Becoming a Medical Assistant in Maine

Whether it’s in a hospital, clinic, or another healthcare setting, medical assistants in Maine perform the vital work of ensuring both the medical and administrative processes run smoothly for the doctors and nurses they assist. Whether interacting directly with patients, scheduling appointments, billing, or helping patients with insurance forms, qualified and skilled medical assistants will always find themselves not only employable but in demand.[Leer en español]

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Requirements for Working as a Medical Assistant in Maine

Maine’s state government hasn’t legislated formal training requirements for medical assistants, which means employers are free to decide who they want to hire. While technically only a high school diploma or GED is required, formal training to become a medical assistant means on-the-job training requirements are minimized and gaining the confidence that results from knowing you’re already trained to administer medications, collect specimens, prepare patients for exams or treatments, assist with procedures and help in the patient education process.

Becoming a Medical Assistant

While Maine doesn’t require any formal training for its medical assistants, those who’ve completed not only their high school education or GED as well as training either as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) will find it easier to get a job and will probably earn more money initially. CMAs are certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants. RMAs follow the certification process offered by American Medical Technologists.

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

The American Association of Medical Assistants awards the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) credential to those who complete an accredited medical assisting program and pass a national exam. To become accredited, a medical assistant program must be reviewed by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Certified medical assistants pay minimal annual dues (less than $100) to maintain their certification and must continue to demonstrate competence in their field every three years. To become a medical assistant you must be at least 18 years of age.

Registered Medical Assistant(RMA)

The Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential is awarded by American Medical Technologists (AMT) to those who complete an accredited medical assistant program and pass a national exam. Like CAAHEP and ABHES, the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) also accredits medical assistant programs.

RMAs pay minimal annual dues to maintain their credential and must take continuing education courses to keep up with changes in the medical field and renew their credential every three years. There is no age requirement to become an RMA.

On-the-Job Training for Medical Assistants in Maine

Even if you choose not to pursue formal training to become a medical assistant, you will likely need to complete some on-the-job training (OJT). The specifics will be determined by your employer and could last anywhere from a few days to a couple of months. You’ll likely start out performing basic tasks such as scheduling appointments, answering phones, handling correspondence and other clerical duties before progressing to more complex ones such as taking patient histories, measuring vital signs and assist with minor office procedures.

OJT will also give you the opportunity to shadow more experienced medical assistants and learn directly from them. Many times, OJT is combined with formal classroom instruction, which can speed up the learning process.

Medical Assisting Programs in Maine

There are schools throughout the state (northern, eastern, central, and southern Maine) that train medical assistants in two-year programs with both classroom instruction and skills labs. Two of the top-ranked ones are:

Northern Maine Community College, Presque Isle

NMCC’s two-year program trains students in all elements of medical assistance, including electronic health record management, medical coding, and insurance processing. In addition to classroom and lab skills training, students complete a 160-hour or longer externship in their final semester, giving them hands-on application of learned skills in a medical setting.

Kennebec Valley Community College, Fairfield

KVCC’s two-year, five-semester medical assistant program offers a Clinical/Administrative Office Practicum as its third semester. It offers in-class, hybrid, and online learning for great flexibility. By the end of the program, students will be prepared to take the American Association of Medical Assistants certification examination.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations

The medical assistant profession in Maine is experiencing significant growth and offers competitive salaries compared to the national average. As of 2022, medical assistants in Maine earn an average annual salary of $40,750, with entry-level positions starting at $35,190 and the top earners making up to $48,690 annually. This is higher than the national average annual salary for medical assistants, which is $38,270.

National vs. Maine Salaries for Medical Assistants

Location Average Salary Low (10%) High (90%)
United States $38,270 $30,390 $51,710
Maine $40,750 $35,190 $48,690

Salaries and Percentiles by Region in Maine

 
Region Low (10%) Median High (90%)
Portland-South Portland, ME $37,750 $43,750 $52,410
Lewiston-Auburn, ME $36,610 $41,270 $47,940
Bangor, ME $32,340 $40,870 $48,020

Medical Assistant Trends in Maine

In 2020, Maine employed 4,110 medical assistants. This number is projected to grow to 4,430 by 2030, marking an 8% increase in employment within this period. Although this growth rate is slightly below the national average growth rate for medical assistants, which is projected at 14% from 2022 to 2032, it still represents a positive trend in the healthcare sector in Maine. Annually, Maine is expected to have 530 job openings for medical assistants from 2020 to 2030, which includes openings due to growth and replacements for vacated positions. This data underscores the consistent demand for medical assistants in Maine, reflecting broader trends in healthcare employment across the state.

Employment Trends

Employment Trends for Medical Assistants in Maine
Indicator 2020 2030 Projected Growth Annual Openings
Employment 4,110 4,430 8% 530

Sources of data:

  1. Maine Data: The employment figures and projections for Maine are sourced from Projections Central, specifically their 2020-2030 long-term projections. Projections Central specializes in state-level employment projections, providing detailed insights into various occupations.
  2. United States Data: The national employment statistics and projections are obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), particularly their 2022-2032 employment projections.