Wisconsin Medical Assistant Guide

Career Description

Medical assistants, as defined by the Wisconsin Society of Medical Assistance (WSMA), are: “Multiskilled members of the health care team who perform administrative and clinical procedures under the supervision of licensed health care providers.”  The WSMA also gives several examples of the administrative and clinical tasks that medical assistants are trained to perform.

Administrative Tasks:

  • Answering phones
  • Maintaining accurate patient records
  • Completing insurance forms

Clinical Tasks:

  • Explaining treatment procedures
  • Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
  • Performing EKG’s

Certified Medical Assistants in Wisconsin

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Quick Fact
In 2017, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher had almost twice as much
median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma*.
*Bureau of Labor Statistics

Certification is an optional way medical assistants can set themselves apart in the job market.  Certified medical assistants have shown their desire to succeed in the field.  There are four medical assistant-certifying agencies:

Of these, the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) is the most prestigious organization.  This is how people become certified with them.

First:  Classroom Education

Schools that train medical assistants are scattered throughout Wisconsin, but not all of these are worthy of training CMAs for the AAMA.  Prospective CMAs must attend an AAMA-approved school.  The WSMA has a list of acceptable programs in the state.

Scholarships

CMA students who are interested and studying in Wisconsin can apply for two scholarships.  The WSMA Memorial Scholarship is given to a student in Wisconsin; it is worth $500.  The Maxine Williams Scholarship Fund gives $1,000 annually to a CMA in the U.S.

Second:  Test Application

The AAMA sends a status update to applicants within a month of receiving an application, which can be found here.  Students learn of their final approval in an email 20 days after they are approved.  A permit, which will be needed to take the exam, is enclosed in the email.

Third:  Test Center

Once they receive the test permit, students have 90 days to find a time for the test.  They must go to one of the approved testing locations in Wisconsin to take it.

Fourth:  Preparation

The WSMA has a fairly comprehensive list of study materials on their site.  In addition to these materials, local chapters (listed below) and instructors might have practice exams available.

Fifth: The Test

All students who pass the exam are certified through the AAMA and have a competitive advantage in the job market.  Employers can verify their standing online.

Wisconsin CMAs: Employment

United States

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2010

2020

Medical Assistants

527,600

690,400

+31%

24,380

Wisconsin

Employment

Percent
Change

Job Openings 1

2008

2018

Medical Assistants

9,860

11,960

+21%

320

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

(CareerInfoNet.org)

Becoming a medical assistant is an attractive career for new high school graduates and those seeking a new start.  This is a rapidly growing job market  As the country and state’s populations continue to age, CMAs will likely continue to be in high demand.

Wisconsin 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

Wisconsin Hourly

$11.65

$12.79

$14.62

$16.88

$18.26

Yearly

$24,200

$26,600

$30,400

$35,100

$38,000

(CareerInfoNet.org)

Across the state, CMAs earn between $24,000 and $38,000 a year.  Most certified CMAs can earn more than $11.00/hr as soon as they are certified.  Many earn much more than that.

Below are the average salaries for CMAs in select cities (from the BLS):

  • Madison, WI: $31,990 (yr.) / $15.38 (hr.)
  • Eau Claire, WI: $29,950 / $14.40
  • Wausau, WI: $31,550 / $15.17
  • Northern Wisconsin (nonmetropolitan): $28,800 / $13.85

Recertifying and Transferring

Recertification comes around every 60 months (five years) for CMAs.  They can recertify through either continuing education units (CEUs) or by passing the exam again.  The WSMA has a good page on CEU recertification; retaking the exam is the same process as initial certification, less the coursework.

CMAs looking to transfer from or to Wisconsin should consult with an AAMA chapter in Wisconsin (below).  They can help people through this process, which is easy.

Local AAMA Chapters in Wisconsin

  • Central Wisconsin
  • Dane
  • Dodge
  • Fond Du Lac
  • Greater Milwaukee
  • Green
  • La Crosse
  • Lakeshore
  • Northwoods
  • Racine
  • Southwest Wisconsin
  • Valley
  • Waukesha County

The WSMA is full of resources as well.  They can also be found on FaceBook.

Sources: