Working as a medical assistant offers people the opportunity to work in hospitals and other medical environments without spending years in medical school. Medical assistants record patients’ histories, measure vital signs, assist with exams, administer medicine, schedule appointments and prepare blood samples. They may choose to specialize in a particular area of medicine or remain generalists.[Leer en español]
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Arizona
Requirements for Working as a Medical Assistant in Arizona
Medical assistants do not need any specific certification or education to work in Arizona. Instead, employers set their own qualifications. Certain achievements and certifications can help medical assistants stand out and give them a higher chance of receiving a job.
Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant
Prospective medical assistants can choose to be certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), which requires applicants to pass one of five exams approved by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) to receive their certifications. The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exams are the most popular and most widely recognized of these credentials.
To qualify for the exam and have the best chance of passing, candidates should enroll in a Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) approved training program. In some instances, equivalent medical training is also sufficient.
Arizona Schools for Medical Assistants
Arizona does not require that medical assistants have CMA credentials, but those who would like to sit for the exam should consider attending a training course beforehand. Many of these courses require in-person attendance, which allows for hands-on training. Here are two of the programs in Arizona for medical assistant training:
- Arizona College. Arizona College has campuses in Mesa and Glendale. The school focuses exclusively on healthcare-related programs. Its medical assistant program offers a concentration in phlebotomy and career support services to graduates.
- Pima Medical Institute. Pima offers certificate and associate’s degree programs for medical assistants. The program lasts for nine months, and Pima has several locations in Arizona.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
Medical assistants can typically find steady employment. The field is expected to grow by 29 percent nationally by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), with 45.5 percent growth in Arizona during the same time period.
Medical assistants in the U.S. receive an average annual salary of $33,580, according to the BLS. Medical assistants working in Arizona can expect an average salary of $32,840.
Working as a Medical Assistant in Arizona
Medical assistants can work in a variety of settings, including physicians’ offices, hospitals and outpatient care centers. Most work full-time and may be required to work on some weekends, evenings and holidays, depending on the type of facility in which they’re employed. Medical assistants can most readily find work in big cities, and these jobs typically pay more to account for the high cost of living in these areas.
The medical assistant path is perfect for those who are interested in medicine and enjoy working with new people each day. Being able to communicate well, pay attention to detail and think analytically will help medical assistants successfully complete their daily tasks. Working as a medical assistant allows people to enter the medical field with a smaller amount of schooling than other careers in medicine, making it possible to begin an exciting and interesting career in a short period of time.
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Arizona?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Arizona made an average of $34,090 per year in 2019. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $26,760 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $41,790.