How to Become a Medical Assistant in TexasAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for medical assistants is estimated to grow at a much faster rate than the national average, with medical assistants filling the ranks of among the fastest professions in the U.S. over the next decade. What is fueling this growth in demand for medical assistants is the rapidly growing elderly population. Simply put, people are living longer, carrying more chronic illnesses than ever before. [Leer en español]
Texas State RequirementsAlthough many hospitals and other health care establishments hire most of their medical assistants only after they become certified, you could also be hired into entry-level assistant positions. Here is the difference between those two: Medical assistants: For medical assistants, the State of Texas does not have any specific licensing or certification requirements, other than being aware of the regulations of the Texas Medical Board. The Board empowers licensed health care providers, at their discretion, to train employees, either through a formal study program, or by way of hands-on training, or both. The licensed health practitioner can nevertheless naturally require that the medical assistant they hire be certified. Certified medical assistants: While the State of Texas does not have a certification requirement, you can obtain a certificate through one of these two certifying institutions, both accredited by the Texas Medical Board:
- You can get a national certification as a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) by American Medical technologists (AMT). AMT provides a list of study requirements that lead to the exam you must pass to obtain your certification.
- Or you can also get nationally certified as a Certified” Medical Assistant (CMA) by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). They require that you first graduate from an accredited medical assisting program (CAAHEP1 or ABHES2), then sit for their exam.
Job outlookThere is an ongoing and fast-growing demand for medical assistants in Texas, mostly due to the aging population, advances in technology, and the increase in chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, heart problems, cancer, dementia, and other medical conditions. The entry-level education needed in Texas is post-secondary vocational. The annual average employment of medical assistants in Texas in 2014 was 55,600. This is estimated to increase to an annual average of 74,690 by 2024, for an addition of 19,090 new jobs, and a growth rate of 34.3% over the decade). There are 3,070 total annual openings, broken down into 1910 new openings due to growth in demand, and 1,160 jobs that replace medical assistants, many of whom presumably moved on to higher education. The average hourly wage in 2016 was $14.56, or an annual wage of $30,270.
Salaries for Medical Assistants in TexasAccording to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), salary ranges are as follows: Overall mean hourly wage = $14.56 (this compares with $17.61 in California, $14.94 in Florida, and $17.08 in New York). The corresponding mean annual wage for Texas is $30,270. The Texas annual mean entry-level wage (lowest 10%) is $10.22 ($24,390 on an annual basis). This goes up to a mean hourly wage of $11.98 for the first 25% ($24,920 on an annual basis). The Texas annual median hourly wage for the first 25% is $14.23, increasing to $17.00 for the first 75% ($29,600 annually), and to $19.09 for the first 90% ($39,710 annually). The top 10% can naturally earn more. Texas entry-level (First 10%) wages break down into the following sample of regions:
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington: hourly mean wage of $15.55 ($32,350 annually)
- Austin-Round Rock: hourly mean wage of $15.28 ($31,770 annually)
- Corpus Christi: hourly mean wage of $12.74 ($26,500 annually)
- San Antonio-New Braunfels: hourly mean wage of $14.48 ($30,130 annually)
- Fort Worth-Arlington: hourly mean wage of $15.09 ($31,390 annually)
Well-Known Schools in TexasThe first thing to do is pick from the list we provide those medical assistant schools that are close to you and research them carefully. Generally, a one-year diploma at a vocational school costs $1,200-$4,000+, depending on each program. The same can cost $2,500-$10,000 for an associate’s degree at a community college. In view of these disparities, you will need to contact the school of your choice and ask about tuition costs and other expenses. Here though is a description of what a few typical schools offer: El Paso Community College: Located at 9050 viscount Boulevard, El Paso, Texas 79925 (915-831-2200), and with 5 other locations throughout El Paso, this college offers a 2-year, 4-semester Medical Assisting Applied Science Degree (code: AAS-MDCA), with courses that start with Medical Law and Ethics, Medical Terminology, and then span on to technology courses and various practical courses in labs. El Paso is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges. Brightwood College-Dallas: Located at 12005 Ford Road, Suite 100, Dallas, Texas 75243 (972-481-7400), and with other campuses in Beaumont, Brownsville, Houston, and other cities, Brightwood offers accelerated one-year certification programs that combine flexible schedules, with emphasis for preparing you to get a job quickly after graduation, and their medical assistant certificate is accredit by Council on Occupational Education. Southern Career Institute-Austin: Located on a new campus at 2301 S Congress Ste 27, Austin, Texas 78704 (844-783-6569), and with campuses also in Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Pharr, and San Antonio, SCI offers a one-year medical assistant certification program on these campuses as well as online and via evening studies. SCI is accredited by Council on Occupational Education. Fortis College-Grand Prairie: Located at 401 E Palace Parkway, Suite 100, Grand Prairie, Texas 75050 (972-375-0006), and with campuses also in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and in Houston, Fortis offers a one-year Medical Technologist certificate that is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools.
Employment OptionsEmployment options are plentiful in Texas. To cite just the one example of the Houston area, there are numerous hospitals, specialized doctors’ offices and other medical centers to which you could apply. Here are but a few:
- St, Luke’s Episcopal Hospital
- St. Joseph Medical Center
- Shriners Hospital for Children
- Jefferson Davis Hospital
- Houston Methodist
- Baylor College of Medicine
- Houston Area Community Services
- And many more
References1 CAAHEP refers to Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs 2 ABHES refers to Accredited Bureau of Health Education Schools Other alternative career options include dental assisting and licensed practical nursing.
How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Texas?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Texas made an average of $32,550 per year in 2019. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $23,020 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $42,640.