Medical assisting can be a rewarding career for detail-oriented people with a genuine interest in others’ well-being. With their clinical and administrative responsibilities, including helping with examinations, administering medications and keeping medical records, medical assistants are an invaluable part of keeping clinics, doctors’ offices and hospitals running smoothly. Those who work in larger settings may choose to focus on either clinical or administrative work, or to specialize in one area of treatment. [Leer en español]
Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Maryland
No specific training or higher education is required to become a medical assistant in the state. All that is necessary is a high school diploma or equivalent, but employers may ask that prospective medical assistants have completed an accredited training program. Even if an employer does not request prior training, having a diploma or degree in the field is a valuable asset.
Medical Assistant and Educational Programs in Maryland
There are both on-campus and online medical assistant programs available to Maryland students, but not all programs are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. Only graduates of accredited programs are eligible for professional certifications. Make sure you know the status of your program before you register.
- Anne Arundel Community College (AACC). AACC, a single-campus college in Arnold, offers both a 60-credit associate’s degree and a 31-credit certificate in medical assisting. At this time, tuition is $112.00 per credit for Anne Arundel County students and $219.00 per credit for residents of other Maryland counties. As Health Manpower Shortage Programs, however, both the degree and certificate programs are currently eligible for tuition reduction.
- Cecil College. After completion of a 900-hour diploma program and 160-hour clinical externship, Cecil College students are eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Students may receive credit toward an Associate of Healthcare Science degree after obtaining their CMA certification. At this time, the cost per credit is $119.00 for Cecil County residents and $226.00 for other Maryland residents.
- Purdue University Global. Purdue University offers a four-term, online medical assistant certificate program, with the opportunity for a 160-hour local externship. At this time, the program costs $21,147. This is not an accredited program; therefore, graduates are not eligible to sit for professional exams.
Certification and Licensing for Medical Assistants in Maryland
While Maryland does not require certification or licenses for medical assistants, those with professional certification are eligible for membership in the AAMA or Association of Medical Technologists (AMT). The Bureau of Labor Statistics website has more information on the exams and their requirements. In order to maintain certification, medical assistants must either re-take the exam or complete a certain amount of continuing education. Recertification is necessary every five years.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
In 2017, 50 percent of medical assistants made $16.67 per hour or more, while half of salaried medical assistants earned over $34,670.00 per year. With industry growth of 26.5 percent projected for the period between 2016 and 2026, more than 1,600 medical assisting positions are anticipated to open each year. Medical assistants can expect to see openings in administrative and clinical work and in specialized fields.
Working as a Medical Assistant in Maryland
Maryland regulates the scope of practice of its medical assistants. Some of the responsibilities you may find assigned to you are patient preparation for physical exams, pregnancy tests, some clinical tests and certain laboratory tests. More information can be found on the Maryland Society of Medical Assistants website.
As with other states, larger cities in Maryland are some of the best places to find work as a medical assistant. This may include cities like Bethesda, Baltimore and Hagerstown. However, there will be positions to be found across the state. For those interested in furthering their career in health care, having experience as a medical assistant can open up possibilities in health care technology, nursing and other medical fields. With health care always in demand, this growing field may hold the right career for you.
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Maryland?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Maryland made an average of $37,320 per year in 2019. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $27,630 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $49,470.