Medical Assisting Programs in South Carolina

The face of the medical assisting profession is changing. More and more, employers are seeking educated and certified candidates, and schools are rising to the challenge. Professional organizations are rising to the challenge, too, offering continuing education in a range of health and technology related topics.

For some insight into just how professional the field has become, one can also look on the website of the South Carolina Society of Medical Assistants or join them for a little ‘Carolina’s Bowl of Knowledge’ at the National Convention of the American Association of Medical Assistants; the very active North and South Carolina branches of AAMA have hosted the event two years running.

How to Become a Medical Assistant in South Carolina

There are a number of medical assistant training programs in South Carolina that are accredited by CAAHEP or other recognized accrediting organizations. These vary in scheduling and format, but they all teach the essential skills which are assessed on the certifying exams of the American Association of Medical Assistants and the American Medical Technologists. If you look at the study guides posted on either AAMA or AMT, you’ll get a sense of just how broad the scope is; clinical and clerical procedures are both assessed in some depth.

Program entrance requirements vary, but a GPA of 2.0 or higher is generally expected. Placement exams may also be required, and there may be technical standards as well. Students are expected to have the visual and auditory ability necessary to respond to alarms, and to possess fine motor skills and lifting ability. This is to assure that medical assistants can in fact perform clinical duties safely and competently -- and that their tuition money is not wasted. Students with disabilities can contact a designated person to discuss.

Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook in South Carolina

According to data compiled by the South Carolina Employment Security Commission, jobs for medical assistants in the state are expected to grow by 34% in the decade 2008 to 2018 -- a rate identical to the national average for this particular occupation. Wages are also close to the national average, though slightly below, with a midrange (middle 50% of workers) earning between $9.95 and $15.25. The most workers, not surprisingly, are found in the greater Charleston, Greenville, and Columbia metropolitan areas. The Charleston-North Charleston metropolitan area boasts 1,970 workers and pays an average $12.95, according to BLS figures. Greenville, which boasts 1,480, pays an average $14.45 -- fully $1.50 an hour more. Here, certified workers are sometimes employed under the banner of the Greenville Hospital System and Bon Secours St Francis. Columbia reports similar figures to Greenville: 1,160 workers and a wage of $14.48.

And what of the smaller South Carolina communities? Here there is quite a wide range of wages. The Lower Savannah nonmetropolitan region, though employing just 230, pays the most generous wages in the state: $16.38. The Upper Savannah region is significantly lower at $12.74. The Low County is listed at $14.20, Myrtle Beach at $14.34, and Sumter at $10.74.

There are may resources available for different stages of your medical assisting career. Graduates can create a resume and access other resources with Virtual OneStop (VOS). Another career resource can be found in the state chapters of the national certifying agencies. The South Carolina State Society of the American Medical Technologists is 764 members strong. They will host Carolina’s Clinical Connection in March of 2011. The South Carolina Society of Medical Assistants also has seven local branches. Each one has a page on the SCSMA which describes its activities; generally, each one holds a monthly meeting; Though the organization is an affiliate of AAMA, a medical professional does not have to be a CMA (AAMA) to attend events. A representative notes that they educate people on a range of issues, including radiography and podiatry as well as the more general administrative and clinical issues.

Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State

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