How to Become a Medical Assistant in Alabama
Medical assistants need to enjoy working with people, as this will be a large component of their daily activities. They’ll need to do well at listening, communicating, and paying attention to detail. You may also need a great deal of patience to interact with those visiting the medical facility, who may be in great distress. In addition to customer service, you can expect to work directly with physicians as they diagnose and treat patients throughout the day.[Leer en español]
Responsibilities of Medical Assistants in Alabama
Medical assistants in Alabama are responsible for clinical care, administrative support, and direct patient assistance.
Administrative Duties of Medical Assistant
The administrative tasks of a medical assistant in Alabama may include answering phones and scheduling appointments, filing patient records, handling billing and coding documents, and other duties that help the office run more smoothly.
Clinical Duties of Medical Assistant
On the clinical side of things, medical assistants in Alabama are responsible for taking vital signs such as blood pressure, pulse, temperature, and weight. They may also give injections or draw blood as directed by the physician. Medical assistants are also responsible for preparing patients for exams, changing bandages, and helping with other medical procedures.
Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Alabama
In Alabama, medical assistants are not required to complete any training programs before practicing. There is also no requirement to earn certification in this state. Without any state-wide legislation in place, employers decide what standards an applicant must meet to be considered for hire. For this reason, it is a good idea to complete a post-secondary education program and earn voluntary certification before applying for a position in this field.
Medical Assistant Programs in Alabama
The following medical assistant training programs are accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Enrolling in a program accredited by one of these institutions will help qualify you to sit for a national certification exam if you choose to do so.
Wallace State Community College
Wallace State Community College is located in the city of Hanceville. The school offers an Associate in Applied Science in Medical Assisting, which can be completed with about two years of study. This program is CAAHEP-accredited.
South University is located in the city of Montgomery. Students will earn an Associate of Science in Medical Assisting with about two years of study. This program is also accredited by the CAAHEP.
Chattahoochee Valley Community College
Chattahoochee Valley Community College is located in Phenix City, Alabama. The school offers an Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting, which can be completed in about two years. This program is accredited by the ABHES.
Certification for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Alabama
There are four certifications available to medical assistants, all of which are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). These exams include the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA), and the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA).
Typical minimum requirements include a high school diploma or GED, along with completion of an ABHES or CAAHEP-accredited medical assistant training program. Additionally, some exams may accept professional experience in the medical field as a substitution for completion of a post-secondary training program, while other exams may require a combination of education and experience.
Certified Medical Assistant Certification in Alabama
The CMA certification is issued by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Applicants must complete a postsecondary medical assistant program that is accredited either by the CAAHEP or ABHES and pass an exam administered by AAMA.
Registered Medical Assistant Certification in Alabama
The RMA certification is issued by the American Medical Technologists (AMT). To become certified, applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and pass the AMT certification exam. Alternatively, applicants can substitute professional experience instead of postsecondary education.
Licensed Medical Assistant Certification in Alabama
Currently, Alabama does not have any licensure requirements for medical assistants. The state also does not require applicants to be certified to practice as medical assistants. However, certification may improve an individual’s chances of obtaining employment and allow them to pursue higher-level positions.
National Certified Medical Assistant Certification in Alabama
The NCMA certification is issued by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED, and pass an exam administered by the organization. As with the other certifications, professional experience can be submitted in place of completing a postsecondary program.
Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Certification in Alabama
The CCMA certification is issued by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). To become certified, applicants must have a high school diploma or GED and pass an exam administered by the NHA. Again, professional experience can be substituted for a postsecondary medical assistant training program.
No matter which of these certifications you choose to pursue, make sure that you are adequately prepared before taking the examination by studying and reviewing the exam materials. Passing a certifying examination is an important step toward becoming a certified medical assistant in Alabama.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Medical Assistants in Alabama
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, medical assistants in Alabama earned $14.38 per hour on average during 2021. The top-paid medical assistants in Alabama earned more than $37,660 during the same year.
BLS data also indicate that there were 9,430 people employed as medical assistants in this state in 2020. By 2030, the same data show that there will be 11,280 people working in this field in Alabama, which represents a 20 percent expansion in the job market over these 10 years.
Working as a Medical Assistant in Alabama
Cities like Spring Garden, Graham, and Edwardsville are the best places for medical assistants in Alabama to work, as they will likely earn the highest compensation in these places.
You will find employment at hospitals, private practices, clinics, and other facilities where medical duties are performed. If you enjoy working as a healthcare professional and want a career that will grant you stability, you should consider getting started as a medical assistant today.