Becoming a Medical Assistant in Utah

Medical assisting is an especially promising and fulfilling career field in the state of Utah. Medical assistants are often the first members of the medical staff whom patients meet in a physician’s office or outpatient clinic. These vital workers ensure smooth operations in healthcare settings by performing a wide range of administrative and clinical tasks to support physician operations. From checking in patients to drawing blood, medical assistants are cross-trained to offer a wide skillset to health practices. Medical assistants may work directly with patients by administering medications and removing sutures, or they may work behind the scenes doing medical billing and analyzing basic lab samples.[Leer en español]
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Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Utah

With little or no training required, almost any high school or GED graduate is eligible to become a medical assistant in Utah. However, the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) recommends that healthcare providers hire medical assistants who have completed an accredited training program and received nationally approved certification. Medical assistant applicants should be able to pass a criminal background check, understand and agree to confidentiality policies and understand health workplace safety procedures.

Medical Assistant Training and Educational Programs in Utah

Utah medical assistants who choose to become certified should first enroll in a certificate or associate degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), such as the programs below.
  • Bridgerland Technical College. Located in Logan, this technical school offers a Medical Assisting Certificate that can be completed in 10 months. Students spend about 30 hours per week in classes and are able to take the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam upon completion of the program. The Medical Assisting Review Board reported an 86 percent job placement rate and 99 percent employer satisfaction rate for graduates of this school in 2017.
  • Ogden-Weber Technical College. After students complete the coursework portion of this school’s 10-month medical assistant certificate program, they are required to perform a 240-hour unpaid externship in a physician’s office. This experience offers skills that will give graduates a competitive edge on the job market. The Ogden-based school’s pass rate for the CMA exam is reported to be 89.62 percent.
All accredited programs require completion of a medical assistant practicum, which is an unpaid, supervised, on-site work experience in an ambulatory setting.

Certification for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Utah

The Utah State Society of Medical Assistants (USSMA) is an affiliate of the AAMA and oversees medical assistant certification in the state of Utah. The top medical assistant credentials recommended by the AAMA are the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), because they are the most widely respected and transferrable credentials. Registration for the CMA exam costs $125 for those who have graduated from a CCAHEP-accredited program within the previous 30 days. For all others, registration is $250. The AAMA states that recertification must be completed every 60 weeks for medical assistants to keep their certification.

Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Medical Assistants in Utah

Utah shows great promise for the future of medical assistants. After finding that 7,660 Utah medical assistants were employed in 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that number to grow by as much as 45.8 percent by 2026. Furthermore, Utah offers around 1,340 annual job openings for medical assistants. Utah medical assistant pay is strong, with a mean income reported at $15.39 per hour and $32,101 annually in 2017. Experience earns medical assistants even more. According to the AAMA’s 2018 study, medical assistants in the mountain region of the United States who had over 16 years of experience earned $20.32 per hour on average.

Working as a Medical Assistant in Utah

It’s clearly much easier to find jobs in medical assisting in metropolitan areas of Utah. In 2017, the state’s largest number of medical assistants were employed in Salt Lake City and Ogden-Clearfield. However, nonmetropolitan areas had higher hourly pay rates, averaging more than $16 per hour. With so many great opportunities, one may wonder if the field will become oversaturated. This is doubtful as medical assisting is predicted to grow by 29 percent across the country by 2026. It’s never been a better time to enter this exciting healthcare career, especially in the state of Utah. Alternative careers you might consider are becoming a licensed practical nurse or dental assistant.

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How much do medical assistants earn in the state of Utah?

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants in the state of Utah made an average of $34,090 per year in 2019. Entry-level medical assistants earned around $26,670 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $42,010.

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