Medical Assistant Training Programs in Tennessee

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If you are seeking a job as a medical assistant in the booming health industry, the wise thing to do is find a certified medical assistant (CMA) training program. Becoming certified is not legally required in Tennessee, but it is increasingly preferred by healthcare employers and would make you more competitive and earn you more respect on the job. There are two main steps to becoming a CMA: completing a training program, and passing the certification examination. These steps can take anywhere from one year to two.

The first step toward becoming certified is finding the right training program for you. An associate degree is offered at community colleges or junior colleges and requires four semesters of study. A diploma program requires only one year, at the most. Ideally you should choose a training 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), however this is not required. There are currently a dozen CAAHEP accredited programs throughout Tennessee. Online degrees are also an option if there is not an accredited program near you.

Online Medical Assistant Programs in Tennessee

The online Medical Assistant programs listed below have the accreditation you would want. Training will cover both the administrative side of medical assisting as well as the clinical side. Medical assistants are healthcare multi-taskers, completing many clinical and clerical duties that help an office run efficiently and effectively. You will also learn about overall office management, which can include making appointments, billing, record keeping, medical coding, and communicating with insurance companies. Some everyday tasks a Medical Assistant might do include assessing patients, recording medical history, taking vital signs, drawing blood, administering medication, assisting physicians, or explaining procedures or medication to patients. Medical assistants can work in small outpatient clinics, specialists’ offices, nursing homes, or large hospitals.

The second step toward becoming a CMA is to register for the certification exam, a voluntary process. Certification does demonstrate to employers your dedication to the profession and may set you apart from other medical assistants without certification interviewing for the same position. The certification exam is administered by the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), and completion or near completion of your training is required before registering and paying the fee. 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.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 10,000 medical assistants working in Tennessee. The mean annual salary is $26,740, and the mean hourly wage is $12.85. This will be higher in bigger cities like Nashville and Memphis, and will increase with experience or specialization. It is usually also higher in outpatient clinics than it is in smaller offices. According to BLS, it is one of the three fastest growing medical occupations, so the outlook is excellent. There are five local chapters in the Tennessee Society of Medical Assistants, which is an affiliate of the AAMA. This can be a great benefit for medical assistants looking to network or keep up with any developments in the field or continuing education opportunities. This is an excellent job choice in an already booming industry. Take advantage of this growth and get started on your secure occupation in healthcare by earning your certification.

Check out the Medical Billling and Coding prgorams in Tennessee as well. Billing and Coding offers promising job growth over the next decade according to the BLS and salary potential is quite good in TN.
(Sources: AAMA, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CAAHEP, TN Department of Labor and Workforce Development)

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