Medical Assistant (MA)/Certified (CMA)/Registered(RMA)

Work Activities/Work Locations

  • Medical Assistants assist physicians in their offices and other medical settings.
  • The main focus for MAs lies in two areas: welcoming and assisting patients and supporting doctor to keep workflow going. Can perform a wide variety of duties including completing patient’s medical records before seen by doctor, taking their vital signs, educating them on methods to improve their health, and show them how to take their medications.
  • In the business side, they can answer telephones, arrange for patient’s hospital stay, schedule appointments and perform other clerical tasks.
  • They can prepare patient exam rooms, maintain patient records and charts, and give the physician instruments as needed during examinations and procedures.
  • Some are trained to perform injections and to operate diagnostic testing equipment such as X-ray machines and electrocardiographs (EKGs).
  • Can work in clinics, physicians’ private offices, and hospitals that are hiring them for their outpatient clinics as part of a health care team. Also work in local, and regional medical centers, walk-in clinics, and ambulatory wellness clinics.

Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Enjoy working with and helping people. They must be able to accept responsibility and be accurate when working with details and records.
  • Desirable characteristics include empathy, tact, and effective communication skills.
  • Enjoy doing a variety of tasks.
  • Some think their pay should be higher for all the responsibilities they have.

Getting Started

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High School Courses

  • Should take a general high school curriculum that meets graduation requirements and choose electives directly related to this occupation.
  • Helpful high school courses would include accounting, bookkeeping, biology, chemistry, computer applications, introduction to health sciences, typing, and medical terminology.
  • Many Technical College Medical Assistant Programs require a minimum keyboarding speed (usually 30 wpm) for acceptance into the program.
  • Volunteer experience in the healthcare field is also helpful.

Education and Training

  • Formal programs are offered at vocational/technical colleges and universities. Individuals can earn a certificate from a 1-year program and an associate’s degree in a 2-year program.
  • NTC offers a 2-semester (32-35 credit) Technical Diploma program. Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Prerequisites include entry-level computer skills and keyboarding skills of a minimum of 30 wpm.
  • NTC coursework includes classes in human body in health & diseases, pharmacology, and psychology, medical terminology, computer applications and communications.
  • Students also learn laboratory techniques, clinical and diagnostic procedures, pharmaceutical principles, medication administration, and first aid. Also study office practices, patient relations, medical law, and ethics.
  • Accredited programs also include clinical internships that provide practical experience in physicians’ offices, hospitals, or other healthcare facilities. NTC has a 3-credit externship.
  • A Health Care Provider Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificate and a First Aid certificate are prerequisites for entry into the first clinical course.

Educational Institutions

Blackhawk Technical College
Bryant-Stratton College – Bayshore
Bryant-Stratton College – Milwaukee
Bryant-Stratton College – Wauwatosa
Chippewa Valley Technical College
Concordia University
Fox Valley Technical College
Gateway Technical College
Herzing University – Brookfield
Herzing University – Kenosha
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College
Lakeshore Technical College
Madison Area Technical College
Mid-State Technical College
Milwaukee Area Technical College
Milwaukee Career College
Moraine Park Technical College – Beaver Dam
Moraine Park Technical College – Fond du Lac
Nicolet Area Technical College
Northcentral Technical College
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
Rasmussen College – Appleton Campus
Rasmussen College – Green Bay Campus
Rasmussen College – Wausau Campus
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
University of Wisconsin – Marshfield
Waukesha County Technical College 
Western Technical College
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – Ashland
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – New Richmond
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – Rice Lake
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College – Superior

Hospitals with Associated Educational Programs

Agnesian Healthcare, Fond du Lac

Method of Entry

  • A high school diploma or equivalent is required for formal programs.
  • Most employers require applicants to have completed a formal post-secondary training program.
  • Upon completion of a formal training program, graduates are eligible to write an exam to qualify as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) through the American Associate of Medical Assistants; or a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) though the American Medical Technologists; the American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants awards the Podiatric Medical Assistant Certified credential; and the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology awards the credentials at three levels Certified Ophthalmic Assistant, Certified Ophthalmic Technician, and Certified Ophthalmic Medic Technologist.
  • Although there is no licensing for Medical Assistants, 90 percent opt to become certified. Some states require them to take a test or a course before they can perform certain specific job duties, such as taking X-rays or drawing blood. Employers prefer to hire experienced workers or certified applicants who have passed a national examination, indicating that the Medical Assistant meets certain standards of competence.

Professional Organizations

American Assisted Living Nurses Association
P.O. Box 10469
Napa, CA, 94581
707/622-5628
www.alnursing.org/

American Association of Medical Assistants
20 N. Wacker Drive, Suite 1575
Chicago, IL, 60606
312/899-1500 or 800/228-2262
www.aama-ntl.org

American Medical Technologists
10700 West Higgins Rd., Suite 150
Rosemont, IL, 60018
847/823-5169
www.amt1.com

American Registry of Medical Assistants
61 Union Street, Suite 5
Westfield, MA, 01085
413/562-7336
arma-cert.org/

American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants
1000 W. St. Joseph Hwy., Suite 200
Lansing, MI, 48915
888/882-7762
www.aspma.org

Coalition of Geriatric Nursing Organizations
Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing and New York University College of Nursing
433 First Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY, 10010
212/992 – 9416
hartfordign.org/advocacy/cgno/

Wisconsin Society of Medical Assistants
wsma.net

Career Outlook

Number Employed in 2012 (Wisconsin): 10,810
Number Employed in 2014 (U.S.): 591,300
Expected Employment in 2024 (U.S.): 730,200
Percent Employment Growth (2014-2024): 24%
Expected Annual Openings: 26,210
Median Salary in 2014 (Wisconsin): $31,946

Salary information is located at Career One Stop

Wisconsin AHEC Health Careers Information Center provides the most current salary information available from CareerOneStop. CareerOneStop will have a lapse between when the information is gathered and when it is released.

  • Medical assistants usually work 40 hours a week.
  • They can work rotating weekends and holidays.
  • Medical assistants receive pay increases as they gain experience.
  • They may be promoted to positions as office managers.
  • With additional training, they can become registered nurses, medical laboratory technologists, etc.
  • Potential careers include secretaries, receptionists, medical insurance clerks.