Given the broad scope of a medical assistant’s job description in Colorado, it is likely that physicians and employers seek medical assistants who are adequately trained, educated, and certified. Therefore, if you want to become a medical assistant in Colorado, you may consider completing the following steps:
|Complete an Educational Program in Medical Assisting|
|Pursue National Credentials|
|Explore the Medical Assisting Profession and Get a Job|
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reported a total of 9,149 medical assistants in the State in 2013. By 2023, this number is projected to grow to 11,808, an increase of 2,659, or slightly more than 29 percent.
As of 2013, the highest number of medical assistants in Colorado was located in the following metropolitan areas:
- Denver-Aurora MSA: 4,770
- Colorado Springs MSA: 1,180
- Fort Collins-Loveland MSA: 620
- Boulder-Longmont MSA: 573
- Greely MSA: 440
- Grand Junction MSA: 394
- Pueblo MSA: 341
The industries that employed the largest number of medical assistants in Colorado in 2013 were ambulatory healthcare services and hospitals.
Colorado statute addresses physicians’ delegation of medical tasks to unlicensed individuals, such as medical assistants. This statute also covers the Board of Medical Examiners Rules regarding the delegation of tasks. Specifically, physicians in Colorado are permitted to delegate a wide variety of medical duties to unlicensed professionals such as medical assistants, provided adequate supervision is given.
Step 1. Complete an Educational Program in Medical Assisting
An educational program, whether it is a diploma, certificate, or associate degree program, will provide you with the skills necessary to act as a competent, entry-level medical assistant. The certificate program is typically the shortest in duration, although a diploma or associate degree program may be a better choice if you anticipate pursuing more advanced degrees in the field at some point, as coursework in these programs is typically transferrable.
All types of programs, however, culminate in a clinical experience, thereby allowing you to gain real-world experience upon the completion of your medical assistant program.
Many medical assistants choose to pursue programs that are accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), as national certification may depend on it.
There are currently 7 CAAHEP-accredited medical assistant programs and 5 ABHES-accredited programs in Colorado.
Just a few of the topics covered within a comprehensive medical assistant program include:
- Health sciences
- Patient care
- Medical law
- Laboratory procedures
Step 2. Pursue National Credentials
Given the lack of licensing in the medical assistant field in Colorado, many employers seek medical assistants who have achieved national certification. National certification, among other things, signifies to employers and physicians that you have a certain degree of competence in this demanding field and that you are committed to excellence in medical assisting.
A number of certifying bodies in the U.S. offer medical assistant credentials:
- National Center for Competency Testing: The National Certified Medical Assistant
- National Healthcare Association: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
- The American Association of Medical Assistants: Certified Medical Assistant credential
- The American Medical Technologists: Registered Medical Assistant credential
- The American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants: Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified
- The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel In Ophthalmology: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant
Eligibility between certifying bodies varies somewhat, although most recognize the completion of a medical assistant program for eligibility. To earn a national credential, you are typically required to take and pass a medical assistant examination.
Step 3. Explore the Medical Assisting Profession and Get a Job
Perhaps the most effective way of immersing yourself in the profession is through membership in a professional association, such as the Colorado Society of Medical Assistants, which not only posts the latest job openings for medical assistants in Colorado, but also hosts a number of events throughout the year.
Medical assistant jobs in Colorado may be found in any number of healthcare settings, such as ambulatory care centers, hospitals, and physicians’ offices. Therefore, a number of professional opportunities may be found in the State’s largest medical groups/hospital systems:
- Kaiser Permanente Medical Group, Littleton
- Medical Center of Aurora
- Exempla Saint Joseph Hospital, Denver
- Denver Health Medical Center
- Rose Medical Center, Denver
- University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora
- Exempla St. Joseph Hospital, Denver