The growing field of medical assisting is becoming increasingly valued by healthcare providers because of the wide scope of duties these medical assistants can handle. This is especially true in Hawai’i, where the number of medical assistants is expected to increase greatly in the next decade.[Leer en español]
Becoming a Medical Assistant in Hawai’i
In healthcare offices and outpatient clinics,medical assistants play a critical role in bridging communication between patients, physicians and the rest of the healthcare team. They perform patient intake, update medical records, remove wound dressings and take electrocardiograms, among other skilled tasks. Medical assistants can complete any tasks deemed necessary by the physicians who supervise them, so long as they do not require medical diagnosis, treatment or care.
Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Hawai’i
The state of Hawai’i only requires medical assistants to hold their high school diploma or GED at a minimum. Those who wish to become medical assistants need to be fast thinkers, hard workers and welcoming to patients. Communication skills are also a must for medical assistants, as they relay important information between patients, doctors and other healthcare workers.
Medical Assistant Training and Educational Programs in Hawai’i
Because of Hawai’i’s small size, there are not many accredited medical assisting training options available in the state. Students who wish to pursue their Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential should choose a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CCAHEP), such as these:
- Kapi’olani Community College. This Honolulu-based school offers three levels of medical assistant training: Certificate of Competence, Certificate of Achievement and Associate Science Degree in Medical Assisting. The latter two allow students to take the CMA test.
- Kaua’i Community College. A subset of the University of Hawai’i, this public school allows students to earn their Medical Assisting Certificate of Achievement (CA) and become eligible for the CMA test. The program requires 43 to 44 credits for completion.
Certification for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Hawai’i
Most employers are seeking medical assistants who hold a CMA credential in order to demonstrate utmost responsibility and high levels of care. Most require their medical assistants to become recertified every 60 months. As the national standard of medical care is changing, the Patient-Centered Home Care system is becoming the standard approach to healthcare. Medical assistants are essential to this model of care because of their ability to use critical thinking skills and exceptional training to support the patient-physician relationship.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Medical Assistants in Hawai’i
About 98 percent of medical assistants are paid hourly, while two percent are paid annual salaries. The Pacific region of the United States was found to have the highest paid medical assistants in 2018, with a mean reported hourly rate of $20.85.
In Hawai’i alone, medical assistants are still paid above the national average. In 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a mean hourly income of $17.69 for the 3,160 medical assistants employed throughout the state.
By 2026, the number of medical assistants in Hawai’i is projected to increase by 27.5 percent.
Working as a Medical Assistant in Hawai’i
Without a doubt, urban Honolulu is the number one place for medical assistants to work in Hawai’i. The BLS reported in 2017 that 2,500 medical assistants were employed in the city. However, with the continued rising need for medical assistants, it’s likely that applicants can find jobs anywhere in the state.
Most medical assistants work a standard full-time, 40-hour week, but some work nights and weekends as well. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) reported in 2018 that about 62 percent of medical assistants worked in general care practices, while 32 percent worked in practices with medical or surgical specialties. Furthermore, the about 96 percent of full-time medical assistants received some sort of benefits packages from their employers.
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Hawaii?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Hawaii made an average of $39,620 per year in 2019. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $29,810 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $50,850.