How to Become a Medical Assistant in Rhode Island
As a patient enters a medical facility, they may be greeted first by a medical assistant. Such direct interaction will require medical assistants to be great listeners and thorough communicators and possess a calm demeanor.
You may also need to keep track of important medical records or answer phones. Assisting physicians as they diagnose and treat patients could also be included in your list of responsibilities as a medical assistant.[Leer en español]
Responsibilities of a Medical Assistant
The medical assistant occupation is an all-encompassing job. Duties will vary from day to day and from facility to facility, but the core responsibilities of a medical assistant usually include:
- Answering patient questions
- Assisting with minor procedures
- Changing dressings on wounds
- Checking the patient vital signs
- Collecting and processing lab specimens
- Drawing and giving injections
- Greeting patients
- Handling correspondence
- Maintaining medical records
- Ordering supplies
- Preparing exam rooms
- Scheduling appointments
- Taking patient histories
- Teaching patients about medication and health maintenance
Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, you will need at least a high school diploma or GED to practice as a medical assistant. Some employers will prefer to hire candidates who also have a degree, certification, or both, so choosing to enroll in a post-secondary education program for medical assistants is never a bad idea.
Such a program would help prepare you to sit for a certification exam, and having both of these credentials on your resumé would undoubtedly enable you to stand out to employers.
Medical Assistant Training and Educational Programs in Rhode Island
You do not need to complete a medical assistant training program to practice; however, choosing to do so will help accelerate your career and could also help you land higher-paying positions within this field.
Lincoln Technical Institute
The Institute is located in the city of Providence and allows students to complete a diploma program with about one year of study. Students must also complete an internship as part of this program.
New England Institute of Technology
The Institute is located in the city of East Greenwich. The school offers an Associate of Science degree in medical assisting, which can be completed in about two years. Students will complete an externship and be eligible to sit for a national exam after finishing this program.
Certification for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Rhode Island
There are multiple certifications available to medical assistants. Two of the most common certifications include the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). You may also choose to earn the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) and Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) certifications.
All exams are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
Typically, to sit for any of these exams, you will need to first complete a medical assistant training program that is nationally accredited.
If you have professional experience within the medical field, you may be able to bypass the educational requirements. Some exams may even require you to have a combination of education and experience before being eligible to earn certification.
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
The CMA exam is administered by the Certification Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The AAMA offers certification to medical assistants who have graduated from an accredited program and to those with at least five years of experience working as medical assistants. Candidates must also pass a criminal background check to be eligible.
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
The RMA exam is administered by the American Medical Technologists (AMT). Candidates must have completed an accredited program or have at least five years of experience working as medical assistants to sit for this exam. Candidates must also pass a criminal background check.
National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
The NCMA exam is administered by the National Healthcare Association (NHA). Candidates must have completed an accredited program or have at least five years of experience working as medical assistants to sit for this exam. Candidates must also pass a criminal background check.
Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)
The CCMA exam is administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Candidates must have completed an accredited program or have at least five years of experience working as medical assistants to sit for this exam. Candidates must also pass a criminal background check.
Choosing the Best Certification for You
The best certification for you will likely depend on your career goals and the type of job you are seeking.
If you are just starting your career, it is probably best to choose a certification that does not require extensive experiences, such as the CMA or RMA.
If you have been working as a medical assistant for several years, you may want to consider a certification that requires experience, such as the NCMA or CCMA.
Once you have earned your certification, you will need to keep it current by renewing it every few years and completing continuing education credits.
The requirements for renewal vary by certification, but typically involve paying a fee and completing a certain number of continuing education credits.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Medical Assistants in Rhode Island
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data presented in 2021 stated that medical assistants in Rhode Island earned $18.20 per hour on average, which is equivalent to $37,860 per year.
The highest-paid medical assistants in this state earned more than $48,490 annually according to the same data.
During 2020, BLS data also indicated that 2,820 medical assistants were working in Rhode Island at the time. By 2030, it is projected that there will be 3,140 medical assistants working in this state. This indicates an 11 percent expansion in the job market during these 10 years.
Working as a Medical Assistant in Rhode Island
In Rhode Island, some of the highest-paid medical assistants can be found working in Hopkinton, Rockville, and Hope Valley.
You may expect to find employment at local clinics, physicians’ offices, hospitals, and other medical facilities.
If you find enjoyment in working in the medical environment and performing both clinical and administrative duties, you may excel at a career as a medical assistant.
Popular Medical Assistant Schools in Rhode Island
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Rhode Island?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Rhode Island made an average of $37,860 per year in 2021. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $29,610 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $48,490.