Idaho Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants in Idaho form the foundation of many of the state’s medical centers.  Without medical assistants, patients would not have a personal connection with their medical providers, and doctors would have to perform basic administrative duties.  The roles of medical assistants can be divided into clinical and administrative tasks.

Clinical Responsibilities of Medical Assistants:

  • Take patients’ blood pressures, temperatures, pulses and other vital signs
  • Assist with patient examinations
  • Review aftercare instructions with patients
  • Draw blood as needed for laboratory testing

Administrative Responsibilities of Medical Assistants:

  • Helping offices transfer to electronic medical records
  • Calling insurance companies
  • Rescheduling appointments for patients
  • Receiving office mail and distributing it appropriately

Medical Assistant Certification in Idaho

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                One does not need to be certified in order to work as a medical assistant in Idaho.  Most employers prefer certified medical assistants to non-certified ones, however.  In addition to certification, many employers ask for a high school diploma or GED.

                There are several organizations that certify medical assistants.  Although these agencies provide slightly different titles, they train people of very similar positions.

                Of these four associations, the AAMA is the most respected one.  Here is how people can become a CMA with the AAMA.

                First: Train at an Accredited Institution

                There are several institutions that train CMAs for work in Idaho and throughout the United States.  These schools can be found within the state and online.  At these programs, students gain the knowledge and clinical skills necessary to succeed as a CMA.  Students should refrain from enrolling in any program that is not AAMA-certified, or else their training will be disqualified.

                Second: Apply for the Exam and Submit the Fee

                Once a student is read, meaning he has completed an accredited course, he can submit an exam application.  This application can be downloaded from the AAMA’s site (it’s a .pdf) and mailed in with a check or credit card number.  The AAMA responds to received applications within a month.

                Third: Schedule a Time for the Exam

                Once applicants are notified by email that they have been approved to sit for the CMA exam, they have 90 days to take it.  Applicants must schedule a time to take the exam during this window of time.

                Fourth: Study for the Exam

                The exam is designed to challenge applicants and test their abilities.  Therefore, only people who are prepared will pass it.  Applicants must study for the exam.  One’s local AAMA chapter (listed below) can provide resources for review materials.

                Fifth: Be Certified

                The final step in the certification process is passing the CMA exam.  After this, applicants are certified as CMAs for work in Idaho and other states.  Certified medical assistants have their names listed on the CMA Status Website.

                Career Forecast

                According to CareerOneStop.org, there should be 70 openings for CMAs in Idaho each year, through 2018.  This figure is based on governmental statistics, which show a 32 percent increase in Idaho’s need for CMAs between 2008 and 2018.  (The 70 open positions also consider the average turnover among CMAs).

                United States

                Employment

                Percent
                Change

                Job Openings 1

                2010

                2020

                Medical Assistants

                527,600

                690,400

                +31%

                24,380

                Idaho

                Employment

                Percent
                Change

                Job Openings 1

                2008

                2018

                Medical Assistants

                1,710

                2,260

                +32%

                70

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

                Salaries Forecast

                The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has more recent data than CareerOneStop.  The BLS’ data shows that CMAs who worked in Idaho during 2011 earned a median hourly wage of $14.08 and annual salary of $29,290.  This is slightly above CareerOneStop’s data from 2010, which showed an average wage of $13.78 an hour and salary of $28,800.

                The discrepancy between these two government-based sites might be caused by data collection methods.  However, they might also show a slight increase in CMAs’ salaries between 2010 and 2011.  If the average salary for a CMA went up in the past, it could continue to increase as the demand increases.

                In addition to these numbers, the BLS has some more specific salary data.  In 2011, medical assistants who worked in or around Boise, ID earned $34,500, but those that were employed in Coeur D’Alene only made $27,500.

                Certification: Transferring and Being Recertified

                Both transferring and recertifying one’s CMA credentials with the AAMA is simple.  To transfer, CMAs in Idaho should contact their local chapter (see below) or the national office.  The recertification process, which is required every five years, is described here.

                Local Chapters

                • Gate City
                • Idaho Falls
                • Magic Valley

                In addition to these chapters, the Idaho AAMA can be found online at http://idsma.blogspot.com/.

                Sites Used: