Louisiana Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Without medical assistants, Louisiana’s healthcare system would likely breakdown.  Medical assistants keep doctors’ offices and other healthcare facilities running smoothly, by performing basic clinical and administrative tasks.  Some of the responsibilities medical assistants take on include:

  • Communicating with patients and other doctors’ offices
  • Administering shots and drawing blood
  • Recording medical histories
  • Assisting with patient exams
  • Cleaning and sanitizing medical equipment
  • Preparing medical rooms

Certified Medical Assistants in Louisiana

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The following for associations certify medical assistants or comparable positions.

Certification is not required by law for medical assistants; however, people with certification are often preferred by employers.  In addition to certification, many medical facilities only hire medical assistants who have a GED or high school diploma.

The American Association of Medical Assistants, which goes by the AAMA, is one of the most recognized certifying agencies.  The AAMA’s certification process contains six steps.

Step 1:  Find a School

AAMA-sanctioned schools are located in almost every Louisiana city.  The tuition of the courses and their durations varies.  From all of the programs available, students should be able to find one that meets their budget and schedule.

Step 2:  Consider a Scholarship

The AAMA offers a national scholarship to medical assistant students who maintain at least a 3.0 GPA during the first quarter of their training.  This scholarship is based on academic merit, as well as financial need.  The recipients receive a $1,000 award.

Step 3:  Send In the Test Application

The AAMA test application must be sent in, before students can schedule a time to take the exam.  When mailing it to the AAMA, applicants should also enclose the exam fee.  They can expect to hear from the AAMA in about a month of applying.

Step 4:  Find a Testing Center

There are several AAMA-approved testing centers in Louisiana.  Students must contact one of these centers to schedule a time for their test.  On the day of the exam, they must bring the testing permit.  This is sent via email by the AAMA within three weeks of approval to take the exam.

Step 5:  Study

Two (sometimes dreaded) words describe the final step in the certification process: “test” and “exam.”  Just as with any other test, students must study for the CMA certification exam.  Course instructors can provide students with practice materials.

Step 6:  Pass the Exam

All applicants that pass the test are certified to work as medical assistants.  They will be listed on the AAMA’s page of certified medical assistants.

CMA Employment Outlook in Louisiana

The following chart comes from CareerInfoNet.org, which run by the U.S. Department of Labor.

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Medical Assistants

527,600

690,400

+31%

24,380

Louisiana

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Medical Assistants

4,530

6,080

+34%

210

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

The need for CMAs in Louisiana is growing at a faster rate than the national average of 31 percent.  A 34 percent increase in the demand for CMAs within Louisiana would result in more than 200 open jobs across the state each year.

CMA Salary Outlook in Louisiana

CareerInfoNet.org also has a chart that shows wage information for CMAs in Louisiana.

Location Pay
Period

2011

10%

25%

Median

75%

90%

United States Hourly

$10.04

$11.86

$13.99

$16.87

$19.62

Yearly

$20,900

$24,700

$29,100

$35,100

$40,800

Louisiana Hourly

$8.82

$10.35

$12.54

$14.63

$17.24

Yearly

$18,300

$21,500

$26,100

$30,400

$35,900

Most CMAs who worked in Louisiana during2011 earned between $11.86 and $16.87 an hour, which is a decent wage for an occupation that does not require a college degree.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) breaks this information down by region and city.  Here is what CMAs earned in some of Louisiana’s cities during 2011 (hourly wage / annual salary).

  • Lake Charles, LA: $21,670 / $10.42
  • New Orleans, LA: $28,780 / $13.84
  • Baton Rouge, LA: $27,180 / $13.07
  • Monroe, LA: $23,690 / $11.39

Recertify and Transfer

Since the AAMA handles medical assistant certification throughout the United States, it is easy to transfer from one state to another.  Nearly every state has the same certification process.  CMAs interested in transferring should visit the AAMA’s page.

Recertification is required every five years.  It is also handled by the AAMA.

Louisiana’s AAMA Chapters

Louisiana does not have any local chapters, so CMAs must contact the national offices with any questions.

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