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Medical Assisting Programs in Utah

How would you like to work with children in a pediatrician’s or primary care office: weighing and measuring youngsters, reassuring them, testing their vision, and answering their spontaneous and not too technical questions: “What’s that machine? What does your badge say? Will that hurt?�

Utah is a good place to do just that! Why? Medical assisting is one of the most rapidly growing professions around the country, but especially in Utah. Medical assistants are trained specifically for ambulatory settings -- e.g. doctors’ offices. This includes, of course, offices of pediatricians and primary care providers, and Utah has a greater percentage of children than any other state in the union. Approximately 33% of the state’s population is eighteen or under. Yes, some of these children have chronic, serious illnesses, but many just drop in for their annual well child visit, their routine inoculations, and the occasional strep infection. It’s a world of small hurts.

Medical assistants also work under the supervision of various heath care practitioners including those in specialty settings like dermatology and cardiology or cancer. What does a medical assistant do in these health settings? Their duties can be far reaching, and can include procedures like finger pricks, glucose testing, and hemoccults.

How to Become a Medical Assistant in Utah

There are many open positions for MAs in Utah that can be found posted on the internet. Many employers do prefer formal education, though, and even certification. In order to be certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or the American Medical Technologists (AMT), a student must enroll in a program that has been accredited by ABHES, CAAHEP, or a recognized regional accrediting body. You can learn more about eligibility on the organization's respective websites.

What can students expect to learn from an accredited program? AAMA divides competencies into three core areas: general, administrative, and clinical. General competencies include having a basic understanding of anatomy and medical terminology, as well as being able to communicate effectively with patients from different demographic groups. Administrative competencies include medical records release and principles of billing, coding, and bookkeeping. Clinical competencies, meanwhile, include everything from infection control to taking vital signs. Accredited programs end with supervised practice in real world healthcare settings.

Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook in Utah

In 2008, the United States Bureau of Labor made a staggering prediction: that Utah’s medical assisting industry would undergo 53% growth over the next decade. This translates into 340 annual job openings.

There are certainly medical assistant jobs to be had in Utah. Even so, some new graduates get discouraged. It’s important to remember that not all positions are posted nationwide, and that nationally posted ones may not be the easiest ones to land, especially for a new graduate. Some medical assistants pound the pavement while others turn to staffing agencies. Some medical assistants in Utah have found success with Wsi Healthcare Personnel.

What can a medical assistant hope to earn? $12.95 per hour was reported as the state wage average, but averages varied by as much as several dollars from region to region. Salt Lake City, not surprisingly, employed the greatest number of medical assistants: 2,610. Employers there paid their MAs on average $13.63 a hour. The greater Ogden and Provost areas, which employed nearly 1,000 workers each, paid $11.88 and $12.27 respectively. The nationwide tendency is for MAs in the nonmetropolitan areas to bring home the lowest wages in the state, but not in Utah. The 110 medical assistants in the Eastern part of the state saw a solid $14.96 a hour. St George, Utah had just 460 medical assistants, but given its relatively low population, had the highest concentration of medical assisting workers of any city in the nation: 9.629 per thousand.

Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State

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