Medical assistants are the valuable generalists of the medical office or clinic, overseeing everything from scheduling to billing to greeting patients to preparing exam rooms. And in Nevada, you’ll be pleased to know that they’re growing in numbers.
In fact, according to projections from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation, the number of medical assistants in the state will grow by an impressive 5.5% between 2019 and 2021 – one of the biggest increases in the nation for these allied health pros during this time.
Choose a career in medical assisting in Nevada and you’ll enjoy outstanding opportunities to become part of some of the state’s largest and most innovative health systems like Valley Health System, which encompasses no less than six acute care hospitals throughout Las Vegas and Southern Nevada and serves more than two million people in the Southern Nevada region and surrounding areas.
There’s plenty of opportunities awaiting you in Nevada once you’ve earned the education, training, and certification that positions you among the state’s most qualified.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get you there:
|Complete a Formal, Accredited Program in Medical Assisting|
|Achieve Nationally Recognized Credentials|
|Find a Job as a Medical Assistant in Nevada|
|Find a Job as a Medical Assistant in Nevada|
According to the Nevada Legislature, medical assistants:
- Perform clinical tasks under the supervision of a physician, osteopathic physician, or physician assistant;
- Do not hold a license, certificate, or registration issued by a professional licensing board; and
- Do 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 they complete the task under the supervision and direction of a physician or physician assistant.
Step 1. Complete a Formal, Accredited Program in Medical Assisting
You won’t find any better formal preparation in medical assisting than through the completion of an accredited medical assisting program.
Accreditation through either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) ensures that the program includes all of the necessary education and practical training to allow you to practice as a competent, entry-level medical assistant. It also guarantees that you’ll earn eligibility for national certification.
CAAHEP- and ABHES-accredited programs may be certificate, diploma, or associate degree programs, and all are designed with a similar course of education and training in medical assisting.
Typical courses within these programs include:
- Human anatomy and physiology
- Medical administration
- Medical terminology
- Coding and insurance processing
- Clinical and diagnostic procedures
- Medical law and ethics
Certificate and diploma programs, which take about 10-12 months to complete, are convenient, short-term programs that take you from student to practicing medical assistant in the least amount of time. Associate degree programs, however, take about 2 years to complete because they also include a general education core – a group of courses in communications, mathematics, the physical sciences, the social sciences, and more.
Despite the additional time needed to complete an associate’s degree, it has its share of benefits, including better job opportunities and increased earning power. You’ll also find that many of Nevada’s larger healthcare systems require that medical assistants hold an associate’s degree as a condition of employment.
Earning an Associate of Science (AS) degree is also hugely beneficial if you decide to pursue a bachelor’s degree in a healthcare-related field at some point, as most or all of the credits an AS easily transfer, thereby allowing you to complete a four-year degree in about half the time.
Step 2. Achieve Nationally Recognized Credentials
Once you’ve completed an accredited medical assisting program, you’ll earn eligibility to sit for a national certification examination through one of the many national designations in the profession.
The two most widely pursued certifications include:
- The American Association of Medical Assistants: Certified Medical Assistant credential
- American Medical Technologists: Registered Medical Assistant
But another national cert may better fit your needs and career goals:
- National Center for Competency Testing: The National Certified Medical Assistant
- National Healthcareer 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. Find a Job as a Medical Assistant in Nevada
Congratulations! You’ve positioned yourself among the ranks of Nevada’s most qualified medical assistants by completing an accredited program and earning national certification.
Perfect that resume and then check out the exciting opportunities available through many of the state’s largest healthcare systems, such as:
- 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
2019 job growth projections from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training & Rehabilitation are aggregated through the U.S. Department of Labor-Sponsored resource, Projections Central. Employment conditions in your area may vary.
All salary and employment data accessed July 2020.