How to Become a Medical Assistant in Delaware
Medical assistants are generally in high demand, and the national projections for job demand are higher than average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistant jobs are on the rise by about 16 percent, four times higher than the national job growth average. [Leer en español]
The reason for the high demand throughout Delaware (and the rest of the U.S.) is the aging Baby Boomer population. More care will be needed in almost all areas, and this trend is expected to continue for the next 10 years or so. There is expected to be a diverse range of job opportunities for medical assistants in environments such as public hospitals, physicians’ offices, private care clinics, and specialty healthcare centers.
Having a balance of interpersonal skills and technical skills is essential for this job.
Professionals must be detail-oriented and analytical but also can support, educate and inform on all matters of personal health. They must be able to demonstrate a careful balance of compassion and professionalism at all times.
Responsibilities of Medical Assistants in Delaware
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants are both administrative and clinical duties within a medical office or clinic. These professionals are primarily responsible for ensuring smooth day-to-day operations within their practice, which may include direct patient care, filing insurance claims, scheduling appointments and laboratory tests, coding records, greeting patients, and responding to questions by phone or in person.
In addition to the administrative duties of Medical Assistants, they may also perform several clinical duties, including taking vital signs, preparing patients for examination, and assisting with simple medical procedures. Additionally, Medical Assistants in Delaware may be responsible for collecting and processing laboratory specimens, administering medications as directed by the physician or nurse practitioner, disposing of contaminated supplies, and instructing patients on medication and special diets.
Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Delaware
The state of Delaware does not professionally regulate medical assistants; however, like other states, employers are more likely to prioritize hiring those with an accredited certification and hands-on experience. Some specialized medical assistant positions require extra training.
Post-secondary institutions in the state that offer medical assistant certifications typically offer programs in the format of one-year certificates or two-year diplomas. Coursework focuses on a range of topics, including ethics, anatomy, physiology, office administration, law, medical technology, and terminology.
Medical Assistant Programs in Delaware
You’ll likely need to be near Dover or Wilmington campus to complete in-person certifications to become a medical assistant in Delaware. Several medical assistant schools in Delaware offer an associate degree or diploma including:
Dawn Career Institute offers a medical assistant program that is both an administrative medical degree and a diploma with a medical focus. Class scheduling is flexible, and typically students take about eight months to complete it. This program currently costs approximately $15,000.
Delaware Technical Community college has three locations and offers two medical assistant programs, a diploma, and an associate degree program.
Certification (or Licensing) for Becoming a Delaware Medical Assistant
Once you have your preferred education or even some job experience—for instance, if you were in the armed forces—you can become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) via the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or the American Medical Technologists (AMT). The Certified Medical Assistant test is multiple choice, and exam preparation is available on the American Association of Medical Assistants website.
Registered Medical Assistant
To become a Registered Medical Assistant, you need to pass an exam that tests both your clinical and administrative knowledge. It’s also important to note that all certifications require regular updates.
The initial Certified Medical Assistant credential is good for only five years, after which you have to re-test, and your RMA will need additional certification points every three years.
For more information about becoming a licensed medical assistant in Delaware, review the information on the State of Delaware Licensure and Discipline website.
Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
A Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) is a medical assistant who has gone above and beyond the standard certification to show increased levels of knowledge and skills. To become certified, you must take and pass an exam administered by the National Health career Association (NHA).
The CCMA credential is valid for only three years, after which you will need to retake the exam to maintain your certification.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Delaware
In the state of Delaware, about 2,760 people are employed as medical assistants. They earn an average hourly wage of $17.54 per hour, or an average annual salary of $36,470, with greater earnings typical in urban centers. Competitive starting salaries for those with a certificate or diploma in medical assisting range from $21,000 to $30,000 annually.
The demand for medical assistants is projected to increase by 23 percent over the next ten years—a rate that’s significantly faster than average. This growth will be driven by an aging population and greater access to healthcare services in Delaware.
There are about 420 job openings per year, and the field is expected to grow by at least 24 percent, with some estimates being significantly higher than even the national average of 29 percent.
Employment Opportunities for a Delaware Medical Assistant
Those who have a formal certification to work as a medical assistant in Delaware may pursue jobs and careers in a variety of settings, including general clinics, physician’s offices, insurance companies, schools, and eldercare facilities.
Though they may perform a variety of duties, those duties will almost always involve medical office procedures and working closely with patients under the direct supervision of doctors, nurses, and other medical specialists.
Popular Medical Assistant Schools in Delaware
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Delaware?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Delaware made an average of $36,470 per year in 2021. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $28,990 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $47,780.