In Montana, medical assistants work in chiropractors’, optometrists’ and mental health practitioners’ offices, as well as with specialty therapists, in biological research facilities, hospitals, healthcare clinics and physicians’ offices. Whether assisting with check-in or scheduling follow-up visits, taking vital signs, administering medications or reviewing patient care plans, medical assistants combine computer savvy and above-average people skills as they deal with both front- and back-office aspects of patient care.[Leer en español]
Becoming a Medical Assistant in Montana
Requirements for Working as a Medical Assistant in Montana
While the state of Montana does not require formal credentials for those employed as medical assistants, a high school diploma or equivalent is a minimum prerequisite for working in this field, and physicians are responsible for determining competence before assigning either administrative or clinical tasks. If medical assistants are not graduates of accredited medical assisting programs, they must have the experience, training and education to safely and responsibly perform their duties. While on-the-job-training is always a possibility, completing either a diploma or associate’s degree is the tried-and-true path to becoming a medical assistant.
Becoming a Medical Assistant
After completing an accredited medical assistant program, candidates can also seek national certification if they choose. National certifications include:
- American Association of Medical Assistants: Certified Medical Assistant
- American Medical Technologists: Registered Medical Assistant
- National enter for Competency Testing: National Certified Medical Assistant
- National Healthcare Association: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
There are also specialty qualifications, including the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants: Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified and the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant.
Even without certification, a diploma or associate’s degree in medical assisting should ensure continued employment throughout the state.
Montana Schools for Medical Assistants
There are both online and in-person options for training to become a medical assistant in Montana. While Montana’s population is less than one million and most of it is centered near the city of Billings, there will continue to be jobs for medical assistants, and the state has seen massive growth in the healthcare industry over the last few years.
- Great Falls College, Great Falls. This college, part of Montana State University, offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree program for medical assistants. All graduates are eligible to take the AAMA certification examination. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).● Flathead Valley Community College, Kalispell. Only 30 minutes from Glacier National Park, FVCC medical assistant graduates earn an associate’s degree in medical assisting in two years. Student housing is available on campus, and the college boasts a very low student to faculty ratio of 18:1. Students are eligible to sit for the CMA exam upon completion of their degrees.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
There were more than 1,300 medical assistants working in Montana in 2016, for an average wage of $15.95 per hour or $33,170 annually. By 2026, the state is expected need 28.1 percent more medical assistants than it has now, and there are 180 average annual openings for medical assistants in Montana.
Working as a Medical Assistant in Montana
Medical assistants will find work throughout the state, with the largest concentration of jobs being in major population centers, including Billings, Helena, Butte, Missoula, Kalispell, Havre, Miles City, Bozeman and Great Falls.
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Montana?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Montana made an average of $36,390 per year in 2019. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $27,590 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $47,580.