Medical Assistant Programs in Virginia

You can become a certified medical assistant in Virginia in one to two years. Certification is generally voluntary, but while it is not legally required, it is often preferred and even required by employers. In order to become certified, you need to complete a training program as a first step, and then pass a certification exam. The training program can be either a certification training program that lasts nine months, or a two year associate degree program. Just be sure that the program 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 nearly a dozen accredited programs in the state, with the added option of distance learning and many online courses. You can check CAAHEP’s website for any current additions or changes to their listing. The second step is to take the exam given by the certifying board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Once you pass the exam, you will have a competitive edge in your job search and a head start on your career.

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Medical Assistant Training Programs in Virginia

Certification training will cover many skill sets, and can depend on the state. Clerical and administrative skills are an important part of any medical assistant job. You will be responsible for making appointments, dealing with insurance companies, record keeping, medical coding, and any other tasks required to keep the administrative side of the practice, outpatient clinic, or hospital running well. Medical assistants can also undertake a variety of clinical tasks. CMAs in smaller offices may have more responsibilities than those in larger offices or hospitals, where they may be more specialized. These responsibilities can include assessing patients, recording medical histories, drawing blood, prepping patients for procedures, assisting physicians with procedures, preparing patients for x-rays, instructing patients about medications, preparing lab specimens, or sterilizing medical instruments, to give a few examples.

The average salary for a medical assistant in Virginia in 2008 was $26,530. This will vary based on employer and location and will increase with experience. The outlook for this job is very good. The healthcare sector in general is growing to meet the needs of the population, and medical support staff in particular is growing as healthcare providers strive to be cost efficient. There were over 9,100 medical assistants in Virginia in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a mean annual salary of $29,050 and mean hourly rate of $13.97. According to the Virginia Employment Commission, the occupation has been projected to grow at a rate of 39% in the period from 2006 to 2016, which is even higher than the national average for this job. Additionally there are six state chapters in the Virginia Society of Medical Assistants which can help you network and pursue continuing education opportunities. This is a fantastic time to pursue a career in healthcare. Find out now which medical assistant training program is right for you, and get started on your career in healthcare.

Medical billing and coding programs in Virginia are quite popular as well. Though the programs require a longer commitment, the career growth and earning potential can be much greater.
(Sources: AAMA, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CAAHEP, the Virginia Society of Medical Assistants)

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