The following are the most frequently asked questions about the Medical Assistant program.

What is a Medical Assistant?
Medical Assisting is a rapidly expanding segment of the work force. Medical Assistants perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of a physician. Administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding for insurance purposes. Clinical duties may include taking and recording vital signs and medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood, and administering medications as directed by a physician.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Assisting employment is projected to grow much faster than average, ranking Medical Assistants among the fastest growing occupations over the 2008-18 decade, growing 34 percent. About 62% of Medical Assistants work in offices of physicians.

How long will it take me to get a Medical Assisting degree at Cabarrus College?
If you are interested in a diploma the program is 11 months. After successful completion of the diploma program you would be eligible to sit for the certification exam. If you are interested in the Associate Degree, you must complete an additional 2-3 semesters in addition to the diploma program.

Do I need to maintain a certain grade and grade point average in these courses?
Yes. You must maintain a grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 ("C" average) or higher and you must earn a grade of "C" or better in all major and program required courses.

Is the program accredited?
Yes. It is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Upon completion of the diploma program, graduates are eligible to take the Certification Exam for the CMA (AAMA) credential.

What is certification, and how is it obtained?
The Certifying Board of American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) awards the CMA (AAMA) credential to Medical Assistants who have accomplished two objectives:
First, they have successfully completed a medical assisting educational program accredited by either the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).

Second, they have passed the CMA (AAMA) Certification Examination. For more information, go to How to Become a CMA (AAMA) on the American Association of Medical Assistants website: www.aama-ntl.org.

Is certification permanent?
No. Medical Assistants who are certified must recertify the credential every 60 months, either by earning credits known as continuing education units or by taking the CMA (AAMA) Certification/Recertification Examination.

When do you admit to the program?
We admit in the fall and the spring semesters.

What kind of salary can I expect as a Medical Assistant?
The earnings of Medical Assistants vary, depending on their experience, skill level, and location. The average annual salary for a full-time practitioner with a CMA (AAMA) credential in 2010 was $31,361($15/hr), according to American Association of Medical Assistants 2010 Medical Assisting Salary Survey.

Should I consider medical assisting as a career?
Yes, if you enjoy working on a team, are organized, possess computer and office management skills, and have an interest in hands-on patient care.
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