Pennsylvania Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants in Pennsylvania go back and forth between patients and doctors.  They regularly take care of routine items, so doctor’s can spend their time focused on the patient.  Medical assistants also enhance the patient experience by taking the time to answer all their questions and help them throughout their care.  Some of the ways medical assistants help doctors and patients include:

  • Administering some medications to patients
  • Giving patients shots
  • Helping during physical check-ups
  • Reminding patients of their upcoming appointments
  • Updating patients’ information
  • Transferring patients’ prescription information to pharmacies.

Certified Medical Assistants in Pennsylvania

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Medical assistants can work in Pennsylvania without certification, but many employers are hesitant to take on an uncertified worker.  To help them advance their careers, medical assistants can pursue certification with:

The best association to study with is the AAMA, the American Association of Medical Assistants.  Their CMA (certified medical assistant) training programs are recognized throughout the United States, including in Pennsylvania.  Within a few months, people can be certified with the AAMA.  Here is how.

1.  Coursework

CMAs are required to complete an AAMA-approved course.  There are many courses offered in Pennsylvania for medical assistants, but only ones accredited by the CAAHEP meet the AAMA’s standards.  Students should look into several CAAHEP courses and select the best one for their circumstances (tuition, schedule, etc.)

Scholarship

Applying to the AAMA’s scholarship is an optional step in this process.  The Maxine Williams Scholarship, as it is known, is a $1,000 grant given to a medical assistant student.  Interested persons can begin the application process by sending an email with their name and school’s information.

2.  Apply

Students notify the AAMA of their interest in becoming a CMA by sending in this application.  Typically, acknowledgement comes 30 days afterwards, and an approval email is sent within three weeks of being approved.

3.  Testing Location

The certification/recertification exam is offered at locations throughout Pennsylvania.  Students should schedule a test with the one nearest them.

4.  Studying

The local AAMA chapters in Pennsylvania (final heading) and any training program should be able to supply students with plenty of practice exams and materials.  These can help students during their study sessions.

5.  Passing

When an applicant is approved, he or she is given a permit.  The exam proctor will ask for this permit on the day of testing.

After applicants pass the certification exam, they will shortly be listed as CMAs on the Verification Page for CMAs.  They are now certified medical assistants.

Pennsylvania CMA: Job Forecast

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Medical Assistants

527,600

690,400

+31%

24,380

Pennsylvania

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Medical Assistants

23,400

28,750

+23%

830

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

(CareerInfoNet.org)

The medical assistant field is growing quickly throughout the United States.  It is expanding slightly slower in Pennsylvania, but there are still more than 800 jobs available every year for CMAs.  This is a promising field to enter.

Pennsylvania CMA: 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

Pennsylvania Hourly

$10.21

$11.94

$13.87

$16.61

$18.94

Yearly

$21,200

$24,800

$28,800

$34,500

$39,400

(CareerInfoNet.org)

Salaries for CMAs in Pennsylvania are similar to what medical assistants earn around the country.  Nearly every CMA earns between $21,000 and $40,000 a year (working full time) in Pennsylvania.  Because this is a growing field, there are often opportunities to work overtime and earn even more.

Here is a look at what CMAs make in specific cities.  These statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reflect the average wages for CMAs in 2011.

  • Williamsport, PA: $35,050 (yr.) / $16.85 (hr.)
  • Philadelphia, PA: $33,350 / $16.04
  • State College, PA: $28,020 / $13.47
  • Scranton, PA: $28,660 / $13.78

AAMA Transfer / CMA Recertification

Transferring with the AAMA is a simple process.  For information about transferring, CMAs should contact the local chapter of where they live and that of where they are moving.  CMAs moving within Pennsylvania do not need to transfer.  (Local chapters are in the next section).

CMAs must go through recertification sixty (60) months after initial certification.  The cost is $125, in addition to the cost of continuing education units.  More details are on the AAMA’s Recertification Section.

Local AAMA Chapters in Pennsylvania

  • Allegheny County
  • Beaver County
  • Blair County
  • Butler County
  • Cambria County
  • Erie County
  • Lancaster County
  • Lehigh County
  • Tri-County
  • York County

The Pennsylvania Society of Medical Assistants (PSMA) is on FaceBook and on the web.

Sources: