Starting a lucrative career in the rapidly expanding health care industry doesn’t have to mean attending expensive medical schools and spending years of your life immersed in academia before earning a dime. Working as a medical assistant is a great way to get started in the health care industry quickly. You can easily begin work as a medical assistant with only a high school diploma. However, more and more employers are looking for individuals with a solid educational background in medical assisting to fill the many positions opening up in health care institutions across the country.
Serious candidates should consider earning an associates degree in medical assisting. It takes 2-years or less, and ensures better earning potential and career mobility. Many schools now offer students the opportunity to complete an associates degree with entirely online courses, making it easy for individuals to fit education around their schedule. No matter what area of the health care industry you hope to work in, earning an associates degree in medical assisting will start you on the path to a profitable career.
Why an Associates Degree?
Earning an associates degree is beneficial for several reasons. Most importantly, an associates degree is attractive to employers and will make you more competitive in the job market. Completing an associates degree demonstrates a level of commitment to the health care industry not shown by a high school diploma alone and is quickly becoming the preferred credential for medical assistants.
Another important reason why earning an associates degree is a good step for your career is the solid training you will receive in the various elements of health care. Medical assistants provide everything from basic clerical duties to specialized patient care, depending on their level of responsibility and training. Taking the time to earn an associates degree will help you decide what type of assisting is most appealing and what area of the health care industry is best for you. While in school, you can choose to specialize in a certain field or participate in an internship that is related to your particular expertise.
Finally, earning an Associates degree will prepare you to work in many capacities within a health care institution. The varied coursework and in-depth curriculum will give you the background to score a high paying position soon after graduation.
Curriculum and Coursework
The best medical assisting associates degree programs contain a large number of medical assistant-specific courses, along with general education. Students will take classes in basic subjects such as math, science, and language before moving on to more specialized areas of study. All medical assistant students will typically study anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, law, and ethics. Some vocational schools also offer classes in professionalism, communications, patient interaction, skills which are especially important for students who want to work in a physicians office.
Coursework will vary from school to school and from program to program. Based upon the ultimate goal of the student, certain classes may be more helpful than others. For administrative medical assistants, courses of interest may include transcription, bookkeeping, accounting, insurance processing, and typing. Clinical medical assistant students will receive in-depth training in lab techniques, sterilization, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, medication administration, first aid, phlebology, and other disciplines that will prepare them for working closely with physicians. All students can expect to emerge from their program well-equipped with the skills needed for a successful career in medical assisting, along with a well-rounded liberal arts education.