Medical Assistant Programs in Iowa

Medical assistants are a part of a doctor’s front line, and their duties can be quite varied. What clinical duties is a medical assistant allowed to perform in Iowa? There are many. A better question might be what duties she is not allowed. In a 2006 statement to the American Association of Medical Assistants, Legal Counsel Balasa said that he had found nothing in Iowa’s laws that prevented delegation of such medical duties as giving injections or calling in prescriptions. He indicated that even IVs appeared to be within allowable duties, subject to malpractice insurance policy, if the medical assistant was capable and had documented training related to the procedure. (Of course this is not the most common job duty for medical assistants.)

The highest wages for Medical Assistants in the state can be found in the Des Moines metropolitan area. Source: BLS

Medical assistants are not nurses; they are precluded from duties that require professional judgment. They can relate information over the phone but can not perform telephone triage because triage is considered to require higher levels of professional knowledge. Medical assistants’ training focuses more on learning particular tasks than on theories and decision making processes. One advantage to this is that they may find themselves working with patients after a relatively short training period. In as little as six month in some cases.

Some medical assistants do spend a big part of their time managing the front desk or taking down patients’ weights and vital signs. In a smaller practice, though, duties can run the gamut from blood draw to laboratory tests to clerical work. Sound like a job for you? If so, you may want to train to become a medical assistant. Finding a formal training program such as a certificate, diploma or associate's degree program is a good place to start.

Medical Assistant Certification in Iowa

Iowa Medical Assistant Resources

A typical course of study includes core health courses like medical terminology and physiology, plus instruction on how to do blood draws and electrocardiograms, and assist with minor clinical and surgical procedures. Administrative and clerical coursework may include keyboarding, office management, and the basics of processing health insurance. Some medical assistant programs include general studies coursework. Medical assistants in Iowa also have the option of taking programs that include limited radiography.

Generally, a student will do well to choose a program that allows her or him to sit for board exams after graduation. If she chooses to be certified through AAMA, which is considered the gold standard by many, she or he will need to do continuing education each renewal period. Some Iowa certified medical assistants rely on state and local chapters of their certifying agency for continuing education opportunities. Iowa has an active AAMA community, with eight local chapters. Some, like the Ames chapter, hold monthly meetings. (The frequency of meetings, an AAMA professional has noted, is not an indicator of the number of continuing education units offered.)

Iowa has an active AAMA community, with eight local chapters.

Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook in Iowa

Professional organizations can be a job resource as well an educational one. One can also look on the website of ISMA (the state affiliate of AAMA) to see positions posted for certified medical assistants. Medical assistants can also find career resources on the Iowa Workforce Development site.

Medical assistants in Iowa enjoy an average wage of $13.96 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The highest wages in the state are in the Des Moines metropolitan area, which reports $15.84 as an average. The Iowa City average and the Cedar Rapids are nearly identical, at $14.24 and $14.19 respectively. The nonmetropolitan areas of the state average a little less than $13.00. Actual income varies of course. People who are new to medical assisting tend to earn less than the mean; those who have been in the field a number of years earn more. Work setting is another factor. Nationwide, the majority of positions are in offices of physicians, but there are some specialty settings that pay more. As with any field, it pays to distinguish oneself.

there are many additional allied health, nursing, science and pre-professional programs in Iowa...Check them out here.

Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State

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