According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Maine’s medical assistants earn a higher average salary than the national average in the field. As of 2013, Maine’s medical assistants were averaging $30,600 annually, compared to the national average of $29,600.
Across the United States, job opportunities for medical assistants are expected to increase by 29 percent between 2012 and 2022. This favorable job outlook is one reason why many students are considering pursuing medical assistant education and certification in Maine.
To become a medical assistant in Maine, review the steps in this guide:
|Complete a Medical Assistant Education Program|
|Look for Medical Assistant Jobs in Maine|
|Maintain Your Credentials|
Step 1. Complete a Medical Assistant Education Program
Though there is no legal mandate in Maine requiring formal training for medical assistants, most employers look to applicants with education beyond the high school level.
If you wish to attain the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), you must complete a program that is accredited by one of the following organizations:
- Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) – Programs in Maine are located in:
- Presque Isle
All of the CAAHEP accredited programs in Maine culminate in an associate degree, such as:
- Associate in Applied Science in Medical Assisting
- Associate in Applied Science in Allied Health – Medical Assisting
- Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
Many of Maine’s medical assistant education programs have prerequisites that include coursework in Algebra and Biology/Human Anatomy.
Additionally, most medical assistant programs in Maine will require you to complete a practicum, in which you will be placed into a real-life healthcare facility to practice your skills. The length of your practicum will vary from 200 to 500 hours, depending upon your certificate/deg program.
Examples of some Maine medical facilities that might host your practicum include:
- Medical Law and Ethics
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Medical Office Procedures
- Insurance Coding
- Technical Writing
- Medical Terminology
- Computer Applications
- Medical Assistant Technology
- Developmental Psychology
Additionally, you must complete a field experience/internship as part of your medical assisting education program in Maine. During this experience, you will work in a real-life setting performing the duties of a medical assistant. Examples of settings into which you could be placed include hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, ambulatory surgery clinics, medical centers, and physician’s offices.
Step 2. Consider Certification
When you have completed your medical assistant education program, the next step is to become certified. Although Maine does not mandate certification for medical assistants, employers may be reluctant to hire uncertified candidates. The most common certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Some medical assistant education programs will offer you the opportunity to take the CMA exam when your studies have concluded. The program director at your medical assistant program must verify your completion to the AAMA. Applications are available online or in a hard copy via the Candidate Application and Handbook. You will be required to pay a fee of $125 by credit card, check (cashier’s, certified or institution only) or money order. Make sure to apply well before the examination – the candidate handbook lists the cutoff dates to apply for the month in which you wish to take the exam.
All documentation and fees must be sent to AAMA Certification, 7999 Eagle Way, Chicago, IL 60678-1079.
The AAMA Certification Department will review your application and respond by email within 30 days. That email will contain your Scheduling Permit. Exams are offered at the following Maine locations:
- South Portland
- Presque Isle
Although you will know your exam score upon leaving the testing center, official scores will not be posted online until eight weeks after the test. A passing score will earn you a certificate and a wallet card identifying you as a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).
Registered Medical Assistant Certification
The second most popular certification for medical assistants is Registered Medical Assistant (RMA). This is offered by American Medical Technologists (AMT). Criteria that you must meet in order to take this examination are:
- Completion of a medical assistant program that is accredited by an accreditation organization that is recognized by the S. Department of Education Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
- The program must be at least 720 clock hours in duration
- The program must have included a 160 clock hour (minimum) field experience
Step 3. Look for Medical Assistant Jobs in Maine
Congratulations! You are now a Certified Medical Assistant in Maine! If you haven’t done so already, it is time to search for a job. Your college’s career development office can assist you in this endeavor.
Examples of potential employers of medical assistants in Maine include, but are not limited to:
- Mid Coast Hospital – Brunswick
- Central Maine Medical Center- Lewiston
- Bridgton Hospital – Bridgton
- Mercy Hospital – Portland
- Southern Maine Medical Center – Biddeford
- York Hospital – Kittery
- Maine General Health – Augusta
- Eastern Maine Medical Center – Bangor
- Western Maine Health – Belfast
- Sebasticook Valley Hospital – Pittsfield
The leading professional organization for Maine medical assistants is the Maine State Society of Medical Assistants. Consider becoming a part of this organization, which has chapters in the Kennebec Valley and Penobscot areas. The organization provides professional development opportunities and networking opportunities for its members.
Step 4. Maintain Your Credentials
If you are a CMA through the AAMA, your credential will remain valid for five years. You must fulfill one of the following options for recertification:
- Pass the Certification/Recertification Examination (the same test you took when you originally became certified) again
- Complete continuing education – if you choose this route, follow these steps:
- Download the AAMA Recertification by Continuing Education Application
- Complete 60 recertification points during the five years your credential is valid, including:
- 10 general points
- 10 administrative points
- 10 clinical points
- 30 points combined from the above three categories
- A minimum of 30 of your total 60 points must come from AAMA-approved continuing education units (CEUs)
- Document your continuing education to mail to the AAMA with your recertification application. An AAMA Registry Transcript is issued for AAMA-approved continuing education. Other continuing education must be documented by providing a certificate of attendance/completion, date of activity, sponsor of activity, activity description, and credits earned
If you are an RMA through AMT, you must pay an annual fee of $50 to maintain that credential. You must also comply with the AMT’s Certification Continuation Program (CCP), requiring that you complete 30 points every three years. Points may be earned through professional education, formal education, employment verification, authorship of written works, instructional presentations, organizational participation, or a combination of these categories. Visit the AMT CCP website for more information.