If you want to become a medical assistant in Arizona, review the steps in this guide:
|Complete an Approved Medical Assistant Training Program|
|Earn a Medical Assistant National Credential|
|Find a Job in Medical Assisting in Arizona|
The Arizona Department of Administration’s Office of Employment and Population Statistics reported that there were 15,230 medical assistants in the State in 2013. Although medical assistants in Arizona are not licensed, the Arizona Medical Board has distinct language regarding the education and scope of practice of medical assistants.
The Medical Board defines a medical assistant as an unlicensed person who assists the medical practice under the supervision of a nurse practitioner, physician assistant, or physician, and performs procedures that are commensurate with their education and training.
In addition to basic administrative and clinical duties, the Board permits Arizona medical assistants to administer the following under the direct supervision of a physician or physician assistant:
- Whirlpool treatments
- Ultrasound therapy
- Transcutaneous nerve stimulation unit treatments
- Traction treatments
- Small volume nebulizer treatments
- Massage therapy
- Hot and cold pack treatments
- Electronic galvation stimulation treatments
- Diathermy treatments
Some of the procedures a medical assistant may perform in Arizona without direct supervision include:
- Verifying insurance
- Recording a doctor’s findings in patient charts and transcribing materials in patient charts and records
- Performing visual acuity screening as part of a routine physical
- Making patient appointments
- Billing and coding
Step 1. Complete an Approved Medical Assistant Training Program
To become a medical assistant, the Arizona Medical Board requires that you complete an approved medical assistant training program. Specifically, the Board requires the completion of a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), or by an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The Board also recognizes a medical assisting program designed and offered by a licensed allopathic physician, provided it meets accrediting program requirements.
It is up to the physician, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner to verify that the employed medical assistant meets all training requirements. In other words, you do NOT need to provide the Board with a certification of completion.
There are currently two schools offering CAAHEP-accredited medical assistant in Arizona, one of which is an associate degree program and other is a certificate program. There are currently 13 ABHES-accredited programs in Arizona, 6 of which are certificate programs, 3 of which are diploma programs, and 4 of which are associate degree programs.
Certificate and diploma education programs in Arizona are shorter in length, while associate degree programs are longer in length (typically 2 years). Associate degree programs are ideal for medical assistants who may choose to pursue more advanced degrees in medical administration, nursing, or physician assisting, among others.
Note: You may be exempt from medical assistant training requirements in Arizona if:
- You completed an unapproved medical assistant program before February 2000 and were employed as a medical assistant since the completion of the program.
- You worked as a medical assistant for the same physician or group of physicians for at least 2,000 hours before February 2000.
- You completed a medical services training program in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Step 2. Earn a Medical Assistant National Credential
If you have completed an unapproved medical assistant training program, you may still practice as a medical assistant in Arizona if you achieve national certification administered through either the American Association of Medical Assistants or American Medical Technologists.
- The American Medical Technologist’s (AMT) offers the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential.
- The American Association of Medical Assistants offers the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential.
To earn either the RMA or CMA credential, you must take and pass an examination.
If you have completed an approved program in medical assisting, you may also choose to pursue one of the above named credentials as a way to set yourself apart from others in your profession and expand your career opportunities.
Step 3. Find a Job in Medical Assisting in Arizona
As a medical assistant in Arizona may look for jobs in physician’s practices, ambulatory care centers, and similar settings.
You may also find that membership in a professional association, such as the Arizona Society of Medical Assistants, is an ideal way to find some of the newest job opportunities for medical assistants.
Some of the largest medical groups in Arizona are also among the top employers of medical assistants in the state:
- Joseph’s Medical Group, Phoenix
- Valley Anesthesiology Consultants, Phoenix
- Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale
- Banner Medical Group, Phoenix
- District Medical Group, Phoenix
- Arizona Medical Group, Peoria