Medical Assistants work in all medical settings and report to administrative or clinical supervisors. Medical Assistants are regulated by their states, which require training and certification for licensure. There are multiple routes to becoming a Medical Assistant. Many vocational high schools offer courses that result in awarding an associate degree or certificate recognized by many employers as meeting all or part of the knowledge requirements. This can be a fast track into employment as it is usually not necessary to have completed any prerequisite education to enter the program. For this article regarding California, we took the MedAssistant team’s help for some gaps in our knowledge.
Education Qualification for Medical Assistant in California :
For this career path, there are several different educational routes. While some employers may hire people with no education beyond high school, many require an associate degree or certificate from a technical school or community college. Suppose you have completed any prerequisite coursework for admission into a medical assisting training program, along with the number of hours of supervised clinical experience you have completed. In that case, the school may be able to certify your educational background as being sufficient for entry into a training program.
In California, one can become a medical assistant with little or no formal education. However, some employers may prefer applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent to have passed the national certification exam.
Education and Training:
According to Senate Bill (SB) 840, California Senate Bill (SB) 840, California law prohibits any person or institution from advertising or providing training that leads to a medical assistant certificate unless the provider is an approved program. To be approved, a program must meet specific criteria established by the Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians, including:
The law does not require a person to sit for the national certification exam unless they plan to seek employment and use his certificate. The law does not prohibit someone from applying who has not taken and passed the exam; however, if an employer chooses to hire such an applicant before passing the examination, the employer assumes responsibility for that decision.
Certification Requirements for Medical Assistant in California :
After completing an approved training program, medical assistants are required to pass the national certification exam. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers a certification exam widely used in California. A few other organizations also offer exams that are accepted for this occupation. Once you have passed the examination, your certificate will be sent to the school that you attended. You must have the certificate at the time of employment to satisfy California law for this profession.
At present, three agencies provide certification for medical assistants in California. These are the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), American Medical Technologists (AMT) and National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
All three agencies require the applicant to have completed a formal training program and provide evidence of completion. The exams for certification are:
AMT: After January 1, 2011, only those who graduate from an AAMA-accredited program will be able to take the AMT exam. All approved programs must include instruction in all eight competency areas.
AAMA: The AAMA exam has three parts. Part I is a general medical terminology test, Part II is the administrative medical assistant exam, and Part III covers clinical competencies. Applicants should check with the testing vendor to determine if they can take all or just one of the exams.
NHA: To be eligible to take the NHA exam, an applicant must have graduated from a program accredited by either the AAMA or AMT. The NHA test covers all eight competency areas and includes both written and hands-on components.
A medical assistant who wishes to maintain certification must complete 20 hours of continuing education every two years.
Job Requirements for Medical Assistant in California :
Medical assistants are expected to be courteous, patient and polite. They must pay careful attention to details. Medical assistants must be able to work under pressure and follow precise instructions without delay.
In addition to strong interpersonal skills, medical assistants must have fine motor coordination and manual dexterity to work effectively. They should also be able to remain calm in a crisis.
Medical assistants help keep records up-to-date and handle a variety of administrative tasks. They may need to know how to operate standard office equipment, including a computer.
Medical assistants typically work in a hospital setting or a doctor’s office. They help keep records up-to-date and handle a variety of administrative tasks. Medical assistants working in hospitals take care of patients by recording symptoms, taking vitals and sometimes conducting tests. They may assist the doctor during examinations or procedures. Administrative medical assistants may also conduct research or teach.