Medical Assistant Programs in Washington

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Training to become a medical assistant in Washington can be done on the job, as it does not legally require certification. However, to be competitive in the job market, it is highly recommended that you complete training and pass a certification exam to become a certified medical assistant (CMA). This voluntary certification is highly preferred by healthcare employers, and will give you a competitive edge in your job search as well as a head start on your career.

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In order to become certified you first need to complete an accredited certification program, which takes around nine months to one year. Accreditation is determined by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). There are currently over twenty CAAHEP accredited programs throughout the state of Washington including some online programs. CAAHEP’s website will provide a current listing of any newly accredited programs and you can find some of them listed below. You can also enroll in accredited online programs and complete your distance learning with an internship. The online medical assistant programs offered in Washington can also be found below. Alternatively, you can also pursue more specialized training and earn an associate degree in medical assisting, which requires two years. Once you have completed your training, the next step is to take the certification exam. This is given by the certifying board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Completion or near completion of an accredited program is a prerequisite for taking this multiple-choice, computer-based exam. Once you pass this, you will be a CMA.

Medical Assistant Training Programs in Washington

Training in these programs will cover phlebotomy, medical terminology, medical records processing, and similar topics. You will learn the skills needed to be a well rounded medical assistant who can easily switch from the clerical side of the job to the clinical side. Taking vital signs, drawing blood, recording medical histories, administering medications, assisting physicians, as well as making appointments, managing records, and communicating with insurance companies are just some of many varied tasks that medical assistants do to help an office, clinic, or hospital run smoothly. Some medical assistants work primarily on the clerical side, and some work mainly performing clinical tasks, but many perform both types of duties. The size of the office can also affect specialization and the range of a medical assistant’s responsibilities.

Medical assistants are among the fastest growing occupations in healthcare and overall. There were approximately 10,700 medical assistants in Washington in 2008 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and this number continues to grow. The mean annual salary in Washington for this job is $32,860 and the mean hourly rate is $15.80. This also includes good medical benefits. The salary will be slightly higher in urban areas and in larger clinics than in doctors’ or specialists’ offices. Choosing to pursue a specialization within medical assisting can increase your salary as well. There are also nine local chapters in the Washington State Society of Medical Assistants. Wherever you live in the state, you will likely be close enough to take advantage of this professional opportunity to network and communicate with other CMAs. Get started now in this secure medical occupation by finding a medical assistant program below that matches your needs.

Check out the Medical Billing and Coding programs in Washington. Learn about he training and job growth potential for this allied health career as well.
(Sources: AAMA, Washington State Society of Medical Assistants)

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