How to Become a Medical Assistant in Texas
If you are seeking to enter the field of health care in a position that requires minimal education combined with challenging and diverse responsibilities, the field of medical assisting may be a great option for you.
Education and Training Requirements
Individuals may complete a medical assistant program through a community college, vocational school, technical school, or university. Depending on which program you choose, it can take anywhere from one to two years to finish, with some colleges offering programs that can lead to an associate’s degree.
While there are no official education requirements to become a medical assistant, many employers prefer employees have a postsecondary education.
Medical assistant programs in Texas may offer some of the following courses:
- Medical terminology
- Clinical procedure therapy
- Medical coding
- Anatomy & Physiology
Medical Assistant Requirements in Texas
While no formal training is required by a governing body, many employers require a certification or associate degree before a person can find employment as a medical assistant in the state of Texas. Though it is rare, some companies may hire a person without a medical assistant license in Texas and offer on-the-job training.
How Much Does It Cost To Become a Medical Assistant?
The cost of becoming a medical assistant can vary. Depending on the program you enroll in, the cost can be under $1,800k. Meanwhile, some medical assisting degrees may run upwards of 20k. Online certificates generally are cheaper, but trade schools with medical assistant programs typically offer a more well-rounded and in-depth education and are sometimes preferred by certain employers.
Certification as a Medical Assistant
As per the Mr. Balasa of the AAMA “medical assistants are not licensed in Texas or in almost any other state. ” However, as noted although certification is not required to enter the field of medical assisting, a majority of job opportunities in Texas will require that you possess this credential. You may obtain a medical assistant certification in Texas through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Certification process with AAMA:
As per the AAMA, the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) designation is the “gold standard” of the profession which confers increased prestige among your colleagues, along with enhanced job opportunities and job security.
- Must be a graduate of a medical assistant program accredited by either the CAAHS or ABHES.
- Apply to sit for the certification exam administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners by completing an application and submitting all required documentation.
- If you are a recent graduate the only documentation required is a verification letter from the school director attesting to your graduation from the program.
- Non-recent graduates (over 12 months) will need to supply an official transcript showing program completion.
The exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions of which 180 will be scored, the remainder being in the pre-test phase. These pre-test questions are spread throughout the exam so you will not be able to identify them. You can read the exam handbook which provides complete details about test construction and testing sites by visiting:
- Pay the certification exam fee. This fee is $125. for members of AAMA, CAAHEP, or ABHES. All others pay $250. Personal checks are not accepted.
- The certification department of AAMA will notify you of your application status within a 30-day period.
- Schedule an appointment to take the exam after your application has been approved. You will receive a testing schedule permit that will allow you to make an appointment at a Prometric test center in your area. The exam is given on a rolling basis and may be taken at any point during the year.
- Review the Content Outline for the exam and take the practice test. You can also take a review CMA review course offered by a local chapter of the AAMA.
- Once you pass the exam you will receive an official certificate and wallet-size card to attest to possession of the CMA credential. Potential employers will also be able to verify your certification via the AAMA Web site.
- You are required to recertify every 60 months. You can do so by passing another exam or by participating in continuing education. For further details regarding recertification, visit https://www.aama-ntl.org/continuing-education/recertification-policies.
The specific duties of a medical assistant may vary from office to office depending on the size of the practice and physician’s specialty. In smaller offices, medical assistants may be responsible for both administrative and clinical tasks and typically report to the physician, office manager, or head nurse.
Those employed by larger practices usually specialize in a specific area, under the supervision of department managers. It is important not to confuse medical assistants with physician assistants who are eligible to perform patient examinations, diagnose illness, and treat patients under the supervision of a licensed physician.
Administrative Medical Assistants
Administrative Medical Assistants primarily perform office support functions including updating patient records, completing insurance forms, coordinating hospital admissions, scheduling patient visits, as well as billing and bookkeeping.
Clinical Medical Assistants
Clinical Medical Assistants have varied responsibilities. Common tasks include recording patient histories, taking vital signs, explaining treatment procedures, preparing patients for physical examinations, and assisting the clinician during the exam.
Other duties include:
- Collect and prepare laboratory specimens
- Laboratory testing under the supervision of a physician or physician assistant
- Dispose of contaminated equipment
- Instruct patients on the proper use of medications and special dietary plans.
- Prepare and administer medication and telephone drug orders and refills to the pharmacy
- Draw blood and prepare patients for X-rays
- Record electrocardiograms
- Remove sutures and change dressings
- Arrange medical instruments for patient examination
Ophthalmic medical assistants, optometric assistants, and podiatric medical assistants perform additional duties to those noted above.
Ophthalmic assistants help ophthalmologists provide eye care by:
- Performing diagnostic eye tests, measuring, and recording visual acuity, and testing eye muscle strength
- Applying eye dressing and administering eye drops and salve
- Maintaining optical equipment and instruments, and assisting the ophthalmologist during surgery
- Provide chair-side assistance to optometrists during eye exams
- Instruct patients in the use of contact lenses and care
- Perform preliminary eye chart exams
Podiatric medical assistants create castings of feet, expose, and develop X-rays, and may assist podiatrists in surgery.
Medical assistants may advance their careers through additional training or experience. Some medical assistants go on to teach medical assisting in vocational schools or community colleges. Others choose to return to school to work in some other healthcare capacity such as nurses, physical therapists, and even physician assistants.
Administrative medical assistants can advance into the position of office manager and have responsibility for office operations, as well as supervision of other support staff.
How Much Do Medical Assistants Make in Texas?
Much like other professions, the amount of money a medical assistant can make depends on a variety of different factors. A medical assistant salary in Texas can differ depending on location and experience. Below are a few possible salaries a medical assistant in TX might be able to earn broken down by hourly rate.
- Fort Worth – $18.33/hr
- Houston – $19.28/hr
- Dallas – $18.69/hr
- Austin – $18.50/hr
- Katy – $18.84/hr
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medical assistant jobs in Texas are expected to grow at a rate of 16 percent from 2021 through 2031, much faster than the rate for all other occupations.
There is an increased need for healthcare workers at all levels due to the advances in technology combined with the aging of the population and the rising need for medical care. The prevalence of obesity and diabetes will also result in an increased demand for healthcare services within private physician offices.