How to Become a Medical Assistant in Iowa

For those in Iowa who wish to enter a rewarding healthcare career, medical assisting is a promising option.Medical assistants perform both secretarial and health-related duties in various healthcare settings in order to offer aid to physicians. Tasks may include specimen collection for labs, administering injections and record-keeping. Medical assistants may specialize in certain clinical settings, such as ophthalmology or dermatology, by gaining experience assisting in those specific healthcare fields.[Leer en español]

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Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Iowa

The Iowa Society of Medical Assistants (ISMA), an affiliate of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), does not require medical assistants to complete certification in order to secure work. However, the organization strongly recommends training, as the field can be quite competitive in Iowa.

Both the AAMA and ISMA do not have specific rules or descriptions for what medical assistants in Iowa should do. Instead, physicians are allowed the discretion to determine their medical assistants’ duties, so long as they do not cross over into professionally licensed practices such as diagnosis and prescription writing.

Medical Assistant Training and Educational Programs in Iowa

Iowans who wish to become certified in medical assisting can complete an accredited certification program within one to two years. Classes may range from lab procedure courses to health law and ethics. Listed below are a couple of program options in Iowa.

  • Iowa Lakes Community College. With multiple locations across the Iowa Great Lakes Region, this public school offers a 40-week diploma program, which allows successful graduates to take the CMA exam. The school boasts a 94.74 percent job placement rate for its graduates.
  • Iowa Central Community College. Located in Fort Dodge, this career school offers a one-year diploma or two-year medical assistant associate degree. Students may live in dormitories or residences off campus. Medical assistants who study at this school receive one of the top training programs in the state of Iowa.

Certification for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Iowa

The most commonly recognized and sought-after certificate type is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). This program requires students to complete coursework accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). More certifications are available and can further improve a medical assistant’s resumé.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Medical Assistants in Iowa

Salaries earned by medical assistants in Iowa are slightly higher than the national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2020, Iowan medical assistants earned a mean hourly salary of $18.11 and a mean annual salary of $37,660. Furthermore, employment rates for medical assistants in Iowa are projected to increase by 27% percent between 2020 and 2030.

Working as a Medical Assistant in Iowa

Des Moines is by far the best location for medical assistants in Iowa to find higher income rates and more job openings. Its mean income for medical assistants in 2020 was $38,490 annually, which is well above the national medical assistant mean income of $37,190. Iowa City and Ames also make good options as the second and third highest paying cities for medical assistants in Iowa. Residents of Iowa can search for medical assisting jobs on the ISMA website job directory.

For those who are interested in a general healthcare career but are unsure of the path they would like to take, medical assisting may be an ideal first step. Because of the diverse types of medical assisting jobs available in many settings, there are numerous options to gain valuable healthcare experience in Iowa.

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Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Iowa?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Iowa made an average of $37,660 per year in 2021. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $29,340 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $48,160.

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