Medical Assistant Programs in Minnesota
Medical assistants are multi-talented health care support persons who perform a wide range of both patient care and clerical duties. They can sometimes be found with a needle in hand, drawing blood for laboratory testing, and other times on the telephone, scheduling appointments. Nationwide, doctors’ offices are the most common work setting for medical assistants. Some medical assistants, though, are employed by chiropractors and other health practitioners. A variety of other settings are also possible. Many people with modern, busy lifestyles like to go to some central location for multiple services; even the national retail chain Target has been known to employ medical assistants in Minnesota!
Medical assisting may be a lifelong career or part of a career path. Health care administration is a common future career for ambitious medical assistants. Some medical assistants go on to receive credentialing as medical coders as well; a CCS or CPC after a person’s name indicates they are also a certified coder. There are other opportunities for especially dedicated and well qualified individuals. Some certified medical assistants at the University of Minnesota, for example, are involved in health research. The university recently advertised for a certified medical assistant who could spend 40% of her time in clinical duties and 40% in research. [See the list of Medical Assistant programs in MN here.]
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Minnesota
Minnesota's Medical Assistant Organizations
In Minnesota, individual employers set the standards for medical assisting, and they set them high. A job scan in 2011 through Indeed.com revealed a number of employers specifying credentialing as either a CMA (AAMA) or RMA (AMT). This is not always the case, of course. Ridgeview Medical Center in the Twin Cities area, for instance, asked only for program completion or experience. Having credentials that demonstrate competency, though, can be an obvious career asset. The AAMA exam tests competency in three areas: general, clinical, and administrative.
Before investing large amounts of resources in medical assistant training, you will want to ask about the school’s accreditation and what exams you will be allowed to sit for at program completion. AAMA certification requires completion of an ABHES or CAAHEP accredited program. AMT generally does require completion of a medical assisting program, but makes exception for those who have military medical services training or five years experience in the field.
Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook in Minnesota
The Minnesota State Society of Medical Assistants, MNSMA, is another career and educational resource for the state’s certified professionals. Local chapters span most areas of the North Star State. A representative notes that there are six active ones: the Great Lakes, East Central, Hennepin-Ramsey, South East, South Suburban, and West Central Chapters, and that one can look on the site of MNSMA.org to see what events are scheduled. The 2011 Spring conference in St Cloud is among the upcoming highlights.
What compensation comes with employment? Like most professionals, medical assistants start somewhat below the mean, but earn higher salaries as time goes on. In Minnesota, they average a healthy $15.80 an hour. In some metropolitan areas, the wages are even higher. Rochester, in fact, is listed as the 5th highest paying division in the nation at $18.31. The Minneapolis-St Paul area is listed at $16.41. This large metropolitan area, of course, also employs the most medical assistants of any region in the state. Even taking into account that some Wisconsin medical assistants are included in the data, 5,390 is an impressive figure. Most of Minnesota’s nometropolitan areas, by contrast, hover at close to $13.00. The rural areas in the southwestern part of the state are the highest at $13.72.
The BLS predicted in 2008 that the coming decade would see 28% growth in Minnesota’s medical assistant industry, with approximately 270 positions open a year, due to a combination of worker attrition and newly created jobs.
Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State
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