New Hampshire is just one of a number of states where a swiftly aging population serves as the driving force behind a growing healthcare sector and the rapid rise in the number of jobs becoming available in medical assisting.
In fact, the increased demands the aging population has placed on the state’s healthcare system are reshaping the entire landscape here. Mergers, partnerships, and alliances between hospitals and health systems and the growth in affiliated clinics and medical groups are great news for the medical assisting field here, which, according to projections from the New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau, will grow by 4.6% between 2019 and 2021 alone.
It’s clear you won’t have a hard time landing a job you’ll love in New Hampshire—provided you come with the qualifications the state’s top healthcare employers demand.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to become part of New Hampshire’s growing medical assisting profession:
|Complete an Accredited Medical Assistant Program|
|Earn National Certification|
|Find a Job You’ll Love and Maintain Your MA Credentials|
According to the Medical Assistant Position Statement by the New Hampshire Board of Nursing, medical assistants may perform the following duties under the supervision of a licensed nurse:
- Medication administration, as long as the medical assistant has completed formal education in pharmacology and is competent in this duty
- Suture removal if from a simple incision or superficial laceration
- Phone screening of patients to collect demographic data and document symptoms only
Medical assistants may NOT:
- Administer narcotics
- Administer IV medications
- Administer controlled substances
- Insert IVs or conduct IV therapy, including central venous access
- Conduct telephone triage of patients to determine urgency and complexity of conditions
Step 1. Complete an Accredited Medical Assistant Program
You won’t find any formal state licensing requirements for medical assistants in New Hampshire, but you can bet you’ll come across your share of employers with specific demands regarding education and national certification.
Simply put, there’s no better way to become a medical assistant than by completing a program in medical assisting that’s accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Accreditation means that the program has met specific, stringent education and practical training requirements designed to prepare you to serve as competent, entry-level medical assistant. It also guarantees your eligibility for national certification.
The CAAHEP and the ABHES accredit certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs, all of which come with a similar course of education and practical training in medical assisting. Some of the courses in these programs include:
- Medical law and ethics
- Insurance for the medical office
- Record keeping
- Medical terminology
- Coding and insurance processing
- Clinical and diagnostic procedures
- First aid and CPR
- Office practices
But while certificate and diploma programs take about 10-12 months to complete, an associate’s degree requires 2 years of study because it also includes a general education core. Despite this longer course of study, the associate degree has become the degree of choice among many aspiring medical assistants, largely due to the competitive edge and increased earning potential that accompanies it.
Employers prefer the associate’s degree because the general education courses produce well-rounded medical assistants with strong written and verbal communication skills, while medical assistants prefer it because most or all of the courses of an Associate of Science (AS) degree easily transfer to bachelor’s degrees in areas like healthcare administration, allied health, clinical laboratory sciences, and more.
Step 2. Earn National Certification
National certification is your chance to display a commitment to your profession and continuing education and to position yourself for better job opportunities and higher wages.
The two most widely sought-after credentials in medical assisting are the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) through the American Medical Technologists (AMT), both of which require the completion of an examination and both of which recognize the completion of an accredited medical assisting program for eligibility.
To become a CMA, you must pass the CMA Certification/Recertification Exam given by the AAMA. After you’ve applied through the AAMA, you’ll receive notice of eligibility to take the exam, which you’ll take at a Prometric testing near you. In New Hampshire, testing centers are located in Concord and Portsmouth.
To become an RMA, you must pass the AMT’s RMA Exam. After you’ve applied through the AMT, you’ll receive notice of eligibility to take the exam, which you’ll take at a Pearson VUE testing center near you. There is a testing center located in Concord.
Step 3. Find a Job You’ll Love and Maintain Your MA Credentials
Both the CMA and RMA must be maintained for renewal.
The CMA credential is valid for 5 years. During that time, you must either complete 60 continuing education units (CEUs) (with at least 30 of those CEUs approved by the AAMA), or pass the certification/recertification exam again.
You must renew the RMA credential annually and complete at least 30 certification points every 3 years under the AMT’s Certification Continuation Program (CCP).
Now is also a good time to consider joining the New Hampshire State Society of Medical Assistants, the state chapter of the AAMA, or the Maine/New Hampshire State Society of American Medical Technologists, the state chapter of the AMT. Membership in a professional association comes with its share of benefits, including opportunities to attend networking events and complete continuing education courses, seminars, and more.
Once you’ve landed a position among New Hampshire’s most qualified medical assistants through education and national certification, you can begin your job search by checking out the many opportunities available through the state’s largest healthcare systems, such as:
- Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon
- Concord Hospital, Concord
- Catholic Medical Center, Manchester
- Wentworth Douglass Hospital, Dover
- Portsmouth Regional Hospital, Portsmouth
2019 job growth projections from the New Hampshire Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau 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.