The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center gave the field of medical assisting a B+ grade, thanks to the projected growth rate in the number of jobs expected in the current ten-year period ending 2022. In 2012, there were 9,449 medical assistants employed in Missouri. By 2022, this number is projected to increase to 10,985, a growth rate of 16.26 percent.
Medical assistants are not licensed medical support professionals in Missouri; however, it is commonplace for employers to seek medical assistants who possess a certain level of education and training, both of which can be obtained by completing the following steps:
|Complete a Formal Education/Training Program in Medical Assisting|
|Consider Earning a National Credential in Medical Assisting|
|Find a Job in Medical Assisting in Missouri|
Step 1. Complete a Formal Education/Training Program in Medical Assisting
A formal program in medical assisting is the ideal way to become a medical assistant in Missouri. When seeking a medical assisting program, it may be beneficial to pursue a program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
Both CAAHEP- and ABHES-accredited programs are recognized by national certification organizations, as they contain all of the necessary coursework and training to prepare you to become a competent, entry-level medical assistant.
All accredited programs culminate in a clinical externship, as well, thereby allowing you to begin utilizing your new skills in a real-world clinical setting, such as in a physician’s office, hospital, or ambulatory care center.
Coursework in an accredited program includes both administrative and clinical study. Just a few of the typical courses in a medical assisting program include:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Record keeping
- Medical terminology
- Coding and insurance processing
- Clinical and diagnostic procedures
- First aid
- Office practices
- Medical law and ethics
To date, there are 3 programs accredited by CAAHP and 7 programs accredited by ABHES in Missouri.
Step 2. Consider Earning a National Credential in Medical Assisting
After you have completed a program in medical assisting, the next step is to pursue a national credential. Although voluntary to practice medical assisting in the U.S., national certification has nevertheless become a common requirement among physicians and employers. Further, some liability insurance companies are now demanding that physicians employ only nationally certified medical assistants as to curtail lawsuits in our increasingly litigious country.
Although eligibility to sit for a national certification may vary from one certifying body to the next, all recognize the completion of an accredited medical assisting program. Therefore, once you have completed your program in medical assisting, you will likely be eligible to pursue one or more of the following certifications:
- National Center for Competency Testing: The National Certified Medical Assistant
- National Healthcare Association: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
- The American Association of Medical Assistants: Certified Medical Assistant credential
- The American Medical Technologists: Registered Medical Assistant credential
- 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. Find a Job in Medical Assisting in Missouri
Medical assisting jobs in Missouri may be found throughout the state in medical groups, physicians’ offices, and hospital systems, just to name a few.
A realtime labor market summary by the Missouri Department of Economic Development analyzing the healthcare industry reported that medical assistants had the most job openings among all healthcare positions in the State as of June 2014 (570 job openings).
The summary also ranked the top healthcare employers in the State:
- BJC Healthcare
- Hospital Corporation of America
- Kindred Healthcare Incorporated
- Mercy Health
- Saint Luke’s Health System