A healthcare career in Medical Assisting
In today’s healthcare landscape, there’s a lot of uncertainty. Will the Affordable Care Act remain as the law of the land? If it does, for how long? Or will Congress repeal and replace it with a new policy?
However, even with all of this uncertainty, there are still some things that can be counted on when it comes to healthcare today in the U.S.—one of which is the growth and high demand of certain related career fields.
One of the more impressive cases in point on that front is the medical assistant.
If you’ve ever been to a hospital or medical clinic, the odds are very good that you’ve experienced the services of a medical assistant. Medical assistants are some of the more versatile members of the healthcare team. Some of the things they’re tasked with include:
- Administrative Duties—medical assistants help with front-office responsibilities like answering phones, scheduling appointments, helping patients with insurance forms, and billing, among others.
- Patient Care—physicians and nurses rely on medical assistants to help with things like taking vital signs, prepping patients for exams, electrocardiograms, educating patients and families, and phlebotomy, among others.
This dual role is one of the things that sets medical assistants apart from other members of the healthcare team.
One of the other things that has set medical assistants apart in recent years—and should continue to do so in the future—is the rapid, extreme growth in the projected need for well-trained MAs across the country and in Illinois.
In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for medical assistants nationwide is expected to grow by 23 percent between 2014 and 2024. That means there would be the addition of approximately 138,900 medical assistants across the country in that time frame.
The state of Illinois, too, expects dramatic growth in the opportunities for medical assistants. According to O*Net Online, between 2014 and 2024 Illinois will see approximately 630 job openings each year for medical assistants—a growth of 12 percent.
So what’s driving all of this projected growth? A lot of things, actually.
- More people are insured—with the Affordable Care Act, millions of Americans who previously weren’t insured now are. That means more people regularly visiting medical facilities for treatment and service.
- An aging population—as Baby Boomers continue to reach old age, and with a higher percentage of Americans now over the age of 65, healthcare facilities are seeing more and more visitors and therefore need to increase their staff.
- Professional roles evolving—with such a dramatic increase in the number of patients seeking care, physicians and nurses are relying on medical assistants to take on a wider range of responsibilities in terms of their clinical duties.
So with so much projected growth, as well as the fact that the median yearly income for medical assistants in Illinois is $31,900 according to O*Net, how can you take advantage and create a better future for yourself?
Simple. Find a good medical assistant education and training program. Key things to look for when searching for a top-notch program include:
- Hands-on training
- Excellent faculty with real-world experience
- A supportive learning environment
- Modern facilities and learning resources
Additionally, many high-quality programs also design their programs to meet the needs of a wide range of students, and as a result offer flexible scheduling options, convenient locations, online courses, and evening and weekend classes.
Northwestern College’s Medical Assistant Program
Established in 1902, Northwestern College has a rich history of serving students in the greater Chicago area who are looking for a quality education and training that’s focused and comprehensive. With programs in healthcare and business, Northwestern College offers accredited programs and is founded on the mission of meeting the distinct needs of each student who walks through its doors.
The Medical Assisting program at Northwestern College is designed to prepare students for entry into a career as a medical assistant in any number of different settings. The program’s goals include preparing students:
- To prepare competent entry-level medical assistants in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills) and affective (behavior) learning domains.
- To provide academic assessment of critical thinking, effective communication, and personal responsibility of students in the medical assisting program.
- To prepare graduates of the medical assisting program to be self-assured, responsible, and competent in the field of medical assisting.
- To provide the community with skilled medical assistants that interacts with patients in a professional and empathic manner.
- To prepare students to become (AMT) Registered Medical Assistants.
- To encourage lifelong learning opportunities.
The program’s curriculum is designed to prepare students with the following skills:
- Preparing patients for examination
- Taking vital signs and medical histories
- Assisting with examinations, treatments, and office surgeries
- Performing laboratory procedures and electrocardiograms
- Instructing patients in preparing for X-ray and laboratory examinations
- Communicating after-care instructions
- Assuming medical office responsibilities
- Working with healthcare computers and IT systems
The Medical Assisting certificate program prepares students to sit for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credentialing exam administered by American Medical Technologists. The RMA certificate is recognized throughout the medical assisting profession. The RMA credential means a professional edge, increased prestige in the workplace, and increased job opportunities. Classes are conveniently available at Northwestern College’s Bridgeview campus. The Medical Assisting program presents an ideal path toward a fulfilling career in healthcare.
A Powerful Combination
With all of the professional opportunities afforded to those looking for a career as a medical assistant, students can find a powerful combination of success with Northwestern College’s Medical Assistant program.