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Medical Assisting Programs in Hawaii

Education and health are Hawaii’s fastest growing fields. There are many health care fields for competent, people-oriented students in Hawaii to select from. Some students choose medical assisting because of the job variety and the chance to fulfill both clerical and patient care duties.

Where do medical assistants end up working? 62% nationally work in doctors’ offices and 11% in the offices of other health practitioners, for example, chiropractors or podiatrists. At settings like these, a Hawaiian MA may sometimes encounter tourists in need of medical assistance. Various ambulatory medical centers, including outpatient surgery, are also possible. A minority of medical assistants work in hospital settings. Some of Hawaii’s medical assistants do work for large facilities like Hawaii Pacific Health. Others are hired to provide health services to military families stationed at Pearl Harbor.

For some, medical assisting is a permanent career. Other medical assistants go on to more specialized or lucrative health care positions. The career path can include health care administration, human services, or medical technology.

Hawaii Medical Assistant Resources

How to Become a Medical Assistant in Hawaii

If you live in a remote area of Hawaii, online education may be an option. Classwork can sometimes be completed through distance learning, but if you desire certification through AAMA or AMT, you will need to do supervised clinical practice in an actual health care facility. (Of course, experience is also necessary for safe and competent practice in any clinical setting.) You will want to ask prospective schools whether their accreditation will allow you to sit for national board exams. Employers like Hawaii Pacific Health, sometimes ask specifically for credentialing through AAMA.

Programs are offered at the certificate and degree level. The curriculum is varied, and will generally include pharmacology, anatomy, record keeping, insurance processing, laboratory techniques, and the fundamentals of patient care. Keyboarding may be a part of the basic program or may be a prerequisite.

An associate’s level program may also include general studies courses like psychology, composition, and critical thinking, which can actually make a person more employable. Communication ability, written and oral, is highly valued in the health care industry; some employers, around the nation, also reward education in more direct ways. Sometimes experience and education can substitute for each other according to complex formulas derived by an employer. There are additional considerations for those who see medical assisting as a stepping stone to another career. An associate’s of applied science is usually considered a terminal degree, but general studies classes often do transfer to a bachelor's program. Workforce courses may transfer at the discretion of individual schools and programs.

Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook in Hawaii

Medical assisting is growing at a rate above the national average for all jobs. The US Department of Labor has anticipated that Hawaii will see 20% growth in its medical assisting industry between the years 2008 and 2018.

The average compensation for a medical assistant in Hawaii is $15.47an hour or $32,020 annually, which is well above the national average. Honolulu, listed at $15.40, employs the bulk of working medical assistants. The nonmetropolitan areas of Kauai, Maui and Hawaii list a marginally higher wage, though, of $15.83. Experience may be a more significant factor in determining actual compensation. A 2009 survey from AAMA suggested that workers in the Pacific region who had ten to fifteen years experience were making $2.90 an hour more than those who had been in the field two years or less.

Actual wages vary, of course. One can search job postings through Indeed.com to see current opportunities. A recent searched turned up postings by health care staffing agencies in Honolulu in the $12.00 to $14.00 an hour range. Colleges are another resource for salary and workplace information. Some colleges and universities, like Heald in Honolulu, compile data about where their graduates have been hired.

You may also want to explore additional options like allied health, nursing and science programs in HI.

Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State

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