Professional Advancement as a Medical Assistant

Part of Concorde’s mission is to train the next generation of health care professionals to meet the growing demand of our nation’s needs.

Baby boomers, moving more of patient care to digital portals and the need for doctors to spend more time with patients and less performing routine administrative and clinical duties, has led the Bureau of Labor Statistics to project a 23 percent increased need for medical assistants over the next eight years.

What does an entry-level medical assistant do?

In entry level positions, said Shalon Bess-Orr, Medical Assistant/Medical Office Administration Program Director from our Concorde-Miramar campus, employers are looking for “qualified trained Medical Assistants (MA) with both front and back office experience.”

“With the recent transition of going paperless, MAs should be proficient in navigating through an Electronic Health Record, as this is how the majority of documentation takes place,” she said.

Medical Assistants / Medical Office Assistants should have excellent communication skills, extensive knowledge of medical terminology, be OSHA and HIPAA compliant, CPR trained and also computer literate. Having a basic understanding of ICD-9/10 and CPT Coding can make the Medical Assistant marketable in all aspects of the office.

In addition to technical skills, Concorde-Dallas Instructors Vida Shepard and Twanda Jacobs also stress the importance of strong interpersonal skills and a can-do attitude. “It’s important to prepare a patient for examination by having good listening skills. Have a pleasant personality and be eager to learn,” said Sheppard.

“Being proactive can go a long way,” Shepard said. “Don’t wait around for something to do or a patient who needs attention. See a need and fill it – whether that’s filing, filling the copy machine with paper, cleaning an examination room, checking on supplies or straightening the waiting room.”

Professional Advancement Available for Medical Assistants

Medical Assisting isn’t just a static job. It’s a career with many opportunities in which to specialize and find a niche. Finding the right medical office administration schools and courses must be researched.

The most common kind of medical assistant certification is becoming a certified medical assistant (CMA). But, according to Bess-Orr, graduates of a medical assisting training program can also sit for the exam to become a:

  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
  • Certified Phlebotomist
  • Certified EKG Technician
  • Basic X-ray Machine Operator (BMO)
  • Certified Medical Assistants can also opt to take the Certified Nursing Assistant Exam (CNA)

Additionally, Sheppard and Jacobs highlight specific niche areas of work that open numerous possibilities. Intravenous certification allows advancement in hospitals and surgery centers, while a phlebotomy certification might open doors to work in a stand-alone lab or possibly earn more in an office setting. Hospital and outpatient centers typically employ EKG technicians.

The Learning Doesn’t Stop Once You Earn a Degree

“Due to the Meaningful Use Act in health care, many employers are now conducting Level 2 backgrounds and drug screenings on Medical Assistant applicants and would prefer applicants to be certified as a Medical Assistant,” Bess-Orr pointed out. “Certified Medical Assistants must complete continuing education units every year in order to maintain an active certification status.

“Graduates have the opportunity to return to campus for refresher trainings based on a skills assessment and they too are able to sit in certification reviews,” said Bess-Orr. “For non-Spanish speaking healthcare professionals there are courses in which they can learn Spanish for allied health professionals.”

Jacobs believes, “Medical Assisting is a wide-open field. Make as much out of it as you possibly can and enjoy yourself.  There is nothing better than the reward of helping a patient and getting to know your patients.”

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Davina Thomas-Clark | Medical Assistant, Vocational Nurse graduate

“I have taken the MA program and the LVN program. Concorde is a wonderful school. There is a difference between passion and a paycheck, and most of my instructors had a passion for what they do. The program was challenging but well worth it. I love this college!”

Trenisha Jones | Dental Assistant Graduate

“I decided to go to school because I was tired of working dead-end jobs. … When I found out I was pregnant, I realized that I needed a better life for me, for my child, for my husband, and just to better myself.”

Randall Hines | Polysomnographic Technologist Graduate

“I think it’s an amazing school. When I sat down for boards, I felt more than adequately prepared. If you put the work in, your success is almost guaranteed.”

Michelle Cardona | Dental Assistant graduate

“Literally a year-and-a-half ago, I was struggling to make ends meet and barely surviving. Now I have a career, make good money, and life gets better every day. I have recommended friends and family go to Concorde, because in as few as nine months, your life can completely change for the better.”

Robert Hitchcock | Nursing graduate

“After completion of the RN program I took my NCLEX as soon as I was able, and to my delight I was completely prepared. Now, when people ask, I’m proud to say I went to Concorde.”