You may prepare to become a medical assistant in Hawaii by completing the following steps:
|Complete a Medical Assistant Training Program|
|Consider a Medical Assistant National Credential|
|Pursue a Career in Medical Assisting|
According to the Hawaii Workforce Infonet, there were 3,240 medical assistants employed in the State in 2010. It is projected that by 2020, this number will increase to 3,580, representing an average of about 80 job openings per year between 2010 and 2020.
The Hawaii Workforce Infonet also reported that as of September 2014, there were 68 job openings for medical assistants in Hawaii, the majority of which were located in Honolulu County.
Hawaii does not have specific statutes outlining the role of the medical assistant. However, it does have clear language regarding the role of the physician when delegating to non-licensed professionals, such as medical assistants. There are no restrictions on medical assistants from performing specific medical tasks, provided the tasks are always under the direct supervision of a physician.
Therefore, as a medical assistant in Hawaii, you may perform tasks such as:
- Answering telephones and greeting patients
- Scheduling appointments
- Filing insurance paperwork
- Taking patient medical histories
- Recording vital signs
- Preparing patients for exam
- Preparing lab specimens
- Drawing blood
- Administering medications
- Removing sutures, changing dressings
- Sterilizing medical equipment
- Assisting physician during exams
Step 1. Complete a Medical Assistant Training Program
Though Hawaii law does not require post-secondary education, it is common for employers and physicians to require medical assistants to possess specific education, training, and/or national certification.
This means if you want to become a medical assistant in Hawaii, you can best prepare by completing a comprehensive program in medical assisting. Medical assistant programs may be organized as diploma, certificate, or associate degree programs. Both certificate and diploma programs are usually less than a year in length, although coursework in a diploma program may be transferred should you choose to pursue an associate’s degree in medical assisting at a later time.
An associate’s degree, which typically lasts about two years, consists of about 60 semester hours. This extended medical assistant program provides a more in-depth study of medical assisting and may therefore afford you more career opportunities.
When choosing a medical assistant program, it may be in your best interest to learn more about programs that have been accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), as the curricula of accredited programs must ensure that students achieve entry-level competencies for medical assistants. The curriculum of a CAAHEP-accredited program, for example, must include study in the following areas:
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical terminology
- Medical law and ethics
- Communications (oral and written)
- Administrative procedures
- Clinical procedures
Accredited programs must also include an externship that provides students with practical experience in a clinical setting.
In addition to online programs, Hawaii is home to 2 CAAHEP-accredited medical assisting programs and 1 ABHES-accredited medical assisting program.
Step 2. Consider a Medical Assistant National Credential
Advancement in the medical assisting profession is often dependent upon achieving a national credential. Although voluntary, national certification through a recognized certifying body displays a commitment to the profession and an advanced level of study and knowledge in both the clinical and administrative aspects of this profession.
Further, some employers or their liability insurance carriers require medical assistant employees to possess national certification.
National certification options for medical assistants in the U.S. include:
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA): American Association of Medical Assistants
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential, American Medical Technologists
- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA), National Center for Competency Testing
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), National Healthcare Association
You may also seek specialty certification in medical assisting:
- The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel In Ophthalmology: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant
- The American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants: Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified
Step 3. Pursue a Career in Medical Assisting
Hawaii Workforce Infonet reported that as of 2010, the largest employer of medical assistants in Hawaii was ambulatory healthcare services, followed by hospitals and administrative and support services.
You may therefore find exciting career opportunities through some of Hawaii’s largest hospital systems and physician groups:
- Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu
- Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Medical Center, Honolulu
- Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu
Professionals associations, such as the Hawaii State Society of Medical Assistants, are also excellent sources for the latest job openings for medical assistants.