Kansas’ medical assistants may work for generalists or specialists…in rural clinics or urban physician offices…and in an administrative or clinical capacity (or both). Whatever their job setting or specific job duties, medical assistants in the Sunflower State are in demand, thanks to a growing senior population.
According to projections from the Kansas Department of Labor, the number of medical assistants in the state will increase by 4% between 2019 and 2021. You can expect about 600 annual openings here for these allied health professionals, thanks to a combination of retirements, natural job turnover, and new job growth.
But that’s not all… Earn the necessary qualifications to become a medical assistant in Kansas and you’ll have the opportunity to get your professional feet wet in some of the nation’s best hospital systems. U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Kansas among the top in the nation for no less than eight adult specialties and Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka and AdventHealth Shawnee Mission among the nation’s high performing hospitals.
Before you can hit the ground running here, you’ll need to complete a course of education and training that’ll make you a valuable candidate among the state’s healthcare employers.
Here are the steps to take to get you there:
|Complete a Formal Medical Assisting Program|
|Earn a National Credential in Medical Assisting|
|Land a Job You’ll Love|
As the backbone of the state’s health care sector, medical assistants are permitted to offer their services as outlined in the state’s Healing Arts Statute. This permits licensed medical practitioners to develop their own employment requirements for the medical assistants they choose to hire. The law also states that all medical assistants must perform their services under the supervision, order, or referral of a licensed medical practitioner.
You won’t find any state requirements to practice as a medical assistant in Kansas, but you can be sure that most employers require medical assistants who have earned a certain level of competency through a formal course of education in medical assisting and national certification.
Step 1. Complete a Formal Medical Assisting Program
You can never go wrong by completing a formal medical assisting program that’s accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Choosing a CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited program streamlines the eligibility process for national certification and ensures you’ll learn everything you need to become a skilled and knowledgeable medical assistant.
Both the CAAHEP and the ABHES accredit certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs. All three programs include a similar course of training in medical assisting. Some of the courses within these programs include:
- Patient care and medical assistant clinical procedures
- Emergency preparedness and response
- Insurance billing and coding
- Disorders, diseases, and diagnostic procedures
- Medical assistant career strategies
- Anatomy and physiology
- Medical terminology, interpersonal communication, and psychology
- Pharmacology for medical assistants
- Aspects of the administration of a medical office
- Advanced procedures for medical assistants
- Medical assistant practicum or internship
But while certificate and diploma programs take about 10-12 months to complete, associate degree programs take closer to two years, as in addition to medical assisting-specific education and training, they also include a general education core.
Despite this longer course of study, many employers frequently demand (or at least prefer) medical assistants who have completed an associate’s degree (the general education courses produce more well-rounded medical assistants with stronger verbal and written communication skills), and medical assistants with an eye on advancing their education in the future know that the associate degree is the quickest route to earning a bachelor’s degree in an allied health field.
Step 2. Earn a National Credential in Medical Assisting
Hands down, the next step in building up your qualifications after a solid education is to earn a nationally recognized credential.
The two most widely recognized credentials in medical assisting include:
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) requires passing the Certified Medical Assistant Exam.
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) through the American Medical Technologists (AMT) requires passing the RMA Exam.
Other certifications available in medical assisting include:
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) through the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) requirespassing the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Exam (CCMA).
- Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA) through the National Association of Health Professionals (NAHP) requires passing the NRCMA Exam.
- Medical Assistant (NCMA) through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) requires passing the NCMA Exam
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Step 3. Land a Job You’ll Love
Now that you’ve earned what you’ll need to get your career in medical assisting up and running, you’re bound to find plenty of great opportunities through the state’s largest healthcare systems, such as:
- University of Kansas Health System Saint Francis Campus, Topeka
- AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, Shawnee Mission
- Kansas Heart Hospital, Wichita
- Kansas Spine & Specialty Hospital, Wichita
- Lawrence Memorial Hospital, Lawrence
- Providence Medical Center, Kansas City
Kansas does not have its own state chapter of the American Association of Medical Assistants, but you can still become involved by joining the national AAMA association. Becoming a member of a professional association is a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest legislative changes to the profession, network with other professional MAs, and find plenty of continuing education opportunities to keep your national certification current.
2019 job growth projections from the Kansas Department of Labor 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.