How to Become a Medical Assistant in Texas

patient getting help

Texas is the # 2 state in the nation for medical assistant employment.

And medical assisting is a great way to get into healthcare with minimal education.

Education & Training

Certification training courses, either online or in classroom, are the best way to get started.

Local Trade Schools

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Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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    Arizona College of Nursing
    7 month Medical Assistant program with Phlebotomy hybrid training program. Includes 6-week clinical externship.

    • Dallas


    Concorde Career College

    • Dallas, Grand Prairie, San Antonio


    ECPI University
    Certificate or degree program. Become eligible for Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), CPT, CMAA, CET & more.

    • San Antonio


    FORTIS College
    ACCSC & ABHES accredited school with entry level medical assisting program.

    • Grand Prairie, Houston


    Houston Community College

    • Houston, Missouri City, Stafford


    Lincoln Tech
    Along with skills needed for an entry level position, the Medical Assistant Training Programs will prep you for the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam. Hybrid format. Flexible class schedules.

    • Grand Prairie


    Milan Institute
    36 week program with clinical externship.

    • Amarillo, San Antonio, El Paso


    Northwest Educational Center
    Offers flexible class schedules, career services and internship opportunities.

    • Houston


    Pima Medical Institute
    9 months. Online / in class certification course.

    • El Paso, Houston, San Antonio


    Remington College

    • Forth Worth, Garland, Houston, Webster


    South Texas Vocational Technical Institute

    • Brownsville, Corpus Christi, McAllen, San Antonio, Weslaco, Dallas


    South University
    Associate of Science degree in Medical Assisting accredited by CAAHEP, available online and on campus.

    • Round Rock


    Southern Careers Institute

    • Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Harlingen, Pharr, San Antonio, Waco


    The College of Health Care Professions
    Get ready for the Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA) exam in 36 weeks.

    • Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, McAllen, San Antonio


    Vista College
    Certificate training program for the Certified Clinical Medial Assistant exam. Includes CPR and life support.

    • El Paso, Killeen, Beaumont, College Station, Longview, Lubbock


Benefits

The main reason to go to school is for certification preparation.

Classes usually cover the exam fee for either of these recognized certifications:

  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CMAA)
  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)
  • Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA)

More on this below.

How Long Does It Take?

Most certification programs take 9 to 12 months.  An associate’s degree will take about 2 years.

What Do You Study?

Usually classes cover these kinds of topics:

  1. Clinical Medical Assistant Responsibilities: Outline the job responsibilities, necessary skills, and the range of activities undertaken by clinical medical assistants. Detail the professional values that guide their work in healthcare settings.
  2. Medical Records Overview: Discuss the different types of medical records and what information they typically contain, highlighting their relevance in patient care.
  3. Patient Experience Enhancement: Emphasize the significance of improving the patient experience within healthcare facilities and the impact this has on patient outcomes.
  4. Understanding Body Systems: Provide a summary of the primary functions and prevalent disorders associated with each of the 12 major body systems.
  5. Medical History and Chief Complaint: Describe the role of the chief complaint in medical evaluations and detail the components of a patient’s medical history as recorded in a progress note.
  6. Vital Signs and Equipment: Address the critical nature of monitoring vital signs, including the tools and equipment employed in these measurements.
  7. Patient Examination Techniques: Identify the various techniques, positions, and tools used in the physical examination of a patient.
  8. Asepsis and Infection Control: Explain the importance of proper hand hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment in preventing infections and maintaining aseptic conditions.
  9. Medication Administration Principles: List the fundamental guidelines for safely administering medications.
  10. Emergency Recognition: Discuss how to recognize and respond to emergencies in an ambulatory medical setting, ensuring prompt and effective care.

How Much Does It Cost?

Online certificate programs are generally $2,000 to $3,000. Meanwhile, some medical assisting degrees may run upwards of 20k.

Salary Range

Regional wages from BLS data:

Area Hourly Annual
Abilene $17.05 $35,460.00
Amarillo $16.90 $35,140.00
Austin-Round Rock $20.80 $43,270.00
Beaumont-Port Arthur $17.52 $36,440.00
Big Thicket $17.11 $35,590.00
Border Region $17.07 $35,500.00
Brownsville-Harlingen $15.36 $31,940.00
Coastal Plains $16.99 $35,350.00
College Station-Bryan $17.75 $36,920.00
Corpus Christi $17.22 $35,820.00
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington $19.50 $40,560.00
El Paso $16.00 $33,280.00
Hill Country $17.69 $36,800.00
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land $19.55 $40,670.00
Killeen-Temple $17.99 $37,420.00
Laredo $15.36 $31,950.00
Longview $16.96 $35,270.00
Lubbock $16.65 $34,620.00
McAllen-Edinburg-Mission $14.76 $30,700.00
Midland $19.66 $40,900.00
North Texas $17.65 $36,720.00
Odessa $18.62 $38,730.00
San Angelo $17.51 $36,410.00
San Antonio-New Braunfels $18.56 $38,600.00
Sherman-Denison $18.33 $38,120.00
Texarkana $16.42 $34,150.00
Tyler $17.49 $36,370.00
Victoria $17.30 $35,980.00
Waco $17.74 $36,900.00
West Texas $17.29 $35,960.00
Wichita Falls $17.33 $36,040.00

source: data.bls.gov

Texas Requirements?

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.

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.”

logo for  American Association of Medical Assistants

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.

Requirements

  1. Must be a graduate of a medical assistant program accredited by either the CAAHS or ABHES.
  2. Apply to sit for the certification exam administered by the National Board of Medical Examiners by completing an application and submitting all required documentation.
    1. 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.
    2. Non-recent graduates (over 12 months) will need to supply an official transcript showing program completion.

Taking the Exam

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:

https://www.aama-ntl.org/docs/default-source/cma-exam/cma-exam-app.pdf

  1. 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.
  2. The certification department of AAMA will notify you of your application status within a 30-day period.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Job Description

What Do They Do?

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.

Vs Physician Assistants

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

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

Optometric assistants:

  • 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.

Career Advancement

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.

Career Outlook

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.

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Get information on Medical Assistant programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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