If you are considering entering the medical field but are unwilling or unable to spend four or more years on education, you should definitely consider becoming a medical assistant. Not only is the demand for this career expected to rise exponentially as the Baby Boomer generation continues to age, but it is also a highly-adaptable certification that can pave the way for other opportunities.
Demand Outlook Excellent
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that demand for qualified medical assistants will increase by 29 percent by the year 2022. Medical assistants are hired for a wide scope of work, both in clinical setting and clerical. For those who may want to step back from a career o start a family or care for aging parents in the future, having your certification in your back pocket can help you rejoin the workforce when you’re ready. If you have no plans to exit the workforce, you will still enjoy plenty of job mobility due to such high demand. If you become dissatisfied with your current position, others will most certainly be available.
In certain areas with a large amount of colleges in the area, the pay scale for medical assistants can be lower than the BLS’s $14.12-per-hour average. In under-served areas, wages may climb even higher. However, the demand for medical assistants is uniform. Anywhere there are practicing physicians, a need for assistants exists. You can take your skills and apply them anywhere, from enormous cities to tiny hamlets in the country.
Opportunities to Specialize
As previously noted, there are plenty of positions that can be filled by a medical assistant in both the clinical and clerical aspects of medicine. Clinical positions exist in nearly every specialty in medicine, such as orthopedics, pediatrics, urology, podiatry and cardiology, just to name a few. While your education as a medical assistant will cover the basics, you have the opportunity to learn a wide range of new skills in a variety of specialties. If you love to learn, this is a serious boon that makes you more valuable to employers the older you get and also stymies boredom.
The clerical side of medical transcription also offers up a lot of possibilities. Chart and record keeping, transcription, handling patient correspondence and scheduling bustling practices with multiple physicians are all jobs usually handled by medical assistants. If you like office work and have a mind for medical terminology and procedures, clerical medical assisting is an avenue you may want to explore.
Opportunities for Further Formal Education
It is not at all uncommon for hospitals, busy practices and overwhelmed nursing homes to recruit their next batch of nurses from the medical assistants already under their employ. Some employers will pay for you to return to school to earn a nursing degree, while others may offer tuition reimbursement or other incentives. For hard-working individuals, medical assisting can be a foot in the door to achieving a higher education without crippling student loans or taking years away from the workforce.
Medical assisting is in demand and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. The various jobs you can land with a certificate are as varied as the people who fill them, giving you a lot of choice when it comes to choosing a job you like. If you have your sights set on even higher levels of education, a medical assisting certificate can get you in on the ground floor with employers that may invest in your education, allowing you to work while earning a higher degree.