Georgia Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants in Georgia are charged with a variety of tasks, all of which help other medical providers care for patients.   In general, medical assistants perform very basic clinical functions and are responsible for various administrative responsibilities.  A medical assistant’s day might consist of:

  • Collecting blood from patients
  • Cleaning equipment and preparing it for the next use
  • Updating patients’ records
  • Billing patients and filing insurance forms
  • Giving aftercare instructions to patients
  • Recording patients’ vital signs

Medical Assistant Certification in Georgia

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Programs:

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Programs:

  • Medical Assistant Associate's Degree
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Programs:

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  • Medical Billing and Coding - Certificate
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Programs:

  • Medical Assisting
  • Pharmacy Technician/Assistant
  • Dental Assisting
Locations: Smyrna

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Programs:

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Georgia does not have any state laws, nor are there any national laws, requiring certification for medical assistant.  Certified medical assistants, however, often earn higher salaries and land better positions than their non-certified colleagues.  There are five agencies that certify medical assistants and similar positions.

Of these, the AAMA is the most established agency.  Their certification process is described below.

Applicants Attend a Class

The first step in the certification process is to attend a training class that the AAMA recognizes.  There are many classes in Georgia; they can even be completed online.  Every course, however, must include a clinical portion and be accredited by the AAMA.

Applicants Register for the Test

Once the class is finished, students are prepared to take the AAMA’s certification test.  They can register for this exam by completing the application and mailing it, along with the appropriate fees, to the AAMA’s offices.  The AAMA will update applicants on the status of their application within a month.

Applicants Schedule a Time for the Test

Three weeks after approval of an application, the AAMA notifies the applicant via email.  In this email, there will be a testing permit, which the applicant must take to the testing center on the day of the exam.  Once they have this permit in hand, applicants can schedule a time to sit for the exam at one of the CMA testing centers in Georgia.

Applicants Study

Although any accredited course will prepare applicants for the certification test, they must still study prior to taking it.  The training school one attended and one’s local CMA chapter (listed below) should both have review materials.

Applicants Take the Test

At their scheduled time, applicants sit for the certification test.  This consists of two parts.  One measures the applicant’s academic knowledge and the other confirms their clinical abilities.  Applicants who pass both parts are certified as medical assistants and will be listed online with the AAMA.

CMAs’ Career Outlook

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Medical Assistants

527,600

690,400

+31%

24,380

Georgia

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Medical Assistants

14,390

21,090

+47%

850

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

The above chart, which comes from CareerInfoNet.org, shows how promising the medical assistant field is.  Throughout the United States, there is an anticipated growth of 31 percent between 2008 and 2018.  At 47 percent, Georgia’s rate is even greater.  This should result in 850 job offers for CMAs in Georgia each year.

CMAs’ Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has the latest data on CMA salaries.  According to the BLS, CMAs earned a median wage of $13.99 in 2011.  This translated into an average annual salary over $28,000.  That year, half of all CMAs in Georgia earned between $24,000 and $33,200.

Here is a breakdown of what they earned by city/region (annual / hourly).

  • Macon, GA: $29,610 / $14.24
  • Atlanta, GA: $29,930 / $14.39
  • Augusta, GA: $30,810 / $14.81
  • Dalton, GA: $27,650 / $13.30

Recertifying and Transferring

Since the AAMA is a nationally-recognized association, one’s records as a CMA can be easily transferred from one state to another.  Few certifications or licenses in the medical field can be transferred across state lines as easily as CMAs’.

Recertification is also overseen by the AAMA.  They require recertification every fifth year one is licensed.  More information about recertifying with the AAMA is available on this page.

Local Chapters

The AAMA has several chapters in Georgia:

  • Central Savannah River Area
  • Cobb
  • Dougherty
  • Gwinnett County
  • Hall County
  • Lowndes
  • Muscogee
  • Rome
  • Thomas County
  • West Central Georgia

Sources Used: