Why Become A Medical Assistant?

"I have been trying to find a job for a long time now in my old field (customer service), but have been having no luck since the recession. I think I need to find something else to do, maybe something that requires more skills. I keep hearing about medical assisting jobs, and there are a lot of ads for them online in my area. I don’t think that medical assistants make much more money than I used to working a sales floor. So why become one?"

asked by Cathy from Buffalo, NY

There are several good reasons to consider going to work as a medical assistant, even though the pay is not the highest (the median according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2010 was $28,860 per year). With experience, for starters, you can make more than that. The top 10% earn more than $40,190 per year. So there are opportunities for advancement and growth.

Here are the other reasons to consider a career in medical assisting:

Demand. – This job is growing at a rate of 31%. That is much faster than the average for all other jobs in the country. What’s even more exciting is how many new job openings that represents in real numbers. According to the BLS, that is 162,900 new openings between 2010 and 2020. Why so many jobs? We have an increasingly large elderly population that needs extra medical care. That means that more medical staff members are needed, including medical assistants.

It is also pretty easy to become a medical assistant. – Requirements vary from state to state. In some states, you may need to pass a course, while in others you may not have any official requirements at all. You can earn your certification in less than a year though, and in many cases, you only have to take a single class and then pass the CMA exam. It is a good idea to get certified even in states where it isn’t required, since that will give you access to more jobs and a higher salary.

It can be a rewarding career which gives you a chance to help others. – You will feel proud of your work at the end of the day knowing you are making a difference in the lives of your patients.

Medical assisting is not the highest-paid career out there, but the educational barriers are incredibly low, and there are a ton of jobs appearing around the country, both in cities and in rural locations. When you become a medical assistant, you have a chance to help others and to enjoy fulfilling, rewarding work.

It might also serve as a bridge for you to consider another medical career later which requires more training. You might take some of the money you earn as a medical assistant and invest it into becoming a nurse for example, or a radiology technician.

Career Spotlight: Medical Assistant

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