How to Become a Medical Assistant in South Dakota

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The South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners will ensure that you meet state requirements before it will allow you to practice as a medical assistant. To become a medical assistant in South Dakota you will need to navigate the following steps:

Register with the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners
Consider National Certification
Pursue Available a Medical Assistant Job in South Dakota
Maintain and Improve Your Professional Qualifications

South Dakota recognizes the importance of qualified medical assistants, and that is why it entrusts its Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners to register these individuals. As the medical assistant occupation continues to grow and expand in the state, it is important that only those who are qualified and capable are allowed to practice in South Dakota. Currently there are 1,090 registered medical assistants providing their valuable services throughout the state.

South Dakota law clearly defines the duties medical assistants are allowed to perform. Medical assistants are specifically allowed to provide the following services under the supervision of an approved medical professional:

  • Administer basic first aid
  • Operate medical office equipment
  • Assist with treatment and patient examinations
  • Collect routine laboratory specimens
  • Administer medications by unit dosage
  • Perform basic lab procedures
  • Perform general office administrative duties and procedures
  • Perform the following clinical procedures:
    • Take vital signs
    • Observe and report a patient’s symptoms or signs
    • Conduct phlebotomy blood withdrawal
    • Make non-intravenous injections
    • Prepare patients for examination
    • Perform aseptic procedures

Unless hospitals specifically allow medical assistants to work within their premises, medical assistants are not automatically permitted to provide their services in a hospital.



Step 1. Register with the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners

According to South Dakota’s law governing medical assistants, to work as a medical assistant in South Dakota you will need to complete each of the following:

  • Graduate from an approved medical assistant training program
  • Find a licensed physician or medical professional who is willing to directly supervise you
  • Register with the South Dakota Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners

In addition to meeting the requirements for registration with the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners, medical assistant employers can also set their own minimum requirements and preferences for hire. These can include the following:

  • Associate’s degree in medical assisting
  • Bachelor’s degree in the medical sciences that focuses on medical assisting
  • Master’s degree and advanced graduate degrees in the field of medical sciences
  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential
  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential

Approved Medical Assistant Training Programs

Registration with the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners requires you to graduate from a medical assistant school that is either accredited, or that otherwise meets standards that are similar to an accredited school.

There are a variety of medical assistant certification programs in South Dakota, and as you consider choosing one of these also bear in mind that graduating from some of these programs will make you eligible for additional medical assistant credentials in the future. Graduating from a school accredited by the following organizations will fulfill eligibility requirements for the CMA (certified) and RMA (registered) credentials:

As you complete a medical assistant degree program you can expect to enroll in courses such as:

  • Introduction to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Introduction to health care information management
  • Urinalysis
  • Phlebotomy
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical billing and coding
  • Limited radiology
  • Medical transcriptions
  • Medical terminology and communication skills

Completing the Registration Process

Once you have completed a medical assisting program you will need to find a medical professional that is willing to act as your supervisor. This professional can be any of the following:

  • Licensed physician
  • Licensed physician assistant
  • Licensed advanced practical nurse

At this point you will be ready to register as a medical assistant in South Dakota. You can do this through the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners’ medical assistant website. Start by creating an Online Account Request Form. Once you complete this form the Board will send you a username and password used to create an online application for registration. Initial registration as a medical assistant costs $10.

Once the Board has approved your registration you will be allowed to practice as a medical assistant for up to two years until the registration expires. Before it expires you will need to submit a renewal request.



Step 2. Consider National Certification

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

Sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), the CMA credential can be earned once you pass the Certified Medical Assistant Exam. You can become eligible to take this exam once you have graduated from a medical assistant academic program that is approved by either the CAAHEP or ABHES as referenced under Approved Medical Assistant Training Programs in Step 1.

You can register online to take this exam, for which you will be given 160 minutes to complete 200 multiple-choice questions in three subject areas:

  • General subjects
  • Administrative subjects
  • Clinical subjects

The CMA Exam is offered at two Prometric testing centers in South Dakota:

  • In Sioux Falls at 4700 South Technopolis Drive, Suite 4
  • In Rapid City at 1301 West Omaha Street, Suite 218

Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

American Medical Technologists (AMT) is the sponsor of the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential. One of the ways to become eligible for this credential is to earn a CMA through the AAMA. Once you have done this you can apply with AMT for their RMA credential.



Step 3. Pursue Available Medical Assistant Jobs in South Dakota

As you research medical assistant careers in the state you may also consider joining a professional organizations such as the South Dakota Society of Medical Assistants (SDSMA). This organization offers information about employment opportunities, professional development education or activities, and the latest legislative updates pertaining to the field of medical assistants.

A recent sampling of medical assistant vacancy announcements from across South Dakota revealed the following requirements for hire:

  • Avera Medical Group in Sioux Falls sought a medical assistant who possessed the following minimum qualifications:
    • Associate’s or technical degree from a medical assistant academic program
    • Any one of the following:
      • CMA credential from the AAMA
      • RMA credential from the AMT
      • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National HealthCareer Association

  • The wellness company Provant was recently seeking a medical assistant for employment at a location in Mobridge who was a holder of a current medical assistant certification
  • The Sanford Aberdeen Clinic in Aberdeen was recently seeking a medical assistant with the following minimum qualifications:
      • Graduate from an accredited medical assistant school
      • CMA credential



Step 4. Maintain and Improve Your Professional Qualifications

You will need to renew your registration with the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners every two years. Registration expires biannually on December 31st of odd-numbered years. To renew your registration you will need to submit a renewal application and a fee of $5.

An initial CMA credential is valid for 60 months, and to renew this you will need to either retake the CMA Exam or earn 60 re-certification points as follows:

To maintain a RMA credential through the AMT you will need to pay an annual $50 renewal fee and complete 30 Certification Continuing Program (CCP) points every three years.

As you gain experience working in the medical assisting field you may also wish to consider furthering your education. Earning more advanced degrees in the medical sciences field can open up additional career possibilities for you that range from specialized medical positions to more advanced general positions, including:

  • Physical therapist
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Registered nurse
  • Physician assistant
  • Physician and specialized medical doctor positions

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