Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Training programs in medical assisting take about 1 year to complete, and lead to a certificate or degree. Some community colleges offer 2-year programs that lead to an associate’s degree, with classroom and labs in anatomy and medical terminology. Medical assistants also learn how to code both paper and electronic health records (EHRs) and how to record patient information. There may be additional months of on-the-job training to complete, depending on the medical facility.
The National Commission for Certifying Agencies offers several certifications for medical assistants; Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Registered Medical Assistant (RMA), Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), and Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). Contact your state board of medicine for more information. Medical assistants held about 600,000 jobs in 2015, with a salary of approximately $30,590. Employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23% yearly through 2025, much faster than average.
Emergency medical technicians (EMT) and paramedics care for the injured in a variety of emergency medical settings. People’s lives depend on their quick reaction times and competent care. Programs in emergency medical technology (EMT Training) are offered by technical institutes, community colleges, and facilities that specialize in emergency care training. Programs at the EMT level include instruction in assessing patients’ conditions, dealing with trauma and cardiac emergencies, clearing obstructed airways, and using field equipment. EMT courses include about 150 hours of specialized instruction, and clinical training can be in a hospital or ambulance setting. At the ‘Advanced EMT’ level, there are 400 hours of instruction, where candidates learn skills such as using complex airway devices, administering intravenous fluids, and giving some medications.
Paramedics, by comparison, have the most advanced training. They first must complete both the EMT and ‘Advanced EMT’ levels of instruction, along with further practice in advanced medical skills. Colleges and technical schools may offer programs which require about 1,200 hours to complete, leading to either an associates or bachelors degree. All states require both EMTs and paramedics to be licensed. The National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT) certifies EMTs and paramedics. Finally, most EMTs and paramedics take a course ensuring that they are able to drive an ambulance. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of emergency medical technicians (EMT) and paramedics is projected to grow 25 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than average. The average annual wage for EMTs and paramedics was $31,980 in May 2015.
Phlebotomists draw blood for tests, transfusions, research, or blood donations. Phlebotomy programs are available from community colleges, vocational schools, or technical schools. These programs usually take less than 1 year to complete, including classes in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, and laboratory work, and lead to a certificate or diploma.
Further, phlebotomists must learn specific procedures on how to identify, label, and track blood samples. The National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), National Healthcareer Association (NHA), the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), and the American Medical Technologists (AMT) offer Phlebotomy Technician certifications. The average annual salary for phlebotomists was $31,630 in May 2015, and employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 25 percent over the next 10 years.