Lately people tend to say that there are no job opportunities for medical assistants out there. Nothing could be more further from the truth, there are PLENTY of ma jobs out there waiting to be filled. The only thing is that employers prefer or actually insists that the assistant is certified or registered*.
Being a certified assistant means greater certainty for the employers that their assistant is competent and professional enough to perform her tasks. For the ma it means she is more likely to succeed in finding a job and she definitely enjoys a higher prestige as to her non certified colleagues.
How do I get certified?
To be applicable for certification or registration you need to comply to these requirements:
The candidate must have graduated from or is about to complete a medical assisting program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
There are several certifying boards out there who have the same requirements but can difference in for instance their requirements for non-graduates (assistants who were trained on the job and have at least more than 3 years of experience working in this field)
For more information it is best to take a look on their site, here are a few boards where you can get your certification/registration:
What are the costs?
It might be a very good idea to first compare the certifying boards with each other to see what fees for application they handle. Fees range from $ 65 to $250!
And please note: Employers usually just ask for you to be certified/registered. They don't state from which board that should be so you have your own freedom to decide where you will get your certification/registration.
Am I obliged to get certified?
No, you are not. But .. considering that there are only benefits and absolutely no disadvantages, I personally think that it is probably the best investment you can make for your own career.
So what are my chances on a job if I am not certified?
Your chances are not impossible but you must definitely take into account that your chances are significantly lower and when you apply for a job your certified colleagues will probably get favored over you.
Experience tells us that non certified assistants are more likely to get hired by smaller private practices in stead of hospitals where the scope of practice is much wider.
*Getting certified or registered are the same two things, there is no great difference between the two. But the term 'certified' is the most common term to be used.