They’re answering telephones, greeting patients, preparing exam rooms, and organizing scheduling and billing issues—and that’s just the start.
New Mexico’s medical assistants are valuable support pros in the office or clinic environment, and their numbers continue to swell, thanks to the continued growth of healthcare leaders like the University of New Mexico Hospital and Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque and Santa Fe’s Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, which holds a four-star rating in overall quality by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
According to projections from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions, the number of medical assistants here will grow by 2.2% between 2019 and 2021. And with about 790 annual openings here due to retirements, natural job turnover, and new job growth, you’ll find a strong job market with plenty of professional opportunities once you complete the education and training that’ll make you a well-qualified candidate.
Here are the steps you’ll need to take to get you there:
|Complete an Accredited Program in Medical Assisting|
|Pursue National Certification in Medical Assisting|
|Learn More about Medical Assistant Jobs in New Mexico|
No restrictions exist on the practice of medical assistants in New Mexico, provided they complete their work under the direct supervision of physicians.
Step 1. Complete an Accredited Program in Medical Assisting
Simply put, there is no substitute for an accredited educational program in medical assisting.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) are the names you’ll want to remember when choosing a medial assisting program. These two agencies, which accredit diploma, certificate, and associate degree programs in medical assisting, guarantee that a program meets strict curricula standards to ensure that you’re both prepared and eligible to pursue national certification and that you’re ready to serve as a competent, entry-level medical assistant.
While all accredited certificate, diploma, and associate degree programs provide a similar course of education and practical training in medical assisting, certificate and diploma programs take just 10-12 months to complete, whereas associate degree programs take about 2 years to complete because of the addition of a general education core.
Despite this longer course of study, associate degree programs are the degree of choice for many aspiring medical assistants and the employers who hire them. Employers prefer these degrees because they produce well-rounded medical assistants with sharper communication skills, while medical assistants covet them because they often result in better/more varied job opportunities and higher wages.
And the Associate of Science (AS) degree is a smart pursuit if you have plans to advance your education to the bachelor’s level at some point, as most or all of the courses of an AS easily transfer to a bachelor’s degree in a health-related field like healthcare administration, health sciences, and health management.
Step 2. Pursue National Certification in Medical Assisting
Following the completion of an accredited medical assisting, you’ll want to turn your attention to national certification. Earn a national credential and you’ll position yourself as a leader in the field and a top competitor when it comes time to land a job or earn a promotion. You’ll also find that many employers now require national certification as a condition of employment.
The two most widely sought credentials in medical assisting include:
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), American Association of Medical Assistants
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), American Medical Technologists
You’ll earn eligibility to take either the CMA or RMA certification examination by completing an accredited medical assisting program.
Other national credentials in medical assisting include:
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), National Healthcare Association
- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA), National Center for Competency Testing
Step 3. Learn More about Medical Assistant Jobs in New Mexico
With an accredited medical assisting program and national certification on your resume, you’ll be able to hit the ground running and find a job you’ll love.
You’ll find a wealth of opportunities through some of New Mexico’s largest health systems, such as:
- San Juan Regional Medical Center, Farmington
- Vincent Hospital, Santa Fe
- Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque
- Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, Alamogordo
- Mountain View Regional Medical Center, Las Cruces
- University of New Mexico Hospital, Albuquerque
2019 job growth projections from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions 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.