South Dakota Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

South Dakota’s Board of Nursing defines a medical assistant in South Dakota as “a professional multi skilled person who assists in all aspects of medical practice under the responsibility and direct supervision of a person licensed to practice medicine in the State of South Dakota.”  While being directly supervised by a medical practitioner, medical assistants may, among other things,:

  • Perform aseptic procedures
  • Administer non-intravenous injections
  • Observe patients’ signs and symptoms
  • Operate medical equipment
  • Administer medications
  • Perform basic laboratory procedures

Certified Medical Assistants in South Dakota

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Medical assistants must be registered with the Board of Medical and Osteopathic Examiners, but they do not need to be certified.  Those who want to pursue voluntary certification can be certified as either a:

  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) through the American Medical Technologists (AMT)
  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)

Note: Two other agencies, the National Healthcareer Association and the National Center for Competency Testing, are not recognized in South Dakota.

The process to become a CMA with the AAMA usually takes two years.  It involves:

1.  Classroom Instruction

CMAs must enroll in an AAMA-approved course.  The school a student selects must be accredited by the CAAHEP, lest the AAMA does not recognize the training.  Most programs involve four semesters of study over two years.

Students who have completed at least one semester of study and have a 3.0 or higher GPA are welcome to apply for the Maxine Williams Scholarship.  The winner of this national scholarship receives $1,000 from the AAMA and year’s membership to the association.

2.  Application to Test

Towards the end of their training, CMA applicants should complete the application that allows them to take the AAMA certification test.  The approval process can take a while (initial response comes in 30 days and final approval 20 days after approved), so students should apply in advance of the date they want to test.

After being approved, applicants will receive an email from the AAMA.  A permit should be enclosed.  This allows them to schedule a CMA test, and they will need it on the day of the test.

3.  Testing Location

The AAMA charges a $125 fee for taking the CMA exam.  Students will need to forfeit this amount, regardless of the testing fee they choose.  There are several locations in South Dakota that offer the medical assistant certification exam.

4.  Studying

Since the exam is comprehensive, students must review all of their notes.  Practice exams, which both schools and local AAMA chapters (listed below) might have, are another great way to prepare.

5.  Passing and Certification

After lots of preparation, students are finally ready to take the exam.  After passing, they will be listed as a certified medical assistant here.

South Dakota CMAs: Occupation Outlook

The U.S. Department of Labor does not have a career forecast for medical assistants in South Carolina, but the field is growing at an average rate of 31 percent across the country.  As the country’s population ages, CMAs are finding themselves in demand.  Someone needs to provide the elderly with basic medical care.

South Dakota CMAs: Salaries

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The slightly depressed wages of CMAs in South Dakota, when compared to national trends, can likely be explained by the low cost of living in the state.  Few careers are growing as fast as that of medical assistants and provide a livable wage.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shares data that details what CMAs made across South Dakota in 2011 (region, annual salary / hourly wage):

  • Sioux Falls, SD:  $26,980 / $12.97
  • Rapid City, SD:  $24,850 / $11.95
  • Central South Dakota:  $25,450 / $12.24

CMA Recertification and AAMA Transfer

The AAMA requires recertification five years after certification.  The cost of the recertification exam is $125 and applicants need continuing education units.  More details are available from the AAMA.

Transferring as a CMA is simple, because the AAMA is recognized by every state.  To begin the transfer process, CMAs should talk with their AAMA Chapter.

Local AAMA Chapters in South Dakota

  • Northern Plains
  • Sioux Empire

The state association can be contacted through FaceBook.