Massachusetts Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

The Massachusetts Society of Medical Assistants defines a medical assistants as a ”multi-skilled health care practitioner performing clinical and administrative functions. The qualified Medical Assistant has the unique privilege of acting as a liaison between the physician and/or other health care workers and their patients.”  A sample of the functions a medical assistant might accept includes:

  • Interviewing patients about their medical history
  • Performing some laboratory tests
  • Transferring prescriptions to pharmacies
  • Handing samples of medications to patients
  • Giving injections
  • Cleaning medical equipment

Certified Medical Assistants in Massachusetts

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Certification is not required by the State of Massachusetts, but it is often advantageous to have.  Most employers will only consider medical assistants who are certified and have completed high school.  There are several associations that certify medical assistants (or similar positions).

Most medical assistants choose to be certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).  Here is how people become certified medical assistants (CMAs).

1.  Attend a CAAHEP Class

Before testing to become a certified medical assistant, applicants must attend a class that is recognized by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP).  These are offered at various schools in Massachusetts and online.

2.  Consider Scholarships

In previous years, the Massachusetts Society of Medical Assistants has offered scholarships.  If they currently have any funds available for students, applications will be available on their website.

The AAMA regularly offers another scholarship, which is given to students across the United States.  The Maxine Williams Scholarship Fund awards $1,000 grants and one-year memberships to the AAMA to students who show academic achievement and financial need.  To apply, students should email the AAMA their:

  • Name
  • Accreditation Code
  • CAAHEP class’s name and location

3.  Send in Exam Fee and Application

Students can download the exam application, which also lists the necessary fee.  These should be sent into the AAMA, which will send confirmation of reception 30 days later.

4.  Find an Exam Center

Exam centers are located throughout Massachusetts; many are at the same schools that teach the CAAHEP classes.  Students should find a convenient one to take the test at and schedule a time for the exam.  To do this, they will need a permit from the AAMA.  This is sent about three weeks after students are approved, and it comes in an email.

5.  Final Preparation and Review

At this point, students should be ready for the exam.  Yet, they must consistently review, until the test is finished.  Practice questions are often available through the nearest AAMA chapter (listed below) or the CAAHEP school.

6.  Passing Applicants are Certified

Applicants who successfully complete the test can identify themselves as certified medical assistants.  There is a list of CMAs online, where their name will be included.

Medical Assistant Jobs in Massachusetts

Career One Stop, which is run by the Department of Labor, shows promising growth in the medical assistant field.  The chart is from their site.

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Medical Assistants

527,600

690,400

+31%

24,380

Massachusetts

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Medical Assistants

12,680

15,270

+20%

400

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

Even though the field is growing slower in Massachusetts than in other states, it is still growing quickly.  A 20 percent increase in 10 years will create 400 open jobs each year for CMAs in Massachusetts.  As the Massachusetts Society of Medical Assistants says, “The Medical Assistant occupation is projected to have one of the fastest growth rates in the medical field over the next decade.”

Medical Assistants’ Salaries in Massachusetts

The following data also comes from Career One Stop.

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

Massachusetts Hourly

$12.37

$14.44

$16.77

$19.62

$22.68

Yearly

$25,700

$30,000

$34,900

$40,800

$47,200

As this shows, these 400 jobs pay well above minimum wage.  Although growth in the medical assisting field is slower in Massachusetts than the national average, CMAs in Massachusetts earn much more than their peers in other states.  $12.37 is a low hourly wage in the field.  With a little overtime work, some CMAs made $50,000 in 2011.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has wage information by city (city: hourly / annual).

  • Boston, MA: $18.00 / $37,430
  • Worcester, MA: $17.52 / $36,440
  • Springfield, MA: $16.51 / $32,460
  • Farmingham, MA: $36,020 / $17.32

Recertification and Transferring

CMAs must be recertified every 60 months.  This process usually involves attending continuing education classes.  Local chapters (next heading) have more information on recertification.

Transferring is detailed on the AAMA’s site.  It is a simple process, since the AAMA has CMAs in every state.

AAMA Chapters in Massachusetts

  • Greater Boston
  • Greater Fall River
  • Hampden District
  • Southeastern
  • Worcester District

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