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How to Become a Medical Assistant in Oklahoma

According to Oklahoma law, medical assistants are designated as unlicensed professionals that practice under the supervision of a physician. Medical assistants in Oklahoma are restricted from providing any service that is reserved for licensed medical professionals.

As long as you abide by these guidelines, you are not required to become licensed, certified, or to earn a specific education to practice as a medical assistant in Oklahoma. However the absence of legal requirements does not mean there is a lack of professionally qualified medical assistants in Oklahoma. All of the state’s approximately 7,520 medical assistants have been hired because they were the most competitive applicant for a vacant position.

To meet the demands of Oklahoma’s top employers, consider these steps towards becoming a highly qualified medical assistant:

Pursue a Relevant Education
Consider National Credentials Available to Oklahoma Residents
Learn About the Local Job Market in Oklahoma
Maintain and Improve Your Professional Qualifications

 


 

Step 1. Pursue a Relevant Education

Medical assistant employers in Oklahoma can specify any conditions for hire they choose. Three of the most common qualifications that are either required or preferred are:

  • Prior experience working as a medical assistant
  • Completion of a medical assistant military training program
  • Completion of a medical assistant certification or degree program

Underlying all of these qualifications is an education in medical assisting. Graduating from a medical assistant school is a common route to qualifying for many nationally recognized medical assistant professional certification credentials.

To be eligible for one of the most prominent credentials – the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential – you will need to graduate from a school that is accredited by either of the following organizations:

  • Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
  • Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)

As you complete your medical assistant associate’s degree or certificate-level training program, you can expect to take courses that include these subjects:

  • Medical terminology and communication
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Medical informatics
  • Medical insurance billing and coding
  • Medical assistant clinical procedures
  • Medical assistant computer programs and applications
  • Medical office laboratory procedures
  • Technical human anatomy and physiology
  • Pharmacology for medical assistants
  • Medical office procedures and administration
  • Medical assistant externship

 


 

Step 2. Consider National Credentials Available to Oklahoma Residents

There are a number of nationally recognized medical assistant credentials that are available to Oklahoma residents. Prominent among these is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Once you have graduated from a medical assistant academic program that is accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES you will be qualified to take the Certified Medical Assistant Exam. Passing this will earn you the CMA credential.

You can apply online to take the exam, and you will have 160 minutes to complete 200 multiple-choice questions. The topics covered are:

  • General subjects
    • Psychology
    • Communication
    • Medical law and regulatory guidelines
    • Professionalism and medical ethics
    • Quality assurance, risk management, and safety
    • Medical terminology
  • Administrative subjects
    • Medical reception and patient assistance
    • Medical business practices
    • Establishing a patient’s medical record
    • Appointment scheduling
    • Medical office finances
  • Clinical subjects
    • Anatomy and physiology
    • Documentation of patient intake and care
    • Infection control, emergency management, and first aid
    • Assisting the provider and patient preparation
    • Nutrition
    • Processing and collecting specimens
    • Diagnostic testing
    • Medical assistant pharmacology

There are several other national agencies that offer professional medical assistant credentials. These include:

To qualify for these credentials you will need to pass a qualifying exam offered by the sponsoring agency and typically meet one of the following conditions:

  • Graduate from an approved and accredited medical assistant academic program
  • Be the equivalent of a medical assistant as part of your service in the US Military
  • Have several years of experience working as a medical assistant
  • Have several years of experience teaching medical assistants
  • Have already earned another agency’s medical assistant credential

 


 

Step 3. Learn About the Local Job Market in Oklahoma

The range of desired professional qualifications can vary from employer to employer throughout Oklahoma’s job market. One of the best ways of knowing what employers are looking for is to take a look at some of the most recent job advertisements.

The following is a sampling of vacancy announcement postings for medical assistant jobs in Oklahoma:

The Oklahoma Heart Institute in Tulsa recently posted a medical assistant job description that specified a preference for candidates with a professional medical assistant credential.

Mercy Memorial Health Center in Ardmore was recently seeking a medical assistant who had at least a high school education. A preference was stated for candidates who had Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification through the American Heart Association and who had prior work experience in a clinical setting.

Utica Park Clinic in Broken Arrow was recently seeking a medical assistant who possessed the following minimum qualifications:

  • Professional medical assistant credential
  • Current CPR certification
  • High school diploma or equivalent

Mercy health system in Edmond was recently hiring for a Medical Assistant I and Medical Assistant II. They were looking for professionals with the following qualifications:

  • Medical Assistant I – high school education and CPR certification, and a preference for candidates with a CMA or RMA credential, prior work-related experience, or Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training
  • Medical Assistant II – minimum requirements included having a medical assistant credential from the AAMA, AMT, or NCCT

Medical assistants work at locations all across Oklahoma. These professionals are distributed as follows:

  • 3,720 medical assistants in Oklahoma City
  • 1,800 medical assistants in Tulsa
  • 210 medical assistants in Lawton
  • 560 medical assistants in the southeastern Oklahoma non-metro area
  • 530 medical assistants in the northeastern Oklahoma non-metro area
  • 380 medical assistansts in the northwestern Oklahoma non-metro area
  • 280 medical assistants in the southwestern Oklahoma non-metro area

 


 

Step 4. Maintain and Improve Your Professional Qualifications

Your employer will specify what, if anything, you must do to maintain your employment qualifications as a medical assistant. If you need to maintain a professional credential you must meet the conditions laid out by the agency that sponsors your credential. This includes the following for the credentials already discussed:

  • To maintain your NCMA you will need to complete annual Continuing Education (CE) courses that are approved by the NCCT
  • To maintain your NRCMA credential you will need annually renew your membership with the NAHP, maintain a valid CPR certification, and earn two Class-A Continuing Education Units (CEUs) each year

The national organizations that offer medical assistant credentials can also be a valuable resource for local resources in Oklahoma, including information about:

  • Upcoming continuing education and professional development events
  • Legislative issues that may affect the field of medical assisting
  • Current employment opportunities at locations across the state

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