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Clinical Medical Assisting Associate Degree Programs

If you want to get your feet wet in the clinical side of the medical field, you can start with an associate degree program in clinical medical assisting. With this article, you can find out what kinds of courses in anatomy and billing you will take, along with job duties and the typical salary for a medical assistant.

What Does an Associate Degree Program in Clinical Medical Assisting Involve?

If you're interested in medicine, you can enroll in an Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Medical Assisting program. You'll learn about basic medical techniques, the healthcare industry and professional communication. You might take the following classes:

  • Fundamentals of pharmacology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical ethics
  • Office administration
  • Insurance billing and coding
  • IV therapies
  • Medical terminology

Some programs may also require you to complete an internship at a hospital, physician's office or health center before graduating. The internship can allow you to gain clinical experience preparing patients for checkups, sterilizing equipment and organizing medical files. Because of the need for clinical exercises, accredited online programs in medical assisting are generally not available.

Course OfferingsOffice administration, medical terminology, medical ethics, anatomy and physiology, insurance billing and coding
Job DutiesTaking medical histories, removing stitches, preparing patients for X-rays, assisting physicians during procedures, performing clerical tasks
Certification OptionsExam administered by the AAMA
Median Salary (2018)$33,610* (for medical assistants)
Job Outlook (2016-26)29%* (for all medical assistants)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do?

Medical assistants aide physicians, nurse practitioners, surgeons and healthcare administrators to ensure that medical facilities run efficiently. While you'll usually have several clinical responsibilities, you may also be required to perform clerical or administrative work. If you work in a small, private practice, you might have many different responsibilities. A job in a large hospital setting, however, could allow you to specialize in particular clinical procedures. Your duties as a clinical medical assistant could include taking medical histories, helping physicians during medical procedures, removing stitches and preparing patients for X-rays.

What's the Job Outlook and Pay?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants earned a median annual salary of $33,610 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also reported that positions for these workers are expected to grow 29% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than average.

Although it's not necessary, earning certification could increase your chances of employment. The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) offers a Certified Medical Assistant designation to recognize competency in this field. To receive certification, you'll need to finish an accredited medical assisting program and pass AAMA's exam. In order to renew your certification, you must complete continuing education courses or retake the exam.