If you want to become a medical assistant in Michigan, you would be best prepared by completing the following steps:
|Complete a Formal Education Program in Medical Assisting|
|Consider National Accreditation in Medical Assisting|
|Explore Employment Opportunities in Michigan|
The Michigan Medical Assistants Review Board recognizes medical assistants as multi-skilled health professionals who are educated to work in ambulatory care settings and perform both administrative and clinical duties.
The Michigan Society of Medical Assistants identifies administrative medical assistant duties as including:
- Arranging for hospital admissions
- Arranging for laboratory services
- Filling out insurance forms
- Handling office correspondence and bookkeeping
- Maintaining patient medical records
- Scheduling appointments
- Using computer applications
Clinical duties include:
- Assisting physicians during patient exams
- Authorizing prescription refills
- Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
- Drawing blood
- Explaining treatment to patients
- Instructing patients regarding medication, diet, wound care, etc.
- Preparing and administering medications under the direction and supervision of a physician
- Preparing patients for examinations
- Removing sutures, changing dressings
- Taking medical histories
Although medical assistants in Michigan are not licensed medical professionals, the Medical Assistant Review Board notes that these professionals directly influence the public’s health and well-being. This means that the practice of medical assisting requires the mastery of a complex body of knowledge and specialized skills requiring both a formal education and practical experience, as stated by the Board.
Step 1. Complete a Formal Education Program in Medical Assisting
Medical assisting education programs are plentiful and diverse, thanks to the continued demand for qualified professionals in this field.
An accredited program ensures that the coursework is designed to prepare you to work as a competent, entry-level medical assistant. The two most widely accepted accrediting bodies for medical assistant programs are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES), both of which accredit medical assisting programs at the diploma, certificate, and associate degree levels:
- Associate degree programs, which are generally two years in length (60 semester credit hours), provide an extensive education in medical assisting. You may choose to pursue an associate degree in medical assisting if you want to gain a competitive edge in your profession or if you have aspirations of going on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a related field.
- A diploma program, which is usually less than a year in length, is also an ideal choice if you plan on pursuing an associate degree in medical assisting in the future, as coursework in a diploma program is generally transferrable.
- A certificate program, which is usually the shortest in duration, is ideal if you want quick entry into the profession.
Regardless of the program chosen, all ABHES- and CAAHEP-accredited programs result in an externship, during which time you will have the opportunity to apply your recently acquired skills in a clinical setting.
To date, there are 12 ABHES-accredited programs and 27 CAAHEP-accredited programs in Michigan.
Step 2. Consider National Accreditation in Medical Assisting
The Michigan Society of Medical Assistants recognizes the Certified Medical Assistant credential through American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). The CMA and the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential through American Medical Technologists are two of the most widely recognized credentials in the industry, both of which identify a candidate who has completed a CAAHEP or ABHES-accredited medical assistant program as eligible to sit for the required examination.
Other national credentials in the field of medical assisting include:
- National Center for Competency Testing: The National Certified Medical Assistant
- National Healthcare Association: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
- The American Society of Podiatric Medical Assistants: Podiatric Medical Assistant, Certified
- The Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel In Ophthalmology: Certified Ophthalmic Assistant
Step 3. Explore Employment Opportunities in Michigan
The Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget reported a total of 20,640 medical assistants employed in Michigan in 2010. By 2020, this number is projected to soar to 24,170, a change of 3,533, representing a 17.1 percent increase in the number of medical assistant jobs. On average, there are 669 annual openings for medical assistants in Michigan.
One of the best ways to begin exploring your employment opportunities as a medical assistant in Michigan is through membership in a professional association, such as the Michigan Society of Medical Assistants.
It may also benefit you to begin searching for job openings through some of Michigan’s largest employers of medical assistants, such as hospital systems and medical groups:
- Henry Ford Medical Group, Detroit
- CHE Trinity Health, Livonia
- Spectrum Health Systems, Grand Rapids
- University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor
- McLaren Health Care Corporation, Flint