Oregon Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants in Oregon are employed at all different types of healthcare facilities.  They work under either a nurse’s or physician’s guidance, taking care of routine tasks.  Medical assistants have both administrative and clinical roles.

Medical Assistants’ Administrative Roles:

  • Clerical duties (sorting mail, scheduling appointments)
  • Updating electronic records
  • Sending prescriptions to pharmacies

Medical Assistants’ Clinical Roles:

  • Going over aftercare
  • Readying patients for the doctor
  • Drawing blood

Certified Medical Assistants in Oregon

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Certification is not necessary to work in Oregon as a medical assistant, but it certainly helps when searching for a job.  Employers know that certified medical assistants have been trained to specific standards and demonstrated their skills through an exam.  Here are the main medical assistant certifiers.

The American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and their certified medical assistants (CMAs) are the most respected of these four.

First:  Coursework

Before applying to take the exam, applicants must attend an approved course.  Only curriculum that the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) has approved will be accepted by the AAMA.  However, there are several CAAHEP courses offered throughout the year in Oregon.

Scholarship (Optional)

Any CMA student in the U.S. is welcome to apply for the Maxine Williams Scholarship, although some applicants will immediately be eliminated.  To be considered, students must keep at least a 3.0 in school.

Second:  Apply

The form used for AAMA applications is online.  After submitting it, applicants should expect acknowledgement in 30 days.  Approved applicants will receive an email containing their permit, which allows them to take the test, 20 days following approval.

Third:  Testing Location

Any of Oregon’s CMA testing locations can be used by students.  Many take the exam at the same place that they trained, but students can go to a different testing site.

Fourth:  Studying

Oregon’s AAMA chapters (see last heading), as well as the state’s training programs can provide students with studying materials.  Students who go through these materials have a much higher passing rate than those who do not.

Fifth:  Passing

Prior to taking the exam, students must surrender their permit to the proctor.  Then, they are allowed to sit for the certification exam.  Those who pass will be awarded the title of “Certified Medical Assistant.” Soon, they will be listed among other CMAs on the CMA Verification Page.

Oregon CMAs: Job Forecast

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Medical Assistants

527,600

690,400

+31%

24,380

Oregon

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Medical Assistants

7,110

8,950

+26%

270

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

(CareerInfoNet.org)

The need for CMAs in Oregon is quickly growing.  By 2018, there will be about 9,000 in the state.  The 270 annual job openings make entering this field and finding quick employment realistic.

Oregon CMAs: Salaries

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

Oregon Hourly

$11.96

$13.45

$15.76

$17.82

$20.32

Yearly

$24,900

$28,000

$32,800

$37,100

$42,300

Oregon’s CMAs earn significantly more than those elsewhere in the U.S., especially at the lower end of the pay scale.  Few occupations promise $25,000 a year (or much more) for a new entrant.  Even fewer do not require a college degree.

The BLS has figures that show the median medical assistant salaries in several of Oregon’s cities.

  • Portland, OR: $33,860 (yr.) / $16.28 (hr.)
  • Salem, OR: $32,300 / $15.53
  • Eastern Oregon (nonmetropolitan): $32,170 / $15.47
  • Medford, OR: $32,230 / $15.49

AAMA Transfer and CMA Recertification

Local chapters (next heading) can help CMAs through the transfer process.  This is relatively simple with the AAMA, which is recognized by every state.

CMAs must be recertified every five (5) years.  Details about recertification are located on the association’s site.

Local AAMA Chapters in Oregon

  • Central Oregon
  • Klamath Falls County
  • Lane County
  • Linn-Benton County
  • Marion-Polk County
  • River Cities

The state society, Oregon Society of Medical Assistants (OSMA) can be found on FaceBook and online.

Sources: