How to Become a Medical Assistant in Louisiana

Medical assistants work alongside medical professionals such as doctors and nurses in a variety of health care settings. On a given day, and throughout an individual’s career, most medical assistants will gain experience doing a variety of tasks and procedures. In almost every case, their main goal is helping health care professionals with patient care and management.[Leer en español]
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Medical assistants may work in both public and private health care settings, performing administrative duties, lab duties, monitoring, scheduling, coordinating, informing, assessing and general caretaking. Some duties may require specific training. More specifically, job duties may include:
  • Patient record management
  • Appointments and follow-upcalls
  • Lab services
  • Managing insurance-related documents
  • Prepping for patient examinations
  • Using specialized equipment
  • Teaching patients about care options
  • Taking vitals
The extent of their duties often depends on the size, location and type of health care environment they work in. Experienced certified medical assistants may choose a career in a specialty area or may choose to move into higher level medical or administrative roles. Medical assistant jobs are expected to be on the rise well into the future, primarily because of the aging population. Those considering a career in this fast-paced and varied field will find promising projections for training and career growth throughout the U.S., where, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), employment in this field is expected to increase by 23 percent between 2014 and 2024.

Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Louisiana

There are no formal requirements for becoming a medical assistant in the state of Louisiana; however, most institutions prefer to have proof of post-secondary education as well as practical experience. In addition, you must be at least 18 years of age to practice. In addition to being technically qualified, those considering a career as a medical assistant should be aware of the communication, technical and interpersonal skills required for the job. Deep listening skills, empathy, speaking clearly and reading accurately are all essential to fulfill day-to-day tasks. Medical assistants should also be detail-oriented and technologically adept.

Medical Assistant Classes and Educational Programs in Louisiana

Though it is not required, medical assistants should have post-secondary training, which may range from a few months to two years. Certificate and diploma programs are readily available at local colleges and trade schools. Online education is available as well, but due to the hands-on nature of the medical assistant’s job, students should consider going into a program that offers in-person experience, such as a practicum, specifically if they are working toward patient care (rather than office administration). Here are a few schools that offer medical assistant diplomas and certificates in Louisiana:
  • Medical Assistant Certificate Program from the Eastern College of Health Vocations. This is a private college located in both Shreveport and New Orleans. Classes are flexible, and an externship is available. The program is 10 months, and after successful completion students will be accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
  • Remington College’s Medical Assistant Certifications come with hands-on training in the heart of Louisiana, with a strong community focus. At Remington, students may either get a one-year Medical Assistant Diploma or a two-year Associate’s Degree in Clinical Medical Assisting, after which they may receive accreditation from the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).

Certification for Becoming a Medical Assistant

To apply to be a certified medical assistant, one must first meet the specific eligibility criteria of the accrediting institution, choose a specialization and schedule the exam. There are a few certification methods, and students should ensure that they are taking the appropriate course of training before they enroll in school. The main two certifications are Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), which may be acquired via the American Association of Medical Assistants and the American Medical Technologists, respectively. Other certifications are available and may be acquired depending on a student’s background and experience. All certifications require ongoing updating and upgrades, so it’s important that all professionals are clear on what is needed to stay current.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Louisiana

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of May 2017, there were 646,320 people working as medical assistants in the U.S., earning an average salary of $33,580. The national growth rate is 29 percent, which is higher than the national average. In the next eight years, job growth is projected at about 18 percent for the state of Louisiana, which, although lower than the national average, is higher than many other states. In the state of Louisiana, there were 7,610 people employed as medical assistants employed as of May 2017, earning an average wage of $13.37 per hour or of $27, 810 per year. There are expected to be about 750 medical assistant jobs available annually.

Working as a Medical Assistant in Louisiana

Medical assistants typically work in high-pressure environments that require a high level of compassion and diplomacy. Though it can be challenging, there is great variety for qualified workers, both in entry-level positions and with regards to choosing specific career paths. Medical assisting is an exciting, fast-paced and varied job, which offers the opportunity for ongoing career development in many directions. If you love helping the public, can balance empathy with diplomacy and you have technological or analytical skills, this could be the career for you.

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FAQs

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

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Louisiana made an average of $30,070 per year in 2019. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $21,440 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $39,430.

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