Medical Assistant Programs in Louisiana

What are the duties of a medical assistant? They can be many and varied, if one is to judge by a recent posting from Kelly Health care Resources in Norco. A medical assistant may be asked to perform various medical tests, including vision and hair analysis; the same person may also be asked to handle administrative tasks like appointment scheduling and processing of online medical records. This job variety is a part of what draws people to the field.

34% job growth over the next decade for The medical assisting field in LA. ~BLS Data

Unlike licensed practical nurses, medical assistants work under the license of a doctor or other medical professional. Their medical duties do not involve assessment or evaluation and generally do not include invasive procedures either. Although education is different, and roles are generally differentiated, medical assistants and licensed practical nurses in Louisiana occasionally do compete for the same positions.

How to Become a Medical Assistant in Louisiana

Medical assistant students can expect to learn medical terminology, physiology, medical law, and a variety of clinical, laboratory, and office procedures. A program of study in Louisiana can also include general studies courses like composition and rhetoric. Students may also be able to pursue electives in areas like electrocardiography or microbiology.

There are many academic decisions to be made, like whether to pursue the fastest track or whether to take additional courses that can increase career options down the road. Students will want to ask prospective schools whether program completion will allow them to take national board certification exams through AAMA and/or AMT. Any CAAHEP or ABHES accredited school is acceptable. Regionally accredited schools may also be acceptable if they fulfill minimum requirements. The difference between an associate’s and a shorter program, surprisingly, may have immediate career implications. MCLNO posted formulas for evaluating job experience; at their organization, completion of a CAAHEP accredited program was considered equal to a year’s experience, but if the program was at the associate’s level, it counted for two.

When you go to apply for positions, you will likely see that CPR certification is mandatory and other certifications may be either required or preferred. Actual requirements vary a good deal. Sometimes the same employer will advertise multiple positions which ask different levels of expertise. Christus Health, for instance, was looking to fill both certified and noncertified vacancies in early 2011.

Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook in Louisiana

The Bureau of Labor projects that Louisiana’s medical assisting industry would see 34% growth over the next decade (a percentage that exactly matched that of the United States as a whole). In Louisiana, as in the rest of the country, medical assisting is growing at a rate very much above the average for all jobs.

The average medical assistant salary in Louisiana was $12.26 in 2009. Following the national trend of offering better compensation in major metropolitan areas, the highest wages in the state ($13.14) were in New Orleans. This region also employed the most workers. The number was listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as 1,870; Baton Rouge was just below New Orleans in both wages ($12.73) and employment (960). Shreveport followed behind with a wage average of $12.38. The lowest figures in the state were in the Lake Charles and New Iberia nonmetropolitan regions, both of which reported wages under $11.00. Other nonmetropolitan regions in the state had solid wages. The Natchitoches region, in fact, was an impressive $12.47.

Starting salaries are often slightly less; it can be helpful to ask one’s college or university. The website of Bossier Parish Community college lists $22,000 to $24,000 as the typical range for recent graduates in the Shreveport-Bossier metropolitan area. The Louisiana Workforce Commission is also a resource for those searching for work within the state.

You may also be interested in additional allied health, nursing, science and pre-professional programs in LA.

Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State

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