Medical Assisting Programs in Vermont
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Medical assistants, or MAs as they are sometimes termed, are a doctor’s front line, performing a variety of duties under his or her supervision and license. MAs can be found walking patients to the examination room, recording their vital signs, collecting and logging lab specimens, and sterilizing equipment. This is already a lot of responsibility — but it is just the clinical side of the job. Medical assistants are also employed in the medical front office, scheduling appointments, managing records, and even billing. Sometimes the same employee engages in all these tasks. This is especially likely to occur at smaller ambulatory care centers, for example, at the offices of doctors who are in private practice.
Across the nation, there are many work settings possible. Where do Vermont’s medical assistants work? 72% of them work in ambulatory care settings. Another 27%, however, work in hospitals.
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Vermont
Why might a person enroll in a medical assisting program in Vermont? Such programs teach students to follow OSHA protocol and other legal and ethical guidelines as they perform lab tests and assist with basic medical procedures. Programs also provide an introduction in how to run the medical front office. If the program has been accredited by CAAHEP or another accrediting body that is approved by the United States Department of Education, students have the additional advantage of being allowed to sit for national board examinations like the CMA exam.
The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the American Medical Technologists (AMT) are leaders in the credentialing business. Both tests include sections on administrative, clinical, and general concepts. On the AMT test, the general section requires knowledge of anatomy, medical law and ethics, and human relations. The administrative section includes concepts related to bookkeeping, insurance, and acting as a receptionist in the front office. And the clinical section? This covers everything from blood draw to echocardiograms A medical assistant doesn’t know exactly what duties she will be asked to perform in a future job assignment; one of the purposes of certification is to give her future employer reason to believe she will be prepared for just about anything that is within her legal scope. Some employers, like the orthopedics branch at Gifford Medical Center, may specify that workers have a course in medication. [Learn more about CMA and RMA requirements]
Job Outlook for Medical Assistants in Vermont
In Vermont, medical assistants enjoy an average wage of $15.45, according to figures released by the BLS in 2010. The midrange is $13.30 to $17.40. Wages are fairly consistent — with averages in the $15.00 to $16.00 an hour range — throughout the state. The Southern nonmetropolitan regions are the highest at $15.90. This translates into $33,070 a year. In the Northern nonmetropolitan areas, the figure is $15.39. In the city’s one large metropolitan area, the Burlington-South Burlington region, the figure is $15.29.
According to Vermont’s employment projections, the medical assisting occupation should see 2.1% growth each year between 2008 to 2018. In 2008, 702 Vermont residents were employed as medical assistants; that number should become 863 within a decade.
Those looking for career resources will take comfort in knowing that they are available through organizations both within and outside Vermont’s small borders. A representative of the New Hampshire state branch of AAMA notes that Vermont attendees are welcome at events of New Hampshire’s state society.
There is more good news for displaced workers. Some may qualify for occupational skills training through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The website of Vermont’s Department of Labor notes that priority is give to people who have low incomes or qualify for public assistance. For some, medical assisting offers a new beginning.
Medical Assistant Programs Offered in Your State
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