Colorado Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants in Colorado work under other medical professionals, helping them serve patients.  Medical assistants have both clinical and administrative responsibilities.

Clinical Tasks:

  • Filling out insurance forms
  • Giving post-appointment instructions to patients
  • Scheduling follow-up appointments
  • Checking patients in for appointments

Administrative Tasks:

  • Tracking vital signs
  • Drawing blood
  • Administering shots
  • Assisting with patient exams

How to Become a Certified Medical Assistant in Colorado

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Technically, people do not need to be certified to work as a medical assistant in Colorado, but certified medical assistants (CMAs) are often offered better positions and higher salaries than their non-certified coworkers.  In addition to certification, most employers will want their CMAs to have a GED or higher.

Four national organizations have certification programs for medical assistants and similar positions.

Here is the AAMA’s certification process.  Most of the other agencies work similarly.

1.  Enroll in an Accredited Training Program

There are AAMA-accredited CMA training programs throughout the country.  Because these programs are not run by the AAMA, the tuition for and length of the programs can vary.  Regardless of where are class is taken, it must include a section on drawing blood and administering shots.  Often, this is learned through a volunteer internship.  As long as students enroll in an accredited class, they will be able to take the AAMA’s certification exam.

2.  Apply for the Exam

The AAMA has made the exam application available online.  Prospective CMAs can print out the application, complete it and then mail it into the AAMA’s offices.  After about a month, applicants should expect a response from the CMA Certification Department.  This usually comes as an email notifying applicants of their status.

3.  Schedule a CMA Exam

Once their application is approved, applicants are sent instructions, via email, for scheduling an exam.  This email should arrive no later than three weeks after an application has been approved, and it starts the 90-day testing window.  The exam must be scheduled during this time, or else another application must be submitted.  When going to take the exam, applicants should remember to bring their permit, which is also included in this email.

4.  Review Course Material

All accredited programs provide adequate training for the AAMA’s CMA exam, but students must review the course material.  During the exam application and scheduling process, it is easy to forget details.  Therefore, students should regularly study their notes and take a few practice exams.  Instructors usually provide review materials, but if additional practice exams are needed, then students should contact their local AAMA chapter (listed below).

5.  Take the Exam

Students who pass the exam are certified as medical assistants.  Along with their certification, they will be listed on the CMA website.

Job Prospects for CMAs in Colorado

The U.S. Department of Labor provides career information through Career One Stop, which can be found at careerinfonet.org.  According to the site, the need for CMAs in Colorado is expected to increase by one-third.  (Site statistics are from 2008-2018).  This is slightly higher than the national projected growth of 31 percent in the field.  Assuming these estimates prove to be accurate, there will be 320 open positions for CMAs in Colorado each year.

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Medical Assistants

527,600

690,400

+31%

24,380

Colorado

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Medical Assistants

7,080

9,400

+33%

320

1Job Openings refers to the average annual job openings due to growth and net replacement.

CMAs’ Salaries in Colorado

Career One Stop also provides salary information for CMAs.

Location Pay
Period

2010

10%

25%

Median

75%

90%

United States Hourly

$10.01

$11.71

$13.87

$16.56

$19.32

Yearly

$20,800

$24,400

$28,800

$34,400

$40,200

Colorado Hourly

$11.05

$12.91

$15.25

$17.75

$21.01

Yearly

$23,000

$26,900

$31,700

$36,900

$43,700

According to their data, an uncertified and inexperienced CMA can expect to earn around $23,000 annually.  Those who are certified with the AAMA and experienced in the field, however, can earn nearly double that: $43,700 a year.

The Bureau of Labor Statistic’s (BLS) data from 2011 confirms this.  In that year, the median wage for a CMA in Colorado was $32,000 annually.  Their maps also show that CMAs in the Denver area, as well as some in rural Colorado earned over $40,000 in 2011.

The BLS also has salary information broken down by city.

  • Denver, CO: $34,270 / $16.48
  • Western Colorado (non-metropolitan): $35,260 / $16.95
  • Greeley, CO: $29,440 / $14.16

Recertification and Transferring Certification

The AAMA’s recertification process includes taking an exam every five years.  For people who work daily as a CMA, this test should be an easy refresher.  More information about the exam is available on the AAMA’s website.

People who want to transfer their certification from one state to another, can do so easily.  They just need to let the AAMA know they are moving, and the paperwork will be transferred.  Because the AAMA is a national organization, their certification is recognized in each state.

Local Chapters

Colorado has two AAMA chapters:

  • Metro Denver
  • Northern Colorado

They can also be found on Facebook.

Sources and Helpful Resources: