Medical assistants are important members of any health care team. They work in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices, with responsibilities that vary according to the setting. Those in general positions will do tasks on both the clinical and administrative sides of medical assisting, including assisting doctors in examinations, keeping medical records, preparing blood samples and scheduling appointments. Medical assistants who are interested in one certain area of medicine, such as pediatrics, obstetrics or geriatrics, might choose that area as a specialty. Specialized or not, medical assisting offers fascinating and reliable work.[Leer en español]
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Washington, D.C.
Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Washington, D.C.
There is no minimum level of education set for medical assistants in the district, but many employers require post-secondary training. Professional certification is also an asset. This can be obtained after graduating from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).
Medical Assistant Programs in Washington, D.C.
The options for on-campus programs in the District of Columbia are limited, so it’s worthwhile to look for online courses or courses at schools in nearby states.
This Associate’s degree program is offered at the Wilmington, Delaware, campus, one and a half hours from Washington, D.C. by train. As part of DTCC’s Connected Degree program, graduates have the opportunity to move into a four-year bachelor’s program. Tuition is currently set at $373.75 per credit for out-of-state students or $5,606.25 per semester for students taking 15 or more credits. This does not include books and fees. Request enrollment information on the school website.
Briya Public Charter School
This Washington, D.C.-based school offers a dual-enrollment program that lets students study to become medical assistants while earning high school credit. It’s an 18-month program offering hands-on experience at several local healthcare facilities. The cost of tuition is $6500 for DC residents and $7500 for non-residents’
Herzing offers both a 10-month diploma program and a 16-month associate’s degree in medical assisting. The tuition for the associate’s degree is currently $28,120.00, while the less expensive diploma program is estimated at $21,090.00. Students in these programs can sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) and Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exams after graduation. Check the school website for enrollment information.
Certification and Licensing for Medical Assistants in Washington, D.C.
The Washington, D.C. Board of Pharmacy does not require certification for medical assistants. Certification may be preferred by some employers and is available through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To be certified, applicants must have graduated from a CAAHEP-accredited program or hold an equivalent credential from another organization.
The AAMA also offers a testing program to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). To be eligible for the CMA exam, applicants must have completed an accredited medical assistant program or have at least five years of experience as a medical assistant. Membership in the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) is, however, an option for graduates of accredited programs and may be required for work in other areas. There is also an option to receive recertification every five years through continuing education programs.
The AAMA also offers different types of certifications such as the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), the Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist (CEHRS), and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). It is important to note that these exams are not administered by a governmental governing body, so employers may have their requirements for certification.
Medical assistants in Washington, D.C. may also consider joining the Professional Association of Health Care Office Management (PAHCOM). The organization provides professional development opportunities, a certification exam, and continuing education programs that focus on healthcare office management.
These certifications vary in cost and requirements but can be helpful for medical assistants who are looking to hone their skills, update their credentials and get ahead in their careers. Certification can also demonstrate a commitment to the field and help medical assistants stand out from the competition.
Overall, there are several options for those looking to become certified medical assistants in Washington, D.C., whether through schools in nearby states or online programs.
Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Certification
This certification is administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and is designed for medical assistants who have experience in clinical settings. To be eligible for the CCMA exam, applicants must have completed an accredited medical assistant program or have at least five years of experience as a medical assistant. The exam fee is currently $120 and recertification is required every five years. This certification is an important credential for medical assistants who want to demonstrate their clinical skills and knowledge.
Certified Medical Administrative Assistant Certification
The CMAA certification is also administered by the AAMA and was designed for medical administrative personnel. To be eligible, applicants must have completed an accredited medical assistant program or have at least two years of experience as a medical administrative assistant. The exam fee is currently $120 and recertification is required every five years. This certification is an important credential for demonstrating competency in the areas of medical office management and coding.
Certified Electronic Health Records Specialist Certification
The CEHRS certification is also administered by the AAMA and was designed for medical administrative personnel with experience in electronic health records management. To be eligible, applicants must have completed an accredited medical assistant program or have at least two years of experience as a medical administrative assistant and be knowledgeable about the technical aspects of Electronic Health Records (EHR). The exam fee is currently $120 and recertification is required every five years. This certification is an important credential for demonstrating competency in the areas of electronic health records management and coding.
Certified Medical Assistant Certification
The CMA certification is administered by the National Healthcareer Association and is designed for medical assistants who have completed a medical assistant program. The exam fee is currently $115, and recertification is required every three years. This certification is an important credential for demonstrating competency in the field of medical assisting.
By obtaining any of these certifications, medical assistants in Washington, D.C. can demonstrate their commitment to the field of healthcare and show employers that they have the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality patient care. Certifications are a great way for medical assistants to stand out from the competition and advance their careers.
Registered Medical Assistant Certification
The RMA certification is also administered by the National Healthcareer Association and is designed for medical assistants who have completed a medical assistant program. The exam fee is currently $129 and recertification is required every three years. This certification is an important credential for demonstrating competency in both clinical and administrative tasks.
Career Outlook, Job Opportunities, and Salary Expectations
The projected growth rate for the industry is 19 percent between 2020 and 2030, resulting in a potential 280 job openings each year. However, because the District of Columbia is central to several different states, the actual number of openings available to candidates is much higher. Keeping in mind that pay in neighboring states will be different, half of the salaried medical assistants in Washington, D.C. made $47,550 or more in 2020.
Entry level positions salaries range from $34,000 to $41,000 annually and may increase with experience. Other beneficial salaries include overtime pay, shift differentials, bonuses, and other benefits. Job opportunities will vary depending on the employer and experience level of the medical assistant. Clinical externship and internship programs are available in the District, but most employers prefer to hire certified medical assistants.
Certified medical assistants may be able to find job opportunities in a variety of healthcare settings and organizations such as hospitals, private practices, ambulatory care centers, home health agencies, Local healthcare facility, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, and more.
Working as a Medical Assistant in D.C.
The number of positions available in Washington, D.C. is limited by the district’s size, but there are many opportunities in neighboring states. For example, Alexandria and Arlington, in Virginia, and Bethesda, Maryland, are easily accessible from the district. Any of these and other locations offer a chance to improve your skills and find your passion. Whether you choose to continue as a medical assistant or move into another area of healthcare, the possibilities are endless.
Popular Medical Assistant Schools in District of Columbia
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of D.C.?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of D.C. made an average of $47,550 per year in 2021. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $36,230 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $60,150.