Medical Assistant Programs and Certification in Florida
Florida medical assistants are professional and multi-skilled – indeed, these words are part of the definition provided in state statute. Medical assistants work under the direction and supervision of doctors. Florida gives its medical assistants a broad scope of allowable duties. It also sets requirements high!
Florida medical assistants are not licensed but often hold third party credentials. A person can qualify for industry-leading certifications with as little as one academic year of education.
Top Rated Medical Assistant Schools in Florida
Marion Technical College is CAAHEP-accredited. The school has provided public access to the program outcomes reported to the accrediting agency. The five-year examination pass rate (2013-2018) is 96.97%. The placement rate is 88.05%.
Robert Morgan Education Center & Technical College in Miami also includes a 1300 hour curriculum. The school states that students are prepared for the CMA and RMA exams. The job placement rate for students that entered as part of the 2016 cohort was 93.75%.
Rasmussen College holds both regional accreditation and programmatic accreditation. The program is 51 credit hours. Financial aid is available. Rasmussen offers its medical assisting program on multiple Florida campuses.
Florida Medical Assistant Certification Options
A Florida medical assistant can use the title certified medical assistant if he or she is certified by an agency that is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies or by a state or national medical association or other Board-approved entity.
The following certifying agencies are listed on the website of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies:
- American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
- American Medical Certification Association (AMCA)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT)
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
This is as of late 2019; accreditation is reviewed periodically.
The following credentials are available:
- AAMA: Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA)
- AMCA: Clinical Medical Assistant Certification
- AMT: Registered Medical Assistant
- NCCT: National Certified Medical Assistant
- NHA: Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
Examination is part of the process. Each of the above certifying agencies requires medical assistants to meet additional eligibility requirements. Formal education is qualifying in all instances, though standards vary slightly. Most agencies have other pathways, such as experience.
The American Association of Medical Assistants does not have an experience pathway. Until recently, only graduates of programs accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES could achieve AAMA certification. The organization has implemented a pilot program under which graduates of medical assisting programs housed in other accredited institutions can test for AAMA certification. These programs must be at least 720 hours and include at least 160 hours of practicum. 1,000 hours of work experience can be considered the equivalent of 160 hours practicum; it is to follow after program completion.
The NHA and AMCA credentials have the shortest work experience requirements of the above noted certifications.
Florida employers frequently state that certification is required or preferred. They may list qualifying organizations or certifications or simply note national certification. One pediatric organization noted AAMA, AMT, NCCT, or NHA.
Medical Assisting Curriculum: How long is going to take to become a Medical Assistant
The Florida Department of Education has a Curriculum Framework for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs. Curriculum frameworks are designed for schools that are in the Florida College System (as well as those that serve younger students). Many medical assisting programs in the state follow the medical assisting framework. They are at least 1300 hours and include 200 hours of practicum. Many programs around the nation, notably, include a little less. This is the case with some Florida programs.
Medical office procedures, laboratory procedures, clinical medical assisting, phlebotomy, and EKG aide are among the topics in the curriculum framework.
Florida Medical Assistant Scope of Practice and Job Duties
Work varies by job setting. Florida medical assistants potentially have a broad scope of duty. The Florida scope of practice includes dialysis — including home dialysis if the individual is under direct physician supervision. The following are among the other duties noted: taking vital signs, performing venipuncture, reporting patient signs and symptoms, collecting routine specimens, and administering medication and basic first aid.
Employers may designate positions by level of expertise. Some positions are denoted Medical Assistant I or Medical Assistant II.
Top Employers in Florida
One can find medical assistants in many clinic and office settings, including private practices, hospital-affiliated outpatient centers, and community clinics.
The following are among Florida’s employers:
- AdventHealth Medical Group
- Ascension St. Vincent’s
- Florida Hospital Medical Group
- Baptist Health Medical Group
- CarePost/MedSpot Urgent Care
- Florida Medical Clinic
- Mount Sinai Medical Center
- American Care Medical Centers
There are several Florida pediatric organizations on Forbes list of top healthcare employers.
Florida Medical Assistant Salary
The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average full-time Florida medical assistant wage as $32,870. This is based on May 2018 data. The 10th percentile wage is listed as $24,700; the 90th percentile wage, $41,960.
The highest average in the state ($37,780) is in the North Port-Sarasota area.
The Villages, a relatively small Florida metropolitan area, has the distinction of having the highest location quotient/ job concentration of any metropolitan area in the nation. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, meanwhile, has the 5th highest medical assistant employment level in the nation.
The Florida Society of Medical Assistants is the state professional association (https://www.fsmaonline.org/). There are eight local Florida chapters.
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