Medical Assistant Training Programs in North Carolina

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If you are seeking a job as a medical assistant in the booming health industry, the best thing to do is to train to become a certified medical assistant (CMA) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). Becoming certified is not legally required in the state of North Carolina or most states, but it is increasingly preferred by healthcare employers and would give you a competitive edge in your job search. There are two main steps to becoming a CMA or RMA: completing a training program, and passing an examination. These steps can take anywhere from nine months to two years depending on the program you select.

The first step toward becoming certified is finding the right educational program for you. An associate degree is offered at community colleges or junior colleges and requires four semesters of study. A certificate or diploma requires only nine months to one year. It is advisable to choose a program that is offered by a nationally accredited school or a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). There are currently forty accredited programs in the state and select programs are listed below. Alternatively, distance learning and online degrees are also an option if there is not an accredited program near you. The online medical assisting programs offered in North Carolina hold the necessary accreditation, that allows graduates the opportunity to sit for the RMA or CMA exam.

Medical Assistant Training Programs in North Carolina

Medical Assistant training will cover both the administrative side of medical assisting as well as the clinical side. Medical assistants perform a wide variety of duties, ranging from making appointments, billing, record keeping, to first aid, assessing patients taking their vital signs, taking blood, or assisting physicians with procedures. They often prepare patients for procedures, explain medication to them, or administer injections or medication. They might work in small outpatient clinics, doctors’ offices, specialists’ offices, or large hospitals.

The second step toward becoming a CMA is to register for the certification exam. This is given by the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), and proof of completion or near completion of your training is required before registering. It is a multiple choice, computer-based exam, and as of 2009, you can take it throughout the year. Once you pass this, you will be a CMA. The RMA exam is administered by the American Medical Technologists and is an alternative to the CMA exam. Neither of these options is required for work in the state of North Carolina, however, holding the CMA or RMA title demonstrates to employers that you have been trained and have the skills to perform medical assistant duties.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were nearly 10,000 medical assistants working in North Carolina as of 2008. The mean annual salary is $27,690, and the mean hourly wage was $13.31. This will be higher in more urban areas and will increase with experience or any extra training or specialization. According to BLS, medical assisting is one of the three fastest growing medical occupations in the state, so the outlook is excellent. There are over two dozen local chapters of the AAMA, which can be a great networking tool and professional association for you as you pursue your career in medical assisting. This is a job choice offering security in an already booming health care industry. Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Get started by requesting information from one of the schools listed below. You may also be interested in the Medical Billing and Coding programs in North Carolina. Billing and coding also offers positive job growth data and earnings that match or exceed that of a medical assistant in North Carolina.
(Sources: AAMA, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CAAHEP, ABHES)

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