If you want to become a medical assistant in Minnesota, you should consider the benefits of completing the following steps:
|Complete an Education in Medical Assisting|
|Consider Testing for a National Credential|
|Enter the Workforce in Minnesota|
Medical assistants in Minnesota are unlicensed healthcare support professionals who are allowed to perform a variety of patient care, instructional, financial, diagnostic, and administrative tasks under the direct supervision of a physician.
Just a few of the medical assistant duties recognized by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development include:
- Preparing examination rooms for patients
- Cleaning and sterilizing instrument
- Performing laboratory tests
- Giving injections and treatments to patients
- Receiving payments
- Completing insurance forms
- Operating x-ray, EKG and other equipment for routine diagnostic tests
- Giving physiotherapy treatments, including galvanics, hydrotherapy, and diathermy
- Ordering medical supplies and materials
- Scheduling appointments
- Maintaining medical records
Step 1. Complete an Education in Medical Assisting
Completing a medical assistant education program in Minnesota is the best, first step to becoming a medical assistant.
The Minnesota Nurses Association notes that the curriculum and role of a medical assistant is to provide “generalist” office assistance and is therefore not intended to conflict with the scope or role of licensed professionals.
As such, educational preparation for medical assistants in Minnesota is often focused on:
- Legal concepts
- Operational tasks
- Roles, functions, and responsibilities in the clinic
- Patient care tasks under the direct supervision of a physician
- Diagnostic procedures
- Administrative procedures
- Practice finance
Medical assisting programs are generally accredited by one of the two national accrediting bodies for medical assistant programs: the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Both of these accrediting bodies accredit diploma, certificate, and two-year associate degree programs. Although these programs may differ slightly in length and detail in clinical and administrative studies, all are designed to prepare students to become competent, entry-level medical assistants. Further, all accredited programs end in a clinical externship, which further prepares students to begin using the knowledge gained through program coursework in real-world settings.
There are currently 19 CAAHEP-accredited programs and 15 ABHES-accredited programs in Minnesota. There is a host of associate degree programs (A.S. and A.A.S.) accredited by ABHES in Minnesota, many of which are blended programs that offer both on-site and distance coursework.
Step 2. Consider Testing for a National Credential
Although national certification is a voluntary step to becoming a medical assistant, more and more employers (and/or their liability insurance carriers) are requiring medical assistants to possess some type of national certification. Options for voluntary national certification include:
- The American Association of Medical Assistants: Certified Medical Assistant credential
- American Medical Technologists: Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
- 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
The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential and the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential remain two of the most widely recognized credentials in the industry. You may qualify to take the CMA examination if you have completed a CAAHEP- or ABHES- accredited program, while you may qualify to take the RMA examination if you have completed a recognized medical assisting program consisting of at least 720 program clock hours and a clinical externship of at least 160 hours.
Step 3. Enter the Workforce in Minnesota
According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, there were 9,080 medical assistants employed in Minnesota, as of the first quarter of 2014. Most medical assistant jobs in Minnesota during this time were in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan statistical area (6,630).
Membership in the Minnesota Society of Medical Assistants is a good, first step to begin exploring the medical assistant profession in Minnesota.
Medical assistant jobs in Minnesota can be found throughout a number of settings, such as hospitals, physician groups, and ambulatory care centers. Therefore, you may begin your job search by identifying some of the largest medical groups and hospital systems in the state, such as:
- University of Minnesota Physicians, Minneapolis
- Duluth Clinic, Duluth
- Allina Health Medical Clinic, Coon Rapids
- Park Nicollet Clinic, Burnsville
- Mayo Clinic, Rochester
- Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis
- Mercy Hospital, Coon Rapids
- University of Minnesota Medical Center, Minneapolis
- Cloud Hospital, St. Cloud
- North Memorial Hospital, Robbinsdale
- Johns Hospital, St. Paul
- Fairview Southdale Hospital, Edina