A job as a medical assistant may be right for you if you enjoy working with people in a medical setting but don’t want to become a doctor or nurse. As with any career, preparing to work as a medical assistant takes a commitment of time and money. That’s why it’s so important to research the medical assistant job outlook before you enroll in a career training program. This ensures that you have realistic goals for salary and employment once you complete all of your course requirements and hands-on training.
Current Career Outlook for Medical Assistants
According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2012, the demand for qualified medical assistants is expected to grow by 29 percent through at least 2022. In 2012, approximately 560,800 people nationwide were employed as medical assistants. The BLS anticipates that number to grow to 723,700 over the next seven years. Several factors contribute to this growing demand, including the following:
- The oldest of the baby boom generation, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, are now approaching 70 years old. As this population continues to age, they will seek more preventive care and treatment for minor conditions at their local medical clinic. Doctors need medical assistants to help interview these patients about their symptoms and record vital signs so they can spend time diagnosing and treating them.
- An increased patient load means more clerical duties, something the doctors and other clinic staff may not have the time to do. Medical assistants help to relieve this administrative burden.
- Most clinics now use electronic medical records to track patient data. However, clinic staff may not have the skills to work with this new technology. That means the demand for medical assistants already having this knowledge is expected to increase.
The demand for skilled medical assistants over the next several years is significantly higher than the demand for workers in all other occupations.
Salary Outlook for Medical Assistants
According to an article published in the U.S. News & World Report Money section, the average salary for all people working in this field was $29,610 in 2012. People new to the field earn approximately $25,160 annually while those with several years of experience as a medical assistant earn average gross wages of $35,600 or more. At the mid-income level, you can expect to earn an average of around $14 per hour. Medical assistants in the following cities earn a median annual income of over $40,000 per year:
- Champaign, Illinois
- Oakland, California
- Rochester, Minnesota
- San Francisco, California
- Santa Rosa, California
It’s important to note that every state has its own educational and licensing requirements for medical assistants. While a certificate or diploma isn’t always required, it can help to set you apart from other applicants. If you do enroll in a formal medical assistant training program, you can expect to complete the following coursework:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical terminology
- Medical record keeping
- HIPAA training, which stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Every healthcare worker must abide by this 1996 law that protects patient privacy.
- Laboratory requirements
Additionally, you may complete an internship at a local medical clinic. This gives you the opportunity for job shadowing and direct experience before you apply for your first job in the field.
Medical Assistant Resources Can Help
Our company is dedicated to providing online resources for anyone who is considering a career as a medical assistant. You can find out your state requirements, typical salary in your region, the main duties of a medical assistant, and much more by visiting our website. You may also contact us if you have additional questions about training for a new career a medical assistant.