Allied Health and Medical Assisting Services

Overview of Medical Assisting and Allied Health Services Postsecondary Programs

Medical assisting and allied health services programs generally roll up to medical or allied health departments at accredited colleges and universities. Students who enroll in the programs learn about patient medical records, billing, bookkeeping, taking and recording patient vital signs and laboratory tests.

Working in Medical Assisting and Allied Health Services

If you are hired as a medical assistant you will generally prepare administrative documents like letters and memos for physicians. You will also answer telephones, complete insurance documents and create billing records like invoices. However, if you work as a clinical medical assistant, your job functions will expand. For example, you might draw blood, take and record patient vital signs, prepare examination rooms for visiting patients and purchase medical supplies.

You can work for different types of doctors like podiatrists, optometrist, surgeons and pediatricians. Although your work hours might not exceed a typical eight hour a day schedule, because you will be performing tasks that extend beyond normal administrative assistant work, before you are hired many physicians might require you to complete postsecondary training programs.

Curriculum for Medical Assisting and Allied Health Services Postsecondary Programs

The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools are agencies that accredit colleges and universities offering medical assisting and allied health services programs.  Online and classroom curriculum for medical assisting and allied health services programs are created by individual accredited colleges and universities. However, courses typically covered at postsecondary schools are:

  • Nutrition and health
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical billing and coding
  • Computer applications
  • Medical terminology
  • Medical law and ethics
  • Pharmacology
  • Exams and specialty procedures
  • Clinical procedures
  • Medical office practice
  • Phlebotomy

Medical Assisting and Allied Health Services Degrees

In addition to getting an undergraduate diploma or certificate in medical assisting and/or medical billing and coding, you can also get an Associate's degree of Applied Science in Medical Assisting, Associate of Science in Health Information Technology, Bachelor's degree of Science in Applied Science or a Master's degree of Science in Health Service Administration in medical assisting and allied health services. Diploma and certificate programs can be completed in 12 months or fewer. However, if you get an undergraduate or graduate degree you can transfer credits to earn more advanced degrees. You can also use your degree to work in a variety of health professions. Additionally, state and federal government agencies and private foundations offer scholarships toward earning medical assisting and allied health services degrees. Individual colleges and universities also offer scholarships and grants that you can use to pay for your undergraduate and/or graduate degrees.

Scholarships, Grants and Fellowships for Medical Assisting and Allied Health Services

You can use the scholarships and grants and other forms of financial aid (e.g. student loans, fellowships, work study programs) to complete your degrees with an online college or in a classroom setting. Taking your courses online allows you to sit down and complete class projects and assignments on your schedule. For example, if you are a parent, you can wait until your children are in bed to log onto your computer and start working on upcoming assignments and/or projects. Of course, taking medical assisting and allied health services programs in the classroom gives you the chance to ask your professors questions and get answers right away, while you are still at school.

Skills Gained from Taking Medical Assisting and Allied Health Services Programs

Skills you learn from medical assisting and allied health services programs are:

  • Improved communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds
  • Understanding of the latest medical treatments and procedures
  • Networking relationships with lead medical physicians and other healthcare practitioners
  • Time management skills
  • Project management skills
  • Firm grasp of medical terminology
  • Experience performing clinical procedures
  • Knowledge of competitive insurance rates
Medical Assisting and Allied Health Services Programs

Completing postsecondary medical assisting and allied health services programs puts you in a career field that the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics expects to grow over about the next decade. For example, as of May 2008, the Bureau reports that jobs for medical assistants are expected to grow by as much as 34 percent from 2008 through 2018. This rate is much faster than the expected job growth for other career fields. As of May 2008, medical assistants earned more than $39,570 a year. General medical and surgical hospitals were the largest paying employer for the healthcare workers.

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