South Carolina Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants in South Carolina are identified by the Nurse Practice Act as “unlicensed assistive personnel” (“UAP”).  As such, they can, “perform routine nursing tasks that do not require a specialized knowledge base or the judgment and skill of a licensed nurse.”  Some of the nursing tasks delegated to medical assistants are:

  • Clerical duties
  • Cleaning equipment
  • Running x-ray and electrocardiogram machines
  • Administering some injections
  • Assisting during physical exams
  • Preparing rooms for patients

Certified Medical Assistants in South Carolina

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      Medical assistants are not licensed, but they can be certified.  Certification is optional, but it provides a competitive edge in the marketplace.  A medical assistant can be certified as a:

      Although all of these certifications are accepted, the American Association of Medical Assistants’ (AAMA) is preferred.  There are five steps to becoming a certified medical assistant (CMA) with the AAMA.

      Classroom Instruction

      Prospective CMAs must first take a CMA training course that is accredited by the CAAHEP.  These classes are offered throughout South Carolina; a current list is available from the South Carolina Society of Medical Assistants (SCSMA).

      Scholarships

      There are two scholarships that CMA students in South Carolina can apply for.

      The SCSMA Scholarship is a $250 grant given to a CMA student in South Carolina.  Specific criteria are available on the SCSMA’s Scholarship Page, where the form can be downloaded.

      The AAMA also offers a national scholarship, which is worth $1,000.  To apply for the Maxine Williams Scholarship, students should email the AAMA.

      Test Application

      Sometime during their preparation, students must submit the test application to the AAMA.  Up to a month can pass, before the AAMA sends any response.  Even then, final approval can be several weeks away.  Once they are approved, applicants are notified via email within three weeks.

      The approval email will have a permit, which allows the applicant to schedule the certification test.  This permit will be needed on the day o the exam.

      Testing Location

      Regardless of where one goes for the exam, the fee is $125.  This is set by the AAMA.  Many of the schools listed on the SCSMA’s website also proctor the CMA exam.  Students should find one near them to take it at.

      Studying

      Both local chapters (listed in final section) and schools can help students during their preparation.  Instructors and current CMAs will be able to advise students in wise study methods.

      Certification after Passing

      After passing the certification exam, applicants are certified.  Their names will appear on the CMA Status Page for easy verification.

      South Carolina CMAs: Career Outlook

      United States

      Employment

      Percent
      Change

      Job Openings 1

      2010

      2020

      Medical Assistants

      527,600

      690,400

      +31%

      24,380

      South Carolina

      Employment

      Percent
      Change

      Job Openings 1

      2008

      2018

      Medical Assistants

      7,100

      9,480

      +34%

      320

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

      (CareerInfoNet.org)

      The medical assistant field in South Carolina is growing even faster than the national average of 31 percent over 10 years.  There are more than 300 annual job openings, and by 2018 there will be nearly 9,500 gainfully employed CMAs in South Carolina.

      South Carolina 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

      South Carolina Hourly

      $10.15

      $11.71

      $13.49

      $15.87

      $18.19

      Yearly

      $21,100

      $24,400

      $28,100

      $33,000

      $37,800

      (CareerInfoNet.org)

      Overall, CMAs’ salaries in South Carolina are comparable to the national averages.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the average salaries for CMAs in select cities:

      • Charleston, SC: $30,330 (yr.) / $14.58 (hr.)
      • Columbia, SC: $29,600 / $14.23
      • Anderson, SC:  $28,120 / $13.52

      CMA Recertification and AAMA Transfer

      CMAs must pay the recertification fee of $125 60 months following their previous certification.  In addition to this fee, they must complete several continuing education units and pass the recertification exam.  Details about this are located here.

      For those moving to or from South Carolina, the easiest way to transfer is by contacting one’s local AAMA chapter (next heading).  The chapters in South Carolina can help CMAs start a transfer.

      Local AAMA Chapters in South Carolina

      The SCSMA helps people contact their local chapter.

      Sources: