Given the rather broad scope of the medical assistant profession in Nevada, employers look for competent professionals who have achieved formal education and training. As such, if you want to become a medical assistant in Nevada, you should consider completing the following steps:
|Complete a Formal, Accredited Program in Medical Assisting|
|Achieve Nationally Recognized Credentials|
|Find a Job as a Medical Assistant in Nevada|
Nevada is one of just 12 states to expressly recognize the medical assisting practice. According to the Nevada Legislature, a medical assistant is a person who:
- Performs clinical tasks under the supervision of a physician, osteopathic physician, or physician assistant;
- Does not hold a license, certificate, or registration issued by a professional licensing board; and
- Does not include a person who performs only administrative, clerical, executive, or other nonclinical tasks
After several years of controversy regarding the role of medical assistants and their ability to administer injections, the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 294 in 2011, confirming the authority of medical assistants to possess and administer “dangerous drugs” (defined as medications requiring a prescription, with the exception of controlled substances). This is under the condition that the task is completed at the direction, and under the supervision of, a physician or physician assistant.
Step 1. Complete a Formal, Accredited Program in Medical Assisting
A formal medical assistant program may be designed as a diploma, certificate, or associate degree program, all of which are pursued by individuals seeking entry-level medical assistant jobs in Nevada.
Associate degree programs are generally two years in length and are best if you plan to earn a post-secondary degree in the healthcare field down the road.
Diploma programs and certificate programs are generally similar in duration and design; however, diploma programs are better suited for individuals who may want to complete an associate degree in medical assisting in the future, as the coursework is generally transferrable.
Two of the largest accrediting bodies for medical assistant programs in the U.S. are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
CAAHEP- and ABHES-accredited programs include all necessary coursework to prepare individuals to become competent medical assistants who are capable of performing a broad range of clinical and administrative functions under the supervision of a physician or similar licensed professional. As such, coursework often includes:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Medical administration
- Medical terminology
- Coding and insurance processing
- Clinical and diagnostic procedures
- Medical law and ethics
Further, all accredited programs culminate in a clinical externship, at which time you will be able to practice medical assisting in a real-world environment.
In Nevada, there is 1 CAAHEP-accredited medical assisting program and 5 ABHES-accredited medical assisting programs.
Step 2. Achieve Nationally Recognized Credentials
Voluntary national certification for medical assistants is available through a number of certifying bodies, including:
- The American Association of Medical Assistants: Certified Medical Assistant credential
- American Medical Technologists: Registered Medical Assistant
- 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 most streamlined route to eligibility is through the completion of an accredited medical assisting program. Therefore, once you have completed a medical assisting program, you may apply to take a national certification examination and become nationally certified.
Step 3. Find a Job as a Medical Assistant in Nevada
The Nevada Workforce Informer reported a total of 5,370 medical assistants in the State, as of 2013. The top employers of medical assistants during this time were:
- Healthcare and social assistance
- Ambulatory healthcare services
- Offices of physicians
- Outpatient care centers
- Home healthcare services
Therefore, some of Nevada’s largest employers of medical assistants are likely:
- Valley Hospital Medical Center, Las Vegas
- North Vista Hospital, North Las Vegas
- Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center, Las Vegas
- Desert Springs Hospital Medical Center, Las Vegas
- Sunrise Children’s Hospital, Las Vegas
- South Virginia Medical Center, Reno
- Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center, Carson City