Utah Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants in Utah regularly interact with doctors, nurses and patients.  They make the job of other medical professionals easier and take care of patients’ concerns.  Here is how medical assistants keep offices and other facilities running efficiently.

  • Reminding patients of upcoming appointments
  • Administering shots and drawing blood
  • Interviewing patients about their medical history
  • Handing out medication samples
  • Scheduling follow-up visits
  • Updating medical records

Certified Medical Assistants in Utah

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            Certification is voluntary for medical assistants.  Many, however, pursue certification, because it helps them get the best jobs in Utah.  There are four similar titles medical assistants can receive:

            Of these, the final title is the best one to pursue.  It can take a year or two to become a certified medical assistant (CMA), but being certified by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) can be very advantageous.  Here are the steps to take toward certification.

            First:  Training

            Throughout Utah, there are CMA schools.  These institutions must be accredited by the CAAHEP (Commission of Accreditation for Allied Health Educational Programs).  Any accredited program will suffice, though.  As students compare programs, they will notice the wide range of time and money required.  They should look at several to find the best value.

            The AAMA’s Maxine Williams Scholarship is a $1,000 grant.  It is awarded to a worthy CMA student who is facing tight financial circumstance.  The deadline to apply is February 15, and students can begin the application by emailing the AAMA.

            Second:  Applying

            The CMA test application is located on the AAMA’s website, along with a packet that explains the entire exam.  Applications follow this timeline:

            • Day 1: Application sent in
            • Day 30:  AAMA acknowledges the application
            • Day X:  The application is approved
            • Day X+20:  Permit sent to applicant via email

            The permit is needed to schedule and take the CMA certification exam.

            Third:  Scheduling

            Students rarely have difficulty scheduling the certification exam, as it is offered at several different schools.  They must schedule a time to sit for the test at one of these centers, however.  The permit grants students 90 days to take the exam during.

            Fourth:  Studying

            The exam is meant to challenge students and see how much they truly know.  Therefore, they must prepare by studying.  Personal notes and practice exams can be very helpful during this time.

            Fifth:  Testing

            When students sit for the test, they will be asked to turn in the permit that was emailed.  Hopefully, when they rise from the exam, they will have passed and be certified.  The AAMA maintains a list of all CMAs on a section of their site.

            Utah CMAs: Employment

            United States

            Employment

            Percent
            Change

            Job Openings 1

            2010

            2020

            Medical Assistants

            527,600

            690,400

            +31%

            24,380

            Utah

            Employment

            Percent
            Change

            Job Openings 1

            2008

            2018

            Medical Assistants

            5,310

            8,140

            +53%

            340

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

            (CareerInfoNet.org)

            Utah has one of the fastest growing fields for medical assistants in the country.  In just 10 years, the need for assistants is expected to jump by an unheard of 53 percent.  Over that time, this will mean 3,000 new jobs for CMAs in Utah.  Few careers are grow this fast in a solid economy, not to mention a struggling one.

            Utah 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

            Utah Hourly

            $10.21

            $11.58

            $13.10

            $14.61

            $17.18

            Yearly

            $21,200

            $24,100

            $27,200

            $30,400

            $35,700

            (CareerInfoNet.org)

            Most CMAs in Utah earn between $24,000 and $30,500 annually.  This is enough to live off of, and if more money is needed there are many opportunities for overtime work.

            The Bureau of Labor Statistics has the median wages for medical assistants in specific regions of the state.  These are from May, 2011.

            • Salt Lake City, UT: $28,980 (yr.) / $13.83 (hr.)
            • Ogden, UT: $26,960 / $12.96
            • St. George, UT:  $26,850 / $12.91
            • Logan, UT: $25,140 / $12.08

            Transfers / Recertifications

            Recertification with the AAMA occurs in 5-year intervals.  During their recertification, CMAs must pass a recertification test (which costs $125) and have continuing education units (which can be completed online for $10 – $50).  The complete recertification is discussed on this page.

            Transferring is done through the AAMA’s national offices, which oversees every CMA in every state.  They can easily transfer credentials across states.

            Local AAMA Chapters in Utah

            Utah does not have any local chapters, so CMAs must talk directly with the national office.

            Sources: