Florida Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

The Department of Health in Florida defines medical assistants as, “A professional multiskilled person dedicated to assisting in all aspects of medical practice under the direct supervision and responsibility of a physician.”  The DOH’s document goes on to clearly identify the roles a medical assistant may fulfill.  Medical assistants can:

  • Perform clinical duties (including taking vital signs, preparing patients for a physician’s treatment and performing nonintravenous injections)
  • Administer basic first aid
  • Assist during examinations
  • Operate medical equipment
  • Collect laboratory specimens
  • Administer medications
  • Complete dialysis procedures
  • Perform administrative tasks

Certification for Medical Assistants in Florida

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  • Patient Care Technician
  • Medical Assisting (Diploma)
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Programs:

  • Associate of Science in Medical Assisting
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Locations: Sarasota

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Programs:

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Programs:

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The Florida DOH does not require certification from medical assistants; however, it encourages medical assistants to seek certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).  The AAMA is a private organization that certifies medical assistants throughout the United States.  The AAMA can be reached by calling 800-228-2262 or visiting their website.

The AAMA’s certification process is as follows.

Applicants Must Complete a Class

Before being certified, certified medical assistant (CMA) applicants must complete an approved course.  AAMA-accredited CMA courses include a classroom and practical portion.  There are schools that offer courses throughout Florida, as well as some online.

Applicants Apply and Pay for Exam

After they have completed the necessary training, CMA applicants can apply to take the certification exam.  The application can be mailed into the AAMA, and they will respond within 30 days.  This initial response is merely an update on the application’s status.

Applicants Schedule the Exam

Once an application is approved, the applicant is notified via email within 20 days.  This email will include a testing permit, which will be required when the exam is taken.  The permit gives applicants a 90-period to schedule the exam during.

Applicants Study for the Exam

In order to be well-prepared for the exam, applicants must study.  In addition to all CMA-training schools, the local AAMA chapters in Florida (which are listed below) will have practice exams and review materials available for purchase.

Applicants Sit for the Exam

At this stage, applicants are finally ready to sit for the certification exam.  Those who pass become certified medical assistants (CMAs) and will have their name listed on the AAMA’s CMA Status Website.  This site helps future employers quickly verify certification.

CMA Career Outlook

CareerInfoNet.org, which is a site funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, has recent employment statistics for CMAs in Florida, as well as future projections.  According to the site’s statistics, the growth of CMAs in Florida is expected to mirror that of CMAs in the United States.  Both growth rates are projected to be 31 percent through 2018.  If the Department of Labor’s statistics are correct, then there should be 1,460 openings for CMAs in Florida each year.

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Medical Assistants

527,600

690,400

+31%

24,380

Florida

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Medical Assistants

34,830

45,540

+31%

1,460

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

CMA Salaries in Florida

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has the most recent data regarding CMA salaries in the nation.  CMAs in Florida earned a median hourly wage of $13.80 in 2011. Working full-time, this would result in an annual salary of $28,710.  (Remember, these are medians. Half of the CMAs in Florida earned more, and half earned less than the numbers provided.

CareerInfoNet.org has very similar data:

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

Florida Hourly

$10.19

$11.75

$13.63

$15.89

$18.26

Yearly

$21,200

$24,400

$28,400

$33,100

$38,000

As this chart shows, there is a wide range of salaries for CMAs in Florida.  Here is what medical assistants made during 2011 in various cities.

  • Naples, FL: $34,830 / $16.75
  • Lakeland, FL: $26,960 / $12.96
  • Gainesville, FL: $27,440 / $13.19
  • Jacksonville, FL: $28,130 / $13.52

Recertification and Transfers

Medical assistants in Florida are not certified by the state’s DOH, but by the AAMA, which is a national organization.  Therefore, CMAs are able to easily transfer their credentials to any other state in the U.S.  Certified CMAs can also easily transfer into Florida from another state.

The AAMA requires recertification every five years.  More about the recertification process can be found on the AAMA’s site.

Local Chapters

The AAMA has several resources available for CMAs in Florida.  The state’s AAMA website and Facebook page are full of information.  There also several local chapters:

For More Information: