Medical Assistant Programs In West Virginia

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Medical assisting is an excellent career choice in the already booming healthcare industry. Some medical assistants are trained on the job, but to be truly competitive for medical assistant jobs, you should choose a training program and become a certified medical assistant (CMA). Certification is voluntary in most states, including West Virginia, but highly preferred by healthcare employers. Certification demonstrates a commitment to the profession and that a certain level of experience and knowledge has been gained.

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Official certification is achieved by completing an accredited training program and then passing a certification exam. Training programs are available at many vocational and junior or community colleges as well as online. They usually require about nine months to a year of classes. For more specialized and advanced training, you could pursue an associate degree in medical assisting from a community college. For certification purposes, it is important that your training come from an officially accredited program. Accreditation is awarded by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). There are currently four such programs in the state, and you can check CAAHEP’s website for an up-to-date list of accredited programs state-wide.

Online Medical Assistant Programs in West Virginia

Online distance learning, when accompanied by an internship, is also a valid option toward earning the proper training. Once you have completed your training, you are eligible to register for the certification exam, which is given by the certifying board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Completion or near completion of training from an accredited school is a prerequisite for registration. When you pass, you will be a CMA. You can also opt for becoming a registered medical assistant (RMA) through the American Medical Technologists association (AMT), demonstrating to employers your commitment to the profession and your career.

Training in these programs will cover many skills on both the administrative side of medical assisting as well as the clinical side. You will learn the skills needed to be a well rounded medical assistant who can easily switch from the clerical to clinical tasks. Taking vital signs, drawing blood, recording medical histories, administering medications, assisting physicians, and preparing patients for procedures are just some things that they might do on the job. They are also responsible for making appointments, managing records, and communicating with insurance companies. Their role is vital to help clinics, doctors, specialists, and hospitals run smoothly.

The outlook for this occupation in West Virginia is excellent. It is listed as the fifth fastest growing occupation, according to West Virginia’s Labor Market Information. There were 2,680 medical assistants in West Virginia in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and it is projected to be close to 3,000 by 2016. The mean annual salary in 2008 was $22,070 and the mean hourly wage was $10.12. Good benefits and job security in a stable and growing industry are hallmarks of this profession and make it an excellent career choice or stepping stone in your healthcare career. Get started now by finding the best medical assistant training program for you.

You may also be interested in the Medical Billing and Coding programs in West Virginia since they also offer various lengths of programs and the job outlook for billers and coders is promising just as it is for medical assisting.
(Sources: AAMA, Workforce West Virginia, West Virginia State Society of American Medical Technologists – WVSSAMT)

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