How to Become a Medical Assistant in Indiana

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Where you find a booming healthcare industry, chances are good you’ll also find pretty impressive opportunities for medical assistants. This is the case in the Hoosier state, which has some impressive job growth projections for medical assistants in the coming years, thanks to a healthcare industry that’s marked by a growing population and plenty of new construction in the state’s healthcare systems.

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The Indiana Department of Workforce Development projects that the number of medical assistants will grow by 4.2% from 2019 to 2021. It all works out to about 2,040 annual openings as a result of normal turnover, retirements, and new job creation. With this sort of impressive growth, you’re sure to find plenty of opportunities to either get your foot in the door or rise through the ranks.

But first you’ll need to make sure you come to your first interview with the education and certification that Indiana’s employers demand.

Here’s what you’ll need to do to before you enter the medical assisting field in Indiana:

Complete a Medical Assisting Education Program
Earn  a Medical Assistant Credential
Land a Job in Medical Assisting You’ll Love

According to Indiana state law, medical assistants are by definition non-licensed individuals who are permitted to perform specific duties within a defined framework. These duties must be performed under the supervision and direction of a physician. Medical assistants in Indiana must also report the results of any patient examination to their supervising physician.

As per Indiana law, medical assistants specifically cannot:

  • Make a diagnosis
  • Prescribe treatment
  • Administer medication, except with a direct order from a supervising physician
  • Practice independently of a supervising physician

 


 

Step 1. Complete a Medical Assisting Education Program

Completing a formal medical assisting program should always be part of any aspiring medical assistant’s career plan.

In Indiana and throughout the country, medical assistant training takes place either online or in-person through certificate, diploma, or associate degree programs. All three programs include a similar course of education and practical training, although certificate and diploma programs require less time to complete than an associate’s (10-12 months vs. 2 years).

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Whichever medical assistant training program you choose, you can expect a curriculum that includes:

  • Computers and medical office software programs
  • Business mathematics and medical calculations
  • Medical insurance billing and coding
  • Medical assistant laboratory procedures
  • Medical assistant clinical procedures
  • Administration of a medical office
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Pharmacology
  • Pathophysiology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical assistant internship or practicum

The Associate of Science (AS) degree is the preferred course of study in medical assisting because it often translates into broader professional opportunities and higher wages. And because many employers require or prefer candidates who have earned an associate’s degree, you may qualify for more jobs than your peers who completed a certificate or diploma program.

The AS in Medical Assisting is also the degree of choice if you have plans to continue your education at the bachelor’s level at some point, as most of the credits in this program transfer to a bachelor’s degree, thereby allowing you to earn your four-year degree in a fraction of the time. Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees are also widely available, but since they’re strictly designed to provide career training, the credits don’t typically transfer.

Regardless of what type of medical assisting program you choose, it’s always beneficial to choose one that’s accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

A CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited program ensures that you’re both prepared and eligible to pursue national certification.

 


 

Step 2. Consider Pursuing a Medical Assistant Credential

In Indiana, many employers now require national certification as a condition of employment. And even those who don’t require it often prefer it. It’s also a great way for you to set yourself apart from the competition and display a commitment to your profession.

The most popular certifications for medical assistants include the CMA and the RMA.

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

The American Association of Medical Assistants’ Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential is the most recognized credential in the industry. You can earn the CMA by graduating from an ABHES- or CAAHEP-accredited program and passing the Certified Medical Assistant Exam.

You can apply online to take the exam at Prometric testing centers located across the state. Exam questions are taken from three main categories:

  • General subjects
    • Professionalism, psychology, and communication
    • Medical law, ethics, and regulatory guidelines
    • Quality assurance, risk management, and safety
    • Medical terminology
  • Administrative subjects
    • Medical reception and appointment scheduling
    • Medical business practices and practice finances
    • Establishing a patient’s medical record
  • Clinical subjects
    • Anatomy and physiology
    • Documentation of care, patient intake, and diagnostic testing
    • Assisting licensed professionals with patient preparation
    • Nutrition and pharmacology
    • Processing and collecting specimens
    • Emergency management, first aid and infection control

To maintain a CMA credential, you will need to either earn 60 re-certification points or retake the CMA Exam. The initial CMA credential is valid for 60 months. If you decide to renew through re-certification points, you will need to earn these as follows:

  • At least 30 points from AAMA-approved continuing education units
  • At least 10 points relating to administrative duties
  • At least 10 points relating to clinical duties
  • At least 10 points relating to general duties

Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

You can earn the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential of the American Medical Technologists through education and/or experience and passing the RMA Exam.

To maintain the RMA credential, you will need to earn 30 Certification Continuing Program (CCP) points every three years and maintain an annual membership with AMT.

Other Certification Options

The RMA and CMA aren’t the only recognized credentials in the medical assisting field:

 


 

Step 3. Land a Job in Medical Assisting You’ll Love

One of the best ways to stay on top of the latest developments in the medical field is to simply take the courses you already need to take to satisfy the continuing education requirements for national certification. You can find those kinds of opportunities, plus connect and network with others in the field, through membership in a state professional association like the Indiana Society of Medical Assistants (ISMA).

Once you’ve become a qualified candidate through education and professional certification, it’s time to check out Indiana’s largest healthcare systems for the latest job opportunities:

  • IU Health Bloomington Hospital, Bloomington
  • IU Health University Hospital, Indianapolis
  • IU Health Arnett, Lafayette
  • Blackford Hospital, Indianapolis
  • IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, Muncie
  • Deaconess Hospital, Evansville
  • Mary’s Medical Center of Evansville, Evansville

 

2019 job growth projections from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development are aggregated through the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource, Projections Central. Employment conditions in your area may vary. 

All salary and employment data accessed July 2020.

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