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 others).[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.
Administrative Duties of Medical Assistants
Medical assistants often find themselves doing the following administrative tasks:
• Answering telephones and taking accurate messages.
• Greeting patients and accompanying them to exam rooms.
• Verifying patient information and updating records in computer systems.
• Arranging for hospital admissions or lab services.
Clinical Duties of Medical Assistants
Clinically, medical assistants are expected to perform basic tasks such as obtaining vital signs (temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiration) and testing patients’ blood sugar levels. Medical assistants might also perform patient education services such as providing dietary advice or health education materials. Medical assistants may assist physicians in minor surgical procedures, prepare and administer medications and injections, and collect specimens for laboratory tests.
Medical assistants must be knowledgeable about the human body, medical terminology, pharmacology, basic laboratory procedures, aseptic technique (sterile technique), and universal precautions for infection control. They must also demonstrate effective communication skills to effectively interact with patients, physicians, and other healthcare personnel.
Requirements for Medical Assistants in Florida
There is a distinction in Florida between “medical assistant” and “certified medical assistant”.
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, 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) from 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.
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Certification
American Medical Technologists (AMT) offer a national certification as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). To be eligible, you must have graduated from an accredited medical assistant program and then taken the AMT exam.
Once certified, you can obtain employment in any state that recognizes your RMA credential and use it to practice in most states.
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Certification
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers a national certification as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). To be eligible, you must have graduated from an accredited medical assistant program and then taken the AAMA exam.
Once certified, you can use your CMA credential to practice in any state where it is recognized and use it to practice in most states.
Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) Certification
The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) offers a national certification as a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA). To be eligible, you must have graduated from an accredited medical assistant program and then taken the NHA exam.
Once certified, you can use your CCMA credential to practice in any state where it is recognized and use it to practice in most states.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for medical assistants in 2021 in the U.S. was $17.88 per hour, or $37,190 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 16% over the period from 2021 to 2031.
There were 57,100 medical assistants in Florida in 2020, estimated to grow by 20,889 by 2030, for a total of 74,140. This represents a growth rate of 30% for those years.
Salaries for Medical Assistants in Florida
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), salary ranges for 2020 were as follows:
Florida’s overall mean hourly wage = is $17.65.The corresponding mean annual wage for Florida is $36,700.
The Florida annual mean entry-level wage (lowest 10%) is $13.90 ($28,910 on an annual basis). This goes up to a mean hourly wage of $14.27
for the first 25% ($29,670 on an annual basis).
The Florida annual median hourly wage for the first 25% is $14.27, increasing to $18.20 for the first 75% ($37,860 annually), and $22.23 for the first 90% ($46,240 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 $12.29 ($25,570 annually)
- Tampa-St Petersburg- Clearwater: hourly mean wage of $13.86 ($28,820 annually)
- Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island: hourly mean wage of $14.73 ($30,630 annually)
- Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford: hourly mean wage of $13.77 ($28,640 annually)
- Panama City: hourly mean wage of $13.73 ($28,560 annually)
Well-Known Medical Assistant Programs 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 medical assistant program. The same can cost $2,500-$10,000 for an associate’s degree at a community college. Given 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
It is located at 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
It is 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 on 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 and the Commission on Colleges.
Southern Technical College
This college is located in Orlando, Florida, and has several other campuses in the nearby states. They are accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). Their Medical Assisting program offers an Associate Degree with a course duration of 18 months. The curriculum covers medical billing, coding, patient care assistance, electrocardiography, and laboratory practices.
Employment options are plentiful in Florida. To cite just 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 the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
2 ABHES refers to Accredited Bureau of Health Education Schools
Popular Medical Assistant Schools in Florida
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 $36,700 per year in 2021. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $28,910 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $46,240.