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]
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
There are almost 4,110 medical assistants currently working in Maine for an average hourly wage of $18.20 or $37,860 annually. Growth prospects for this career are strong, with the number of positions expected to increase by 8 percent annually. Maine clinics and doctors’ offices hire almost 530 medical assistants each year in all areas of the state.
The top-ranked medical assistant training programs in Maine all offer placement services to their students.
Working as a Medical Assistant in Maine
Medical assistants can be generalists or can specialize in particular types of work. There are clinical and administrative medical assistants, and there are also those who specialize in the eye or foot care.
As front-line patient care providers, medical assistants have a unique opportunity to work with patients in a variety of ways and can provide help and reassurance throughout the entire medical appointment process, including billing and insurance.
Popular Medical Assistant Schools in Maine
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Maine?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Maine made an average of $37,860 per year in 2021. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $30,000 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $47,890.