Medical Assistant Programs in Montana
Do you have good people skills and the ability to put a smile on the face of those who are anxious or tired? Does the growing health care field call to you? If you enjoy performing a variety of tasks each day, and you’re equally drawn to the clerical and clinical aspects of patient care, a career in medical assisting might be right for you. A medical assistant differs from other health care support workers in that she is a generalist, at ease in the examining room, the lab, and the front office. Duties can run the gamut from taking vital signs to performing routine medical tests and billing insurance companies.
Some medical assistants do choose to specialize at a later point in their career. They may make the transition to health care administration or they may pursue certifications in medical technologies like radiology or echocardiogram testing. Some become certified as coding specialists.
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Montana
Montana’s Medical Assistant Organizations/ Resources
What can a medical assisting student expect to learn in Montana? The course of study will begin with anatomy and other medical foundation courses, and also business writing or an introduction to the medical front office. As the program progresses, the student will learn a wide variety of procedures applicable to the examination room, laboratory, and front desk. Clinical skills include assisting with examinations and routine patient care, doing basic diagnostic testing, and applying universal precautions to prevent exposure to pathogens. Clerical and administrative skills include bookkeeping, processing insurance claims, and handling health care records. There may also be electives offered in microbiology or machine transcription.
Accredited programs include real world work experience toward the end of the program. What is the advantage of an accredited program? They may have more respect in the eyes of future employers, and they also qualify students for national board exams. In order to take the qualifying test to become a CMA (AAMA) or RMA (AMT), one must complete a program that has been accredited by an agency approved by the Department of Education.
There are fewer traditional programs in Montana than in some other states, but there are some accredited programs available online as well. If you choose this route, you will complete assignments at a distance but still put in time in a medical facility near you.
Job Outlook – Medical Assistants in Montana
Just because Montana has a more spread out population than many states, it doesn’t mean the state’s medical assistants are without professional and career resources. An MA can become a member of the Northwest Tri-State Society of American Medical Technologists and attend events like the 2012 Northwest Medical Laboratory Symposium. At such events, she can join up with other medical assistants, as well as those who work in more specialized laboratory fields.
According to government figures posted on Career One Stop, Montana’s medical assistants have a median hourly wage of $13.06. A large range is reported, however. 10% of medical assistants in Montana earned more than $17.75, and another 10% earned hourly wages less than $9.66. Experience is a factor; geographic location within the state also makes some difference. According to the BLS, the highest earnings are in Missoula where medical assistants reported a mean wage of $13.82 in 2009; the Western and Southwestern nonmetropolitan regions are not far behind, though. Billings is listed at $13.33 and Great Falls at $12.96.
The Montana government further breaks medical assisting wages down by industry. Those employed in physicians’ offices earn $14.67, those employed in the offices of other health care practitioners, only $11.81. Outpatient care centers are listed at $14.23.
More impressive perhaps than income is projected growth: 31% growth has been anticipated between 2008 and 2018. This would take the number of workers employed in the medical assisting field from 1,110 to 1,450
Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State
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Flathead Valley Community College
This Medical Assisting program offered in Kalispell, MT is accredited by the CAAHEP. Graduates are eligible to sit for the CMA exam.
Programs Offered: Associate’s | Medical Assisting
Please Select a Campus to Learn More: Kalispell