How to Become a Medical Assistant in Vermont
Medical assistants are, and will continue to be, in demand throughout the U.S. According to the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), growth can be attributed to a rise in the number of healthcare facilities, technological advances and a growing aging population. Nationwide, demand for this job is expected to remain high for at least the next four to eight years.[Leer en español]
Medical assistants work alongside all kinds of caregivers, from physicians to specialists. They work in outpatient settings, medical clinics and doctors’ offices. Often, their role is related to coordination, tracking and performance, so they may be acting as both a medical and an office assistant. They may perform administrative duties such as answering phones, updating patient records and coordinating insurance documents.
Requirements for Becoming a Medical Assistant in Vermont
Though no formal certification is legally required to be a medical assistant, most employers prefer to hire Certified Medical Assistants (CMAs). Many colleges offer formal training, which may be offered as certificate, diploma or degree programs. State licensing is not required, but some specialty areas require more extensive training.
Medical assistant programs that focus more on office and administrative procedures tend to be shorter in duration and less expensive but will not offer the depth of experience as two-year associate’s degree programs. Thus, those who are interested in patient care should consider more intensive training programs. Coursework tends to be fairly similar between schools and will typically cover administrative procedures, anatomy, procedural training, ethics, insurance, law, terminology, physiology and more.
Medical Assistant Classes and Educational Programs in Vermont
There are a number of great schools and medical assistant programs located throughout the state. Some are focused on administration and office procedures, but most are comprehensive programs that cover both administrative and clinical training.
Educational options in Vermont include the following:
- The Community College of Vermont Medical Assisting Program gives students the chance to cover all of the basics in a fully supportive community college environment. This is a two-year program in which you will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and gain clinical experience. At the end of the program, you will be eligible to complete the CMA or RMA exam. This program is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
- Ashworth College offers two programs related to medical assistant training: the Administrative Medical Assistant certificate (three months) and the Medical Office Assistant diploma (six months) by distance education. These are both administrative, not clinical, programs.
- Bryant and Stratton College has a Medical Administrative Assistant degree program, which conveys an Associate of Applied Science degree. This is a comprehensive, online program, and graduates are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and may register for the Medical Reimbursement Specialist examination.
- The College of Health Care Professionals offers an online Medical Assisting program, which, when completed, results in an Associate of Applied Science degree and qualifies students for the Certified Medical Assistant examination. This comprehensive program is accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools(ABHES).
Certification for Becoming a Medical Assistant
In order to become licensed as a CMA, you must have your postsecondary education as well as be 18 years of age or older. Most states do not have formal requirements, but employers for the most part will prioritize hiring of medical assistant with certifications from accredited institutions.
According to the National Commission for Certifying Agencies , there are five national certifications that you can acquire in your medical assistant training, but the main two are Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) and Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), each of which has different prerequisites, including work and teaching experience. Experience in the U.S. Armed Forces may also be applied. Be sure to review the guidelines carefully before determining the best course of training.
Here are the different classifications:
- You can get a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the AAMA.
- You may become a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from American Medical Technologists.
- The National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) is acquired via the National Center for Competency Testing.
- The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and The Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) may be acquired via the National Healthcareer Association.
Visit the Health Department of Vermont website for more information on state licensing and certification requirements.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations for Vermont
Vermont has some of the highest salaries but lowest employment levels for medical assistants, meaning that competition is high and vacancies are low (there are about 90 per year) compared to the national average. There are currently 660 medical assistants working in Vermont, and this number is expected to grow by around 17 percent over the next eight years.
At an average of $17.83 per hour, or $37,080 per year, mean salary levels are slightly higher in Vermont than in other states and vary depending on experience, education and work setting. Though entry-level salaries may start at less than $30,000 annually, experienced professionals make around $44,000 per year.
Working as a Medical Assistant in Vermont
Medical assistants have high-pressure, high responsibility jobs that are full of variety and almost always involve working closely with patients. To this end, interpersonal skills and empathy with professionalism are musts. Medical assistants must also be analytical, detail-oriented and in many cases be adept at using specialized medical technology and instruments.
Medical assistants may work in various settings, including emergency services, hospitals, private care clinics, specialty offices and nursing care facilities, and always work under the supervision of medical professionals such as physicians and nurses. Their main tasks tend to revolve around assisting, educating, informing, scheduling and tracking.
Medical assisting offers a great amount of variety and choice when it comes to career direction, and nationally jobs will remain plentiful in this field.
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Tuition: In-State $6,222, Out-of-State $12,294
Institutional Accreditation: New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education