Associate of Applied Science (AAS): Medical Assistant Degree Overview
Research associate's degree programs in medical assisting. Get information about requirements, courses, career prospects and salary to make an informed decision about your education.
Associate of Applied Science in Medial Assistant
A medical assistant associate degree program is designed to teach students about medical information systems, laboratory procedures, medical office functions and medical procedures. A program may teach students how to properly draw blood samples, understand safety guidelines, monitor blood glucose levels, perform an electrocardiogram and prepare laboratory specimens. Some programs may provide additional instruction in medical office procedures, such as medical record management, medical terminology, health system regulations, data management and medical billing. Upon graduation, individuals are prepared for an entry-level medical assisting position.
Applicants to a medical assistant program will likely be required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some schools additionally require that applicants complete an entrance exam, pass a health screening, submit to a criminal background check and provide proof of immunizations.
The courses in a medical assistant program cover both clinical and administrative medical topics. Programs also commonly require that students complete a medical assisting practicum. Course content may include:
- Introduction to medical record systems
- Medical terminology
- Medical coding
- Clinical procedures
- Medical law
- Healthcare ethics
- Patient safety and care
- Laboratory testing procedures
- Medical office procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that there were 553,140 jobs held by medical assistants who earned an annual mean wage of $30,550 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). The BLS projected a job growth of 31% for the field in the decade of 2010-2020. Medical assistants with certification were expected to have the best employment opportunities.
Continuing Education Information
Certification or licensing is not required for medical assistants, but according to the BLS certification can allow individuals to demonstrate their knowledge gained from completing a formal training program. Voluntary certification is available from organizations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants. Specific certification requirements are determined by each organization, but typically applicants must meet training requirements and pass a certification exam in order to become certified.
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