Becoming a Medical Assistant in Nevada: Nevada Medical Assistant Schools and the Road to Certification

Medical assisting is an in-demand career. Nevada’s medical assistants are helping people access basic healthcare. They carry out a wide range of delegated tasks in office and clinic settings. Some are taking on innovative new roles. Renown, one of the state’s major healthcare providers, notes that medical assistants have an instrumental role in coordinating care for patients in their primary care medical home.

Medical assistants can often be found working side by side with medical doctors. Nevada addresses medical assistant delegation in state code and takes into account the needs of a rural population. State code allows for remote supervision in circumstances where it’s warranted. One of the requirements for remote supervision: that services are being provided in a rural part of the state. For this purpose, all parts of the state count as rural except the following: Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Reno, Sparks, Henderson, Carson City, and Elko. Among the other requirements: that the physician and patient have a pre-existing relationship, that immediate healthcare services is necessary, and that the provider is able to provide the level of supervision needed from the remote location.

Medical assistants are not licensed. They often hold third party certification. The following certifications, all accredited by the National Commission of Certifying Agencies, have been referenced recently by Nevada employers:

• American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
• American Medical Technologists (AMT) Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
• National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
• National Healthcareer Association (NHA) Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

Some organizations have particular certifications that they favor.

Medical assistants meet initial certification standards by providing evidence of formal training or experience and passing a certification examination. The American Association of Medical Assistants accepts only formal education. The traditional pathway involves completion of a CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited program. A pilot program allows individuals who complete other medical assisting programs to test, provided the program is at least two semesters, meets AAMA-identified curricular standards, and is housed in an institutionally accredited organization. Most certification agencies have an experience pathway. American Medical Technologists requires fully five years of recent experience.

Some employers require formal education in medical assisting, though it is still possible to train on the job. Medical assistant programs tend to be short: often about one academic year. Some are shorter but do not provide students with all the same certification options. Some are significantly longer and result in an associate’s degree.

Some medical assisting programs are eligible for funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act — if the particular student qualifies.

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Most Popular Medical Assistant Programs in Nevada

The College of Southern Nevada is the state’s sole CAAHEP-accredited program. The school uses a point system to decide who gets in. Points are awarded on the basis of prerequisite GPA, healthcare experience, and typing skills.

Northwest Career College holds institutional ABHES accreditation. The school offers flexible scheduling options with some classwork available online. Students are issued a laptop to facilitate studies. The recent certification examination pass rate was 88%. Northwest Career College boasts a 84% job placement rate for 2017 to 2018.

The Truckee Community College program is one of several WOIA-eligible programs in the Reno area. It is a short one, though it will not qualify students for all certifications. Successful completion and examination will lead to a recognized industry certificate, the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant offered by the National Healthcareer Association.

Employer Expectations

One community health organization recently sought a medical assistant who had graduated from a medical assisting program that was approved by the American Association of Medical Assistants or had five years of recent medical assisting experience. The candidate was to hold either a CMA or RMA credential or be able to earn one within three months.

A major healthcare organization sought candidates with any of the following certifications: CMA, RMA, CCMA, NCMA. They were looking for a year of prior experience – unless the individual had completed an externship with their organization. This organization had multiple postings. Requirements were not identical from position to position. In some instances, certification might substitute for experience.

Another major health system recently advertised multiple positions for candidates who had completed internships or had a year of experience. Externship is a typical curricular component accreditation and certification organizations may set minimum hours.

Employers of Medical Assistant in Nevada

Medical assistants are generally employed in outpatient settings. Many work under the banner of major health or hospital systems. The following are among Nevada’s employers:

• Renown
• CareNow Urgent Care, Family Care, and Walk-In Clinics
• Nevada Health Centers, Inc
• DaVita
• Community Health Alliance
• Skin Cancer and Dermatology Institute
• Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada
• Prime Healthcare
• Carson Medical Group
• P3 Health Partners
• Premise Health
• UnitedHealth Group
• UNLV Medicine

Nevada Medical Assistant Salary and Career Outlook

In 2018, Nevada massage therapists averaged $16.16 an hour (or $33,610 for a full-time year). Most made between $12.31 and $21.03 an hour, though 10% fell on either end of this range.

Job concentration was average (with a location quotient of .99). Location quotient was highest in the Carson City area.

The Nevada medical assisting profession has been projected to experience 24% occupational growth between 2016 and 2026.

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