Medical Assistant Programs in Connecticut
What are the duties of a medical assistant? They are many and varied, if one is to judge by a recent job posting in East Hartford. The medical assistant may be asked to greet patients, obtain medical histories, take vital signs, perform ancillary tests, maintain equipment, set up for surgery, and put in hours in the medical front office. In short, medical assistants are responsible for many of the day to day operations of the doctors office.
MAs differ from LPNs in several ways. Their clinical training is less extensive, and they generally can’t perform invasive procedures like IVs. In Connecticut, MAs are also prohibited from administering medication or doing radiography. Another important distinction is that LPNs are licensed while MAs work under a physician’s license, doing only those duties a health professional has delegated and is directly supervising. In some cases, nurses as well as doctors may delegate.
Why do people select medical assisting over other health professions? Some people consider the medical assisting job less stressful. They may also prefer the more regular ‘bankers hours’. The first step in any event is to find a formal education training program.
Medical Assistant Certification in Connecticut
Some Connecticut employers prefer nationally certified medical assistants. The best known certifying agencies are AAMA, which offers the Certified Medical Assistant credential and AMT which offers the Registered Medical Assistant credential.
Connecticut Medical Assistant Resources
For those seeking certification through AMT, the following requirements apply. A candidate must have graduated from a program that is accredited by an acceptable agency unless they have five years work experience. There are three options for program completion. The first is a program that is accredited through either ABHES or CAAHEP. The second is a regionally accredited school that meets the minimum requirements of 720 clock hours of training. Of these, 160 must be in the form of an externship (or work experience program). The third option is a medical services program administered by the United States Armed Forces.
In most cases, a candidate must then pass an examination through AMT. An exception is granted for candidates who have both of the following: 1) sufficient work experience over the pass five years and 2) passing scores on an exam administered by another approved credentialing agency. A practice test is available online.
For Connecticut MAs seeking certification through AAMA, the process is very similar. However, a person must graduate from an accredited institution in order to sit for AAMA examinations, regardless of their work history.[Learn more about the certification process for Medical Assistants]
Connecticut’s medical assistants may also become members of the Connecticut chapter of AAMA, CTSMA. They can turn to the organization for various information including how to maintain their CPR certification. Regional branches also offer CEU sessions which can be helpful for those who maintain national certification. There are five local chapters. Job postings may also be found on the CTSMA site.
Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook in Connecticut
The National Job Matrix predicts job growth and decline over a ten year period. According to their projections, the medical assisting industry will grow considerably in the years to 2016. In Connecticut, 31% growth is projected over that time period, with total positions climbing from 4,990 to 6,520.
The latest statistics from the CT Department of Labor and the BLS are predicting 17.6% job growth through 2018 for medical assistants in CT. The data also estimates an average annual salary of $34,105 for medical assistants in CT as of the first quarter of 2012.
There are jobs to be had for qualified medical assistants. What are the expected earnings? Most medical assistants are paid by the hour, but have some benefits. The average hourly wage for medical assistants in Connecticut is $16.44 per hour, according to the BLS. This is the fourth highest in the United States. The Bridgeport and New Haven areas have the highest salaries in the state. Both top $17.00 an hour. Greater Hartford is at $16.30 and Danbury at $15.82. The nonmetropolitan areas of the northwest have higher wages than those in the eastern part of the state. A separate Payscale survey lists Hartford, Connecticut seventh in the nation for certified medical assistants.
If you are still unsure of the medical assisting path being the right thing for you, check out other allied health, nursing and science programs in CT.
Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State
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