Medical Assistant Programs in New Hampshire

36% job growth in New Hampshire for the Medical Assistant profession over the coming decade. ~ BLS Data

A medical assistant doesn’t have a cape stashed in a phone booth, but judging from the quick switches he or she is known to make, you might sometimes wonder. One of the unique things about medical assisting, as compared with many other health care support positions, is the range of clerical and clinical tasks that can make up a workday. Part of this has to do with the typical work setting. Medical assistants are more often found in doctors’ offices than in hospitals.

In hospital settings, work is often highly specialized, with one technician performing electrocardiograms all day and another doing ultrasound. In doctors’ offices and other smaller ambulatory settings, though, it’s often the generalist who is valued most. Medical assistants are unique in that they are trained particularly for ambulatory care settings. Some people choose medical assisting for this very reason: task variety.

How to Become a Medical Assistant in New Hampshire

New Hampshire’s Medical Assistant Organizations/Resources

Many New Hampshire employers specify that candidates obtain CMA certification through AAMA or RMA certification through AMT. Among the most important things a prospective student will want to consider, therefore, is a school’s accreditation status. Medical assistants can earn voluntary certification through AAMA or AMT by first completing a program that has been accredited by a recognized agency and then taking a certification test that covers general, clinical, and administrative know-how. Those certified by AAMA have rigorous ongoing continuing education requirements. Continuing education means a bit more work, but it is part of what makes a professional.

Certification in CPR is a national board certification requirement, and is of course crucial for those working in health care settings. Members of the New Hampshire State Society of Medical Assistants can earn CEUs by attending the occasional meetings that are held within the state. Sometimes a CPR certification class is offered as well. A medical assistant doesn’t have to be certified through AAMA to attend events, a representative notes, though they do need certification in order to vote on issues. A spring convention is scheduled in Manchester, in April 2011.

Medical Assistant Salary and Job Outlook in New Hampshire

Career path can depend partly on age. In New Hampshire, there are special programs available for youth. A representative of a Running Start school reports that there are two medical assisting classes open to high school students at the local community college. What else does a person need to obtain, metaphorically, a running start? Employers may ask for a variety of skills, including customer service ability. Some, like Dartmouth-Hitchcock, specify an associate’s degree for certain positions.

Occupational trends projected in 2008 show that demand for medical assistants would increase by 36% in New Hampshire over the coming decade. Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing occupations nationwide and exceeds the national growth rate by 2%. The number employed in the profession statewide is expected to increase from1,340 to 1,810.

What can a competent, experienced MA hope to earn? New Hampshire’s medical assistants averaged $30,570 in 2009. Salaries topped $30,000 in the relatively large city of Manchester. The region’s 260 medical assistants saw an average salary of $30,900 according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The western nonmetropolitan areas of the state were not so far behind at $29,900. A lower average was reported for the nometropolitan areas to the north: $27,390.

Even within a region, there can be a fair amount of variability, with those at the 90th percentile making perhaps 1 ½ times as much at those at the 10th. In Manchester, for example, 10% made under $12.07 a hour while another 10% made above $18.52 Though this is not as great a span as in some occupations, it still needs some accounting for. Experience makes some difference in hourly wage; sometimes the size of the medical facility does as well.

Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State

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