not certified, many do require certification.
This is simply because patients’ lives are in your hands, and some skills are regulated, such as drawing blood samples. Why would a hospital or physician’s office hire a worker who couldn’t perform more procedures versus one who can? Most states don’t require certification because it is pretty standard anyway.
But, let’s say you’re eager to get your foot in the door, and you want to pursue certification at the same time. You can develop a game plan to approach healthcare facilities and offices and see if they train workers who are earning certification. If you can prove that you are going to school at the same time, they might give you a chance. How great would it be to eliminate the need for a job search before you’re even gotten certified? That’s how you spin inexperience into an asset.
2.) Enhanced career outlook. We mentioned the growing need for medical assistants earlier. But let’s take a closer look at the real numbers, to really convince you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for medical assistants is expected to grow 23% between 2014-2024.
Just to give you some perspective, the national average for all occupations over the same period is 7%. See what we mean about potential? What’s also cool about the career outlook for CMAs is…
3.) Medical assistant jobs are everywhere. This is another thing that’s great about the healthcare industry overall. People everywhere require care. And with the many health related needs that populations require, there are many types of medical assistant jobs out there as well.
Whether you want to work in a hospital, physician’s office, or other type of healthcare facility, you can bet there are options somewhere within reach.
This brings up another benefit of medical assistant certification…
4.) Schools are great at helping students find jobs. Of course you don’t need to rely on a school to connect you with prospective employers. However, if you complete your training, and tap the career resources at your school, you might have a job sooner than you expected.
Schools rely on keeping their graduation rates high, so they can keep their accreditation and offer federally backed financial aid options for students. This means schools often set up career advisors to encourage students throughout the job finding process.
Plus, when you earn your certification, your instructors will help you understand what it takes to go through the interview process and conduct yourself like a professional.
5.) Work schedule. We know that sometimes the medical assistants who are certified get the better end of the deal when it comes to work schedules. If you want to work more ‘regular’ people hours, then earn your certification.
Having said that, the healthcare industry is unpredictable. If you want a 9-5 work schedule, then you probably shouldn’t try to work at hospitals. Instead, look at private practices, and outpatient facilities. These will give you a better chance at working a day shift, with weekends off.
6.) Qualify for promotions and further your education. Another great reason to pursue your medical assistant certification is so you can get real experience, while opening yourself up to more options for training. Once you prove that you can complete your certification, you might gain the confidence to pursue nursing, or another area of healthcare that interests you.
This is truly a wide-open field, and there are many places you can go from here.
7.) Short-term programs. Another great thing about earning your certification is how quickly you can prepare for your exam through the right program. There are typically diploma and certificate medical assistant programs that can be completed in 12-24 months, on average.
When you compare this timeline to other kinds of programs, it’s easy to see why this is considered a ‘best buy’ for many students entering healthcare. Once you earn your diploma or certification, pass your AMAA exam and start working, why not look at nursing programs as your next goal in education?
8.) Prove you can stick with goals – and achieve them. Not only will you feel a boost of confidence when you pass your medical assistant certification, your application will hold more water when being reviewed by human resources and physicians who make hiring decisions. They want to know that you are dedicated to providing patients with quality care, and have the work ethic to see your goals through.
By getting certified, you are showing them that you are committed to working in the field of healthcare. This may inspire your employer to give you incentive to keep learning and growing.
9.) Patient security. Let’s turn the tables, just to gain some perspective. Would you rather receive care from a certified medical assistant, or one who came on the job with no certification? We think most people fall into the first category, simply because there are many fundamental topics and core principles of delivering quality patient care that must be followed. It just makes sense to go through a formal Med Assisting certification process to work in this occupation. That’s why many employers already list it as a job requirement in their postings.
10.) Stay up-to-date. Another reason why you should get certified with the AAMA, is to take advantage of their great resources and benefits. On their website, you can find exam information and study tips, as well as career resources, news and events that can keep you connected.
Plus, you never know what doors will open when you join an organization. When you earn your certification, you have to renew it every 5 years. These continuing education requirements are offered through their organization and keep you up to date on medical advances.
11.) Internships. Another great benefit of medical assistant programs and preparing for certification is the opportunity to perform internships. This will help you gain valuable hands-on experience in real healthcare facilities. When you have this kind of training, with a goal of certification, you will take it seriously and set yourself up for success.
12.) Self-betterment. You know what feels good? Accomplishing a goal, and knowing you’re needed. Earning your certification can check both of those boxes for you. And who knows what that will inspire you to do next?
Are you a medical assistant, and have more benefits we should add? Or are you looking to learn more about how to become a medical assistant and start your career?