As a certified medical assistant, you experience the rewards of being able to assist patients with high-class care. Should you ever wish to change your job, finding another position may not be that simple without a professional network.
In this article, we will provide you with information on the benefits of joining a professional organization for medical assistants within the medical profession. We are confident that you will be better positioned to make an informed decision about which American association is right for you.
5 Benefits of Joining a Professional Medical Assistant Association
Without proactivity in your networking efforts, you might struggle for connections who can help – unless you are already part of one of the professional organizations available for certified medical assistants.
These are full of medical assisting professionals. They gather to promote their profession through avenues of education, policy updates, and through conferences. As such, a medical assistant professional should become a member of an assistant association for networking opportunities and from a career growth perspective.
Joining an association can enable medical assisting professionals to reap certain membership benefits is a great idea. Five of these benefits are:
1. Professional Development
Medical assistant associations afford members an array of professional development opportunities which can enhance their skill levels and advance their careers. They often offer opportunities for continuing education through access to the latest industry technology and regulations.
Many associations also offer online resources like online courses and webinars that assist medical assistants to improve their skills while keeping abreast of the latest trends to offer efficient health care delivery.
2. Networking Opportunities
Medical assisting associations provide a variety of valuable networking opportunities for medical assistants. These avenues enable a MA professional to connect with other medical assistants.
Most professional organizations host events like meetings and conferences providing networking opportunities for their members. Medical assistants hence have the chance to exchange thoughts with industry leaders and healthcare providers.
Certain associations also offer mentorship programs affording less experienced medical assistants the chance to be mentored by more adept ones. Then there are social media groups, online communities, and even local chapters which provide invaluable networking opportunities.
3. Job Opportunities
Direct medical assisting job placement services are not usually offered by assistant associations. These organizations give medical assistants access to resources and job boards to enhance their job opportunities.
The job boards could include notifications of potential vacancies which medical assistants who are association members can follow up on. Other resources offered can include job searching advice and resume writing or interview tips for job searchers.
A certified medical assistant program offered by a professional organization can be an opportunity for medical assistants to enhance their prospects of employment through further accreditation.
4. Advocacy and Support
Association members often require advocacy and support to help navigate certain issues and challenges that form part of the medical assisting profession. There are times when support and advocacy are offered by associations to affiliated med assistants to assist with ethical dilemmas or legal issues arising within the workplace.
MAs can seek advice from assistant associations on policy issues like scope of practice and licensing requirements, and there is often wellness support within an association for members struggling with the physical or emotional demands of their jobs.
Many experienced members get involved with mentoring others who may be struggling with specific facets of their professions. A certified medical assistant professional, for example, may be approached by the assistant association to provide guidance to a more inexperienced member.
5. Industry Updates and Information
It is important for medical assistants to remain updated on news, trends, and best practices within the industry. Associations will publish and distribute regular newsletters and magazines targeting industry trends, new regulations, and best practices.
Assistant associations often liaise with government agencies so as to keep medical assistants informed about regulations and laws that affect the profession. They will also advocate for policies that will benefit and protect medical assistants.
Associations will regularly use social media to update their members and share industry news.
How to Choose the Right Medical Assistant Association
When you choose an assistant association, you should consider the following criteria:
- Accreditation: Look for an association that is accredited by an organization like the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), which offers national accreditation.
- Membership Benefits: Look at the available membership benefits, including networking opportunities, continued education, employment resources, and support and advocacy.
- Cost: It is always an idea to compare membership costs to others, along with the benefits offered.
- Reputation: Do your research into the association’s reputation. Evaluate its industry track record by finding feedback or reviews from members.
- Focus: It is good to weigh up different associations’ missions and primary focus areas. Certain associations have specific focus areas, like pediatric medical assisting. If you’re more generalized in your work, find one with a broader focal point.
- Accessibility: If you are going to make use of any resources offered, it is better if they are easy to locate and access.
- Location: Consider the location of the association. It will be much easier to attend events that are located nearby.
Types of Medical Assistant Associations
There are various types of medical assistant associations serving medical assistants at certain stages of their careers. The following examples explain the differences:
- National associations: National associations are the most widely known and recognized medical assistant organizations. They cover the broadest spectrum of medical assisting professionals. Some of these include the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- State associations: State associations are smaller, only catering to the requirements of medical assisting within specific states. Some examples are the Texas Society of Medical Assistants and the Florida Society of Medical Assistants.
- Specialty associations: Certain medical assistant associations only focus on specific areas of medical assisting. For example, the Pediatric Medical Assistants Society (PMAS) and the Dermatology Medical Assistants Association (DMAA).
Popular Medical Assistant Associations
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) was founded in 1956 and provides support to medical assistants as it is the only association focused exclusively on their progress and profession.
The AAMA’s present mission is to ensure the certification of knowledgeable medical assistants who are highly competent and in a position to support their healthcare environments in a top-rate fashion.
Annual membership fees vary between US states, from around $75 to approximately $100. Students are charged lower rates.
American Medical Technologists (AMT) is a non-profit association comprising members of several sectors of health professionals. AMT provides certification to the medical assisting profession and others, while also giving its members support for maintaining their competencies and skills.
AMT assists members to learn and grow within their fields of expertise while upholding workplace quality.
AMT annual membership fees range between $45 and $110 depending on the health sector you’re part of. Like the AAMA, students are charged lower membership fees.
Joining a professional medical assistant association will benefit you in ways like the ability to continue your education while enjoying a multitude of networking opportunities and resources.
Choosing the best association for you depends on factors like the cost, and focus of the organization itself. Investigate your options and consider the association’s reputation before you make a final choice.
As a medical assistant, there is no doubt that the benefits you’ll enjoy by becoming part of one of the medical assistant associations are vast and well worth the membership fees. After doing your research, decide on one and begin enhancing your career prospects.
How do I know which medical assistant association to join?
Consider the reputation, membership requirements, cost, and general focus of the association. Research and compare your options prior to deciding.
Can I join more than one medical assistant association?
Yes, you can. You can join as many as you choose if you meet their membership specifications and pay the fees.
What is the cost of joining a medical assistant association?
The cost of joining an association varies on your membership level and which organization it is. Certain associations could be free, with others costing a few hundred dollars yearly.