Medical Assisting Programs in Idaho
For a medical assistant in Idaho, job duties are far ranging. They can be as simple as walking patients to the examination room or as complex as collecting blood or tissue samples. Other common duties including taking weight and vital signs, giving injections, and administering doses of medicine. Administrative tasks may include scheduling appointments or lab tests, billing, completing insurance forms, and maintaining inventories of equipment. Medical assistants may also operate EKG and x-ray machines (though the state does have special requirements for those who give x-rays). Some medical assistants have specialized duties; others, particularly those who work at smaller doctors’ offices, find themselves doing a little bit of everything.
What are the general expectations? A prospective medical assistant in Idaho should have a high school diploma or equivalency and complete some type of training program.
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Idaho
Idaho Medical Assistant Resources
Increasingly, employers are seeking both formal education and certification. A training program in medical assisting generally includes basic health courses like physiology, pharmacology, and medical nomenclature. Also included are duties of both front and back office. Coursework may be completed at a distance, but an accredited program will include an externship which involves medical assisting practice in the real world. Completion of a properly accredited program allows a student to take a national exam through either AMT or AAMA. Both organizations publish exam outlines online. The AAMA exam covers a range of lab tests (immunology, hearing, and vision, microbiology, EKG and blood sugar) as well as collecting and processing specimens. Front office duties that may be tested include coding systems, third payer billing (e.g. HMOs, PPOs, Medicaid, ) and scheduling appointments and following up on them.
Educational programs may be selective, choosing candidates by a point system, for example. The admission process will vary, but can include submission of Compass test scores, keyboarding test scores, and letters of reference. Some programs may even ask for a candidate statement in the form of a cover letter. Before beginning a clinical externship, a student will be asked to provide evidence of generally good health. CPR training will also be required.
Although they are not part of the standard track for medical assisting, Idaho courses may include limited radiography; a medical assistant may also pursue these studies separately. Idaho requires board exams for medical assistants who do x-rays as part of their job duties. Check out the Radiology Technician Schools in Idaho if this area interests you.
Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook in Idaho
Here’s a bit of good news for Idaho’s prospective medical assistants: The Department of Labor posted an anticipated growth rate of 32% in the 2008 to 2018 decade.
What is the average salary for Idaho medical assistants? The BLS lists a figure of $13.90, though there is a range, with about 10% earning less than $9.89 and 10% earning more than $18.15. Why do those at the 90th percentile earn nearly twice as much as those at the 10th? Part of the answer is that hourly wages go up with experience. According to a 2010 survey by AAMA, medical assistants with 10 to 15 years of experience were seeing more than $46,000 a year more than their counterparts with two or fewer years experience. Speaking of the AAMA, there are no professional Medical Assistant associations currently in the state of Idaho. Medical Assistants as well as future Medical Assistants may be well served to explore becoming a member of the National organization.
Location within the state also makes a significant difference. Boise has a state-topping average of $14.99. Other regions of the state are between $11.00 and $14.00. Idaho Falls is listed at $13.57, Coeur d’Alene $12.37, and Lewiston $12.92 Most of the nonmetropolitan regions are also in this range. The nonmetropolitan areas of the north, though, average just $11.91. (Of course, one should also take into account cost of living differences between regions.)
You may also want to explore additional allied health, nursing and science programs in ID.
Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State
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