Medical Assistant Schools and Certification in Delaware
Delaware medical assistants carry out routine tasks delegated by doctors and other qualified professionals. Medical assistants are distinguished from other healthcare support workers in that they work primarily in ambulatory care. Within that setting, they function as multi-skilled workers. Medical assistants may have both clinical and administrative duties.
Education and certification requirements are informal — at least with regard to Delaware legal code. Employers seek individuals with formal medical assisting education, experience, and/ or certification. Certification is granted by third party organizations; certification may be mandated at the employment level or listed as a preferred qualification.
The following are examples of education and certification requirements set by employers.
Bayhealth, a major healthcare system, advertised in late 2019 for entry-level medical assistants who had completed formal programs or had at least 18 months of experience carrying out job duties like taking vital signs and preparing charts. Requirements were steeper at the Medical Assistant II level. Here, experience was sought: a full three years if the individual did not have accredited education, one year otherwise. Certification was preferred.
Nemours, a pediatric organization, advertised multiple positions at the Medical Assistant II level, asking graduation from an accredited program and medical assistant certification (or ability to attain certification within a specified period after hire). Certifications referenced by Nemours include Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) and Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA).
CristianaCare, meanwhile, listed the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant credential as a preferred qualification.
Doctor’s offices, too, advertise for individuals with credentials. One multi-physician practiced noted certification through an accredited organization was strongly preferred; another noted a particular certification, Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) as preferred.
Best Medical Assistant Programs in Delaware
The Delaware Technical and Community College medical assisting program in Wilmington is CAAHEP-accredited and has held its programmatic accreditation for more than 20 years. Students earn associate’s degrees.
Delaware State University offers a 780-hour certificate program that includes an externship. The course is designed to prepare students for the NHA examination and credentialing as Certified Clinical Medical Assistants.
Harris School of Business offers full-time and part-time options; the full-time medical assisting program can be completed within a year. Here, too, students participate in an externship. Harris School of Business lists two different programs: medical assistant, available in Dover, and professional medical assistant, available in Wilmington. The Dover campus holds institutional accreditation through the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC); the Wilmington campus holds institutional accreditation through the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education & Training.
Medical Assistant Certifications
Certifications are granted to individuals who meet eligibility requirements and pass an examination.
The CMA is granted by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). Eligibility is based on formal education. It has in the past been restricted to individuals who graduate from programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau for Health Education Schools (ABHES). A time-limited program confers eligibility to individuals who graduate from programs at other accredited institutions, provided they meet minimum standards for academic hours and externship hours.
The RMA is granted by American Medical Technologists (AMT). Candidates can achieve eligibility through completion of academic programs that are housed in accredited institutions (or are themselves accredited). Programs housed within accredited institutions are to be at least 720 hours and include at least 160 hours of externship – this requirement is on a par with AAMA. Formal U.S. medical services programs are also qualifying. The organization has an experience pathway, but requirements are high: five years of recent experience.
The CCMA is granted by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). The NHA has experience and training pathways. Training programs can be acquired through accredited or state-recognized institutions, branches of the armed services, or apprenticeship programs that are registered with the Department of Labor.
The NCMA is granted by the National Center for Competency Training. The organization recognizes academic, military, and experience backgrounds as eligibility pathways.
All of the above certifications are accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies.
Top Medical Assistant Employers in Delaware
Medical assistants are hired by healthcare systems, private practices, and urgent care centers (among others).
The following are among Delaware’s employers:
- Westside Family Healthcare
- Beebe Healthcare
- MedExpress Urgent Care
- Maxim Healthcare Services
- Center for Interventional Pain & Spine
Medical assistants may work for small practices like the Haitian language clinic profiled in a local ABC news source.
Delaware Medical Assistant Salary and Career Outlook
In 2018, Delaware medical assistants averaged $16.03 an hour, or $33,350 for a full year at 40 hours a week. Most full-time workers made between $23,770 (10th percentile) and $45,000 (90th percentile).
Delaware Technical and Community College has stated that competitive starting salaries are between $21,000 and $29,000.
Delaware had a location quotient slightly above the national average; this is based on job concentration.
The American Association of Medical Assistants is a national professional association. While Delaware does not at this time have a state AAMA chapter, Delaware residents can be members-at-large of the national professional association.
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