How to Become a Medical Assistant in Florida
Medical assistant jobs in Florida are a perfect fit for individuals who want a promising career in the healthcare field. Becoming a medical assistant is an excellent way to help people and gain experience that could help you qualify for other patient care roles.
Education and Training
Wondering how to become a medical assistant in Florida? One of the quickest ways to qualify for a medical assistant job in FL is to have a high school diploma or GED and complete an accredited training program at a Florida trade school or community college.
Do Medical Assistants in FL Need a Certificate or Degree?
Currently, there are no official education or training requirements for medical assistants in Florida. However, while some employers may be willing to provide on-the-job training for inexperienced applicants, most prefer to hire candidates who have attended medical assistant school.
Formal Medical Assistant Training in Florida
Medical assistant programs in Florida vary depending on which school you choose to attend. For example:
- Ultimate Medical Academy: UMA in Clearwater, FL has a Medical Administrative Assistant course to help students develop the front-office and customer service skills they need for medical assistant jobs in Florida.
- Florida Career College: At FCC, aspiring medical assistants learn both medical front- and back-office skills and gain hands-on medical experience through practical application.
- Concorde Career College: Concorde’s medical assistant curriculum includes instruction on medical billing, which may be unavailable at other schools.
- Keiser University: Medical assistant students at Keiser receive more in-depth instruction than some trade schools, such as learning how to assist during minor surgical procedures.
To ensure a well-rounded education, aspiring medical assistants in FL should consider enrolling in programs that cover topics such as:
- Medical Terminology
- Human Anatomy and Physiology
- Wound Care
- EKG Technology
- Medical Recordkeeping
Courses should also include instruction on how to use computers, medical software, and other technology to maintain an efficient, organized office. Medical assistant students in Florida can also take communication and customer service classes to learn how to engage with patients and coworkers.
Medical Assistant Externships in Florida
Most programs for medical assistants in FL require students to earn clinical hours in addition to their school credits. Some institutions partner with local clinics and doctor’s offices, while others may have an on-campus medical lab where students can practice their skills in simulated settings.
Depending on which Florida school you attend, you may need to earn anywhere from 100 to 250 hours during your externship. A licensed physician or nurse must supervise you throughout the program and sign an official document to certify that you have completed the necessary hours.
How Long is Medical Assistant School in FL?
Florida medical assistants who enroll in trade school certificate programs usually complete their education in nine to 18 months. However, those who want to work in specialized fields like cardiology, neurology, or pediatrics might consider completing a two-year associate’s degree program.
Medical assistant course tuition varies across institutions. For example, a certificate program that takes five to 15 months to complete may cost anywhere from $1,500 to $30,000, depending on where you enroll. Meanwhile, tuition for a two-year associate’s degree can range from $5,000 to almost $50,000.
Florida Medical Assistant Requirements
Since Florida’s State Board of Nursing doesn’t license medical assistants, you can qualify for medical assistant jobs in Florida even if you lack certification. However, having an official credential can help you stand out among other applicants and make employers more likely to hire you.
Medical assistants in FL can either choose to become Certified Medical Assistants (CMA) through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) or earn a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) credential from the American Medical Technologists (AMT) agency.
CMA vs. RMA Credentials
Both CMA and RMA credentials can qualify you for several medical assistant jobs in Florida since professionals with these titles perform the same duties. The only difference between these two licenses is the education required to obtain them.
- Certified Medical Assistants: To qualify for the AAMA’s CMA credential, you must graduate from a program with CAAHEP or ABHES
- Registered Medical Assistant: In addition to accepting applicants who have completed post-secondary education programs, AMT registers those with military medical service training or at least three years of on-the-job medical assistant experience.
Florida’s State Board of Nursing places duties like dressing, feeding, bathing, and transferring patients outside the scope of practice for medical assistants in FL. Those who plan to work in nursing or assisted living facilities might consider earning a certified nursing assistant (CNA) credential so they can perform these tasks.
If you want the qualifications to take on more advanced patient care duties, think about becoming a licensed physician’s assistant. With this credential, you’ll be able to perform examinations, order tests and treatments, and diagnose patients.
Medical Assistant Salaries in FL
Although the average medical assistant salary in Florida is about $35,480 per year, annual earnings vary depending on where you live and work. Check the table below to find salary information for medical assistants in FL.
- Gainesville $33,738
- Jacksonville $35,443
- Miami $37,939
- Tallahassee $32,947
- Orlando $33,363
- Fort Myers $36,920
What Do They Do?
Working alongside physicians and nurses, medical assistants in FL perform clerical and administrative duties to create a welcoming, comfortable environment and provide the best possible care for patients in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and ambulatory care facilities.
Medical assistants work under the supervision of physicians, assisting in limited aspects of the medical practice. Most medical assistant jobs in Florida include helping doctors with administrative and clinical procedures, managerial and supervisory functions, and patient care management.
Work responsibilities for medical assistants in FL typically involve:
- Welcoming patients, checking them in for appointments, and taking their medical histories
- Preparing patients for their procedures and assisting doctors during examinations
- Answering phones and using computer software to update and file patient records
- Collecting lab specimens and preparing and administering medications
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for medical assistants in the United States will likely increase by roughly 16 percent over the next decade. Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity also predicts over 8,000 medical assistant jobs in Florida to become available each year within that time frame.