How to Become a Medical Assistant in Texas
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment opportunities for medical assistants are estimated to grow at a much faster rate than the national average, with medical assistants filling the ranks 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]
Earning your diploma is the first career step towards entering the hugely promising medical field. With varied administrative and technical skills, you would be tasked with working as a team member side by side with specialist doctors, general practitioners, nurses, and others on the health care team.
Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
Medical assistants are multi-skilled health professionals specifically trained to work in ambulatory care settings performing both clinical and administrative tasks. The duties of medical assistants vary from office to office, depending on the size and type of practice. In small practices, medical assistants usually handle both administrative and clinical duties while in larger practices they may be assigned specific tasks.
Administrative duties may include:
- Answering phones
- Scheduling appointments
- Filing and maintaining patient medical records
- Arranging laboratory services
- Completing and filing insurance forms
Clinical duties may include:
- Taking and recording patients’ vital signs such as height, weight, blood pressure, temperature, etc.
- Drawing blood and collecting urine samples
- Preparing patients for examination
- Assisting the physician during the exam
- Instructing patients on taking medication and other home care instructions
- Performing basic laboratory tests
- Maintaining equipment and stocking supplies
- Sterilizing instruments
Texas State Requirements
Although many hospitals and other healthcare 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:
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, 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 Assistant – Certification in Texas
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) from 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.
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Certification in Texas
To become a certified medical assistant in Texas, you must first graduate from an accredited medical assisting program. The two nationally recognized accrediting organizations for medical assisting programs are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
After you graduate from an accredited program, you will then need to sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credentialing exam offered by American Medical Technologists (AMT).
Licensed Medical Assistant (LMA) Certification in Texas
To become a licensed medical assistant in Texas, you must first graduate from an accredited medical assisting program. The two nationally recognized accrediting organizations for medical assisting programs are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
After you graduate from an accredited program, you will then need to sit for the Licensed Medical Assistant (LMA) credentialing exam offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Eligibility requirements for each type of credential are available on the websites of the certifying organizations:
AMT – Registered Medical Assistant
AAMA – Certified Medical Assistant
TMB – Licensed Medical Assistant
Medical Assistant Job Outlook in Texas
There 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 2020 was 72,040. This is estimated to increase to an annual average of 92,940 by 2030, for an addition of 20,900 new jobs, and a growth rate of 29% over the decade).
There are 11,640 total annual openings and the average hourly wage in 2020 was $17.08, or an annual wage of $35,520.
Salaries for Medical Assistants in Texas
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), salary ranges are as follows:
Overall mean hourly wage = $17.08 (this compares with $18.65 in California, $17.65 in Florida, and $18.20 in New York). The corresponding mean annual wage for Texas is $35,520.
The Texas annual mean entry-level wage (lowest 10%) is $13.25 ($27,570 on an annual basis). This goes up to a mean hourly wage of $14.13 for the first 25% ($29,390 on an annual basis).
The Texas annual median hourly wage for the first 25% is $17.08, increasing to $17.98 for the first 75% ($37,400 annually), and $22.04 for the first 90% ($45,850 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 $22.55 ($46,900 annually)
- Austin-Round Rock: hourly mean wage of $22.39 ($46,570 annually)
- Corpus Christi: hourly mean wage of $18.11 ($37,660 annually)
- San Antonio-New Braunfels: hourly mean wage of $18.30 ($38,070 annually)
- Fort Worth-Arlington: hourly mean wage of $15.09 ($31,390 annually)
Well-Known Schools in Texas
The 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. Given 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 viscounts 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.
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 on preparing you to get a job quickly after graduation, and their medical assistant certificate is accredited 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 options are plentiful in Texas. To cite just 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
1 CAAHEP refers to the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
2 ABHES refers to Accredited Bureau of Health Education Schools
Popular Medical Assistant Schools in Texas
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 $35,520 per year in 2021. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $27,570 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $45,850.