Medical Assistant Training in Florida – Schools, Programs and Other Education Options
With 10,000 baby boomers entering the Medicare age of 65 every day, the U.S. 65+ population, now comprising 15% of all Americans, is projected to double over the next decade. This rapidly aging group holds great promise for those entering the medical field at practically any level (specialist doctors, general physicians, nurses, medical assistants, and other).[Leer en español]
Earning your diploma is a great first career step that embarks you into this vastly promising medical field. Medical assistants are critical to the effective functioning of most medical centers, whether in doctors’ offices, hospitals, and wherever else people go for their health needs.
Florida State Requirements
There is a distinction in Florida between “medical assistant” and “certified medical assistant”.
Medical assistants: For medical assistants, the State of Florida does not have any specific licensing or certification requirements, other than being aware of the regulations of the Florida Board of Medicine. The Board empowers licensed health care providers, at their discretion, to train employees, either through a formal study program, or by way of hands-on training, or both. The licensed health practitioner can however require that the medical assistant they hire be certified.
Certified medical assistants: While the State of Florida does not have any certification requirements, you can obtain a certificate through one of these two certifying institutions, both accredited by the Florida Board of Medicine:
- You can get a national certification as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) by American Medical technologists (AMT). AMT provides a list of study requirements that lead to the exam you must pass to obtain your certification.
- Or you can also get nationally certified as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). They require that you first graduate from an accredited medical assisting program (CAAHEP1 or ABHES2), then sit for their exam.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for medical assistants in 2016 the U.S. was $15.17 per hour, or $31,540 per year, with a typical entry-level education of post-secondary vocational. For the entire country, the demand for assistants is estimated to grow by 23% over the period 2014 to 2024.
There were 42,409 medical assistants in Florida in 2015, estimated to grow by 10,842 by 2023, for a total of 53,251. This represents a growth rate of 25.6% for those years.
Salaries for Medical Assistants in Florida
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), salary ranges for 2016 were as follows:
Florida’s overall mean hourly wage = $14.94 (this compares with $17.61 in California, $14.56 in Texas, and $17.08 in New York). The corresponding mean annual wage for Florida is $31,080.
The Florida annual mean entry-level wage (lowest 10%) is $10.76 ($22,380 on an annual basis). This goes up to a mean hourly wage of $12.7 for the first 25% ($26,420 on an annual basis).
The Florida annual median hourly wage for the first 25% is $14.59, increasing to $17.24 for the first 75% ($30,340 annually), and to $19.19 for the first 90% ($39,920 annually). The top 10% can naturally earn more.
Florida entry-level (First 10%) wages break down into the following sample of regions:
- Tallahassee: hourly mean wage of $10.49 ($21,830 annually)
- Tampa-St Petersburg- Clearwater: hourly mean wage of $10.94 ($22,750 annually)
- Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island: hourly mean wage of $13.94 ($28,990 annually)
- Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford: hourly mean wage of $11.00 ($22,890 annually)
- Panama City: hourly mean wage of $10.00 ($20,800 annually)
Well-Known Schools in Florida
The first thing to do is pick from the list we provide those schools that are close to you and research them carefully. Generally, a one-year diploma at a vocational school costs $1,200-$4,000+, depending on each program. The same can cost $2,500-$10,000 for an associate’s degree at a community college. In view of these disparities, you will need to contact the school of your choice and ask about tuition costs and other expenses. Here though is a description of what a few typical schools offer:
Milan Institute, Bakersfield: Located on 2822 F Street, Bakersfield, CA 93301 (888- 207-9460), and with other campuses in Fresno, Merced, Palm Desert, and Visalia, this institute offers a one-year (full-time) diploma, or a two-year (full-time) Medical assistant Associate Degree, considered a stepping stone to a Bachelor’s degree. This institute is accredited by the Council on Occupational Education.
Concord Career Institute-Tampa: Located at 4202 W Spruce, Tampa, Florida 33607 (813-874-0094), this school offers an accelerated 8-month medical assistant diploma program that includes courses in scheduling and receiving patients, preparing and maintaining medical records, performing CPR and first aid, administering injections, and assisting physicians with examinations and treatments. Various scholarships are also available for those who qualify, and they are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
Fortis College Online Programs: Fortis College is well known for its fully online as well as hybrid career courses that are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Fortis offers a Medical Assisting Associate Degree course that can be taken in flexible schedules to suit your other activities. They may be reached at 1-855-436-7847 or viewed at https://www.fortis.edu/
Florida State College-Jacksonville: A substantial college with over 150 different programs and campuses in various locations in Florida, FSCJ is located at 501 W State Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32202 (904-633-8100). This college offers a Medical Assisting Workforce Certificate (W.C.) that qualified you to sit for the Registered Medical Assistant exam following which you become a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). They are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.
Employment options are plentiful in Florida. To cite just the one example of the Orlando area, there are numerous hospitals, specialized doctors’ offices and other medical centers to which you could apply. Here are but a few:
- Orlando Regional Medical Center
- United Health Group
- Mid Florida Dermatology
- University of Central Florida
- Orlando Health
- Florida Hospital Orlando
- Florida Hospital East Orlando
- Kindred Hospice
- Alternative Home Health Agency
- East Orlando Health and Rehab Center
1 CAAHEP refers to Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
2 ABHES refers to Accredited Bureau of Health Education Schools
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Florida?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Florida made an average of $33,920 per year in 2019. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $26,080 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $42,880.