Medical Assistant Programs in Alabama
Medical assisting is a growing field in Alabama. The promise of a steady paycheck and a choice of work settings is part of the allure! So is the opportunity to help people — to project reassurance and competence to anxious patients. This, however, is part of the draw of other health professions as well. What is special about medical assisting? Some people feel that the work setting, duties, and job hours are just right. Medical assistants are more likely than LPNs to have regular 9 to 5 hours. They are more likely to be employed in doctors offices as opposed to care facilities or nursing homes. They often have a mixture of job duties, both clerical and clinical.
Prospective medical assistants should know that opportunities for advancement are more likely to come in billing and coding or office administration than in patient care. A person can certainly begin as a medical assistant and go on to become an RN, but if they know at the onset that is what they want to do, it is a less cost-efficient route than beginning as a LPN. For those who are wary of the stresses, irregular hours, or paperwork in a nurse’s life, an education in medical assisting may be just the ticket. The same holds true of the person who has a real talent for making others feel better, but isn’t so fond of math and science.
What is the first step to become a medical assistant in Alabama? To be most competitive for jobs, it is recommended that you start with a formal education. Explore the many medical assistant programs in Alabama to learn more.
Medical Assistant Certification in Alabama
It can be a advantage to have credentialing through AAMA or AMT. There is quite a bit of confusion about the requirements to sit for examinations in medical assisting. Both AMT and AAMA generally require completion of an accredited program. There are some exceptions. AMT will allow medical assistants who have not graduated from an accredited program to sit for board examinations if one of two conditions has been met: 1) The candidate has five or more years of experience in the field or 2) She has received training in medical assisting through the armed forces. It is important research the program to make sure it has an acceptable accreditation.
An accredited program includes instruction in both clinical and clerical duties. Clinical instruction covers common procedures, for instance, vital signs, blood draw, laboratory tests (immunology, hearing, vision, EKG, microbiology, blood sugar) and collecting and processing specimens.
Alabama Medical Assistant Resources
Medical assistants who wish to maintain certification need to do continuing education. There are opportunities online and also through state and regional branches of the national credentialing agencies. The Alabama branch of AAMA has five local chapters. The Alabama State Society of the American Medical Technologists meanwhile sponsors occasional events within the state and also works with the societies of Kentucky, Florida, and several other states. [Learn more about Medical Assistant Certification.]
Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook in Alabama
The job outlook for a medical assistant in Alabama is very favorable. In fact, the Employment Matrix projected 48% growth between 2006 and 2016, with 320 new positions anticipated each year.
Medical assistants average $11.86 an hour in Alabama. The Birmingham-Hoover metropolitan area reports a higher average: $13.18. Montgomery, Mobile, and Huntsville all report salaries between $11.00 and $12.00 an hour. The Western nonmetroplitan areas are also in this range, while the Eastern ones report about a dollar an hour less, putting average salaries in the $10.00 to $11.00 an hour range.
Wages increase somewhat with years on the job. According to a survey by AAMA, medical assistants with three to five years of experience average about a dollar more per hour than those with two or fewer years of experience. Those with 16 or more years on the job, meanwhile, have an average hourly wage more than four dollars higher than that of entry level workers.
Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State
Click Here to find your State and additional information about the Medical Assistant career path.