Medical Assistant Programs & Certification in Virginia
Medical assisting is an exciting and rewarding position for those looking to enter the medical field. The job entails filing and organizing paperwork, sending and receiving lab specimens, and scheduling appointments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be a 19% increase in medical assisting positions within the next decade, which makes this exciting position even more appealing knowing that there will be plenty of job security and room to move up. If you're curious about the training requirements in Virginia or would like to know more about online programs that train and certify medical assistants, this guide will help provide you with the information you're looking for.
While there are many medical assistant programs available in Virginia, there are currently none that offer online education as an option. This will likely change soon as the current trend amongst colleges since the 2020 pandemic is to make as many courses available online as possible. You can keep tabs on this as it progresses by doing an online search, or by talking with friends or family that are already working in the medical profession. Medical assistant programs come in two types: the associate’s degree, which takes 2 years to complete, and the certificate/diploma program, which typically can be completed one year or less. If you'd like to check out a few medical assistant programs in Virginia that aren't offered online, check out Piedmont Virginia Community College's clinical medical assistant training program or the American Institute of Health Science and Technology's medical assistant program. Always ensure that any medical assistant program you enroll in is properly accredited, which is a sign of high educational standards.
In Virginia, medical assistants are not required to obtain licensure or certification from state organizations in order to work in the medical field. However, earning certification through a recognized organization can help you stand out when it comes to the application process and enhance your professional qualifications.
To become a certified medical assistant in Virginia, you can follow these general steps:
Education and Training: Complete an accredited medical assistant program that meets the criteria set by organizations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). These programs typically include both classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills.
Certification Exam: After completing your education, you may choose to take a certification exam offered by organizations such as the AAMA or the NHA. These exams assess your understanding of various medical assistant competencies, including clinical and administrative tasks.
Application Submission: Once you pass the certification exam, you can submit your application for certification to the respective organization. Follow their specific guidelines and provide any required documentation, including proof of education, training, and exam results. Pay the necessary fees as specified by the organization.
Certification Issuance: Upon successful completion of the application process and meeting the certification requirements, the organization will issue your medical assistant certification. This certification demonstrates your competency and validates your qualifications as a medical assistant.
While there are no specific state organizations for medical assistant certification in Virginia, obtaining certification from nationally recognized organizations such as the AAMA or the NHA can greatly enhance your professional qualifications and increase your job prospects. These certifications are widely recognized and respected in the healthcare industry, including in Virginia.
To stay updated with any changes or requirements specific to Virginia, you can visit the Virginia Board of Medicine website or contact the Medical Society of Virginia. These state organizations can provide information and resources related to the practice of medical assistants in Virginia and any regulatory updates that may affect your career.
Due to the medical assistant shortage that has ravaged the nation, there are plenty of jobs available for those looking to work in the medical field. Once you've received your MA training, these jobs are even easier to come by, and often the training program you enroll in will help you locate them. This is often done by contacting medical centers, nursing homes, and hospitals in your area directly, such as Virginia-based Inova Fairfax Medical Campus, the University of Virginia Medical Center, and the VCU Health System.
Salary.com reports that the salary range for medical assistants in Virginia is between $33,000 and $45,000 annually. Your actual pay will be determined by your level of experience, the need for medical assistants in your area, and if you've completed training and certification.
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