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Do Medical Assistants make good money?

by tom44 on March 25, 2014

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Question by kristine J: Do Medical Assistants make good money?
I am in school for the medical assistant degree..I finish in December are jobs hard to find for MA??

Best answer:

Answer by redhed
Short answer is yes, MA jobs are difficult to find, at least where I live in California and the pay isn’t great. Read on for the long answer. Should you wish additional information, edit your post and I will respond. Specifically if you tell me whether you prefer front office or back office I can better guide you. I personally always preferred front office. Are you taking billing, transcription, ICD-10 coding, etc?

I have taught medical assisting and medical billing and coding at community college, adult schools and private colleges.

I don’t know where you live, however in the San Francisco Bay Area where I live it is difficult to get a job. However, based on my experience I do have information to help increase your chances.

I don’t know whether you are going to a community college or private vocational school for your degree. Usually as long as the school has a good reputation with employers a degree is better than just a certificate. Although an important thing to know is once you complete your degree you will most likely also have a certificate of completion. This DOES NOT mean that your are certified. If you want to become a certified medical assistant, you must take a test. Unless you are also in California (because we split off from the national association years ago) you should go to this website:

http://www.aama-ntl.org/becomeCMA/how.aspx

The best advice is this and I can not over emphasize the importance of this: Begin looking for your job right now!

My experience is that the best chance you have of getting a job is looking NOW while you are still in school. DO NOT take a break once you graduate, even though I know you will probably be tired; I know I was.

Contact your doctor, dentist, eye doctor, orthodontist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, pediatrician, etc. Tell all your friends and family you are looking. My aunt got me my first job in the medical field. It would be great if the place where you do your externship hires you but there is no guarantee. If you are offered a job take it even if the pay is lousy. You are getting paid to learn and get experience. Some places are getting 300 resumes for one job opening.

Years ago some places like Kaiser offered an MA to LVN program although I don’t believe they do any more.

Had you asked me before you started the program I would have advised you to skip it, unless you only want to do front office and/or billing and coding, and go straight to RN. I have a niece who I helped get into the Medical Assisting program in her area. She got in but was unable to get a job where she was living and has now just started going for her RN. However, as you only have one semester left if is vital that you finish. At least you will have your degree which can’t hurt.

The other thing to do right now is contact your local Medical Assisting chapter, sign up (they usually offer student discounts), go to their meetings and NETWORK.

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