How to Become a Medical Assistant in Florida? – Medical assistants work in all areas of healthcare, including the offices of general practitioners or specialists, hospitals, nursing facilities and clinics. Their responsibilities vary by state and may include administrative duties such as helping with patient scheduling, billing and coding; clinical tasks like taking vital signs; administering injections; or preparing patients for examination. Whether you want to become a certified medical assistant, registered medical assistant or one who is simply assisting a doctor with daily tasks, you typically need at least a high school diploma and on-the-job training. For other facets of this article related to the role, we asked the MedAssistant team to help us out.
Education Qualification for Medical Assistant in Florida
The medical assisting profession is regulated at the state level, which means that minimum requirements for medical assistants vary across the country. Most employers prefer to hire someone who has earned an associate degree in medical assisting or completed a course accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP). Some states require applicants to pass one or more examinations before receiving certification or licensure.
The following educational path is an example of one that meets the standards in Florida :
Step 1: Earn a high school diploma; some states require students to earn their GED, but this isn’t necessary for Florida.
Step 2: Complete courses at a postsecondary medical assisting program accredited by CAAHEP. In Florida, the only institution that offers such a program is Everest College.
Step 3: Pass the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) national certification exam. Applicants can register online or by mail and pay either an annual renewal fee every two years or a one-time retest fee for each test.
Step 4: Gain medical assisting experience in a healthcare environment. It’s not uncommon for employers to hire students who have completed their training and are waiting to take the certification exam.
Step 5: Pass the state exam. The Florida Department of Health administers the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Exam to applicants who meet all requirements and provide all necessary documentation, such as a photocopy of their AAMA certification card and an original Social Security card. Applicants must pay a fee for taking the test, and those who fail must wait 365 days before retaking it.
Step 6: Obtain licensure. Applicants must complete and submit a license application along with the necessary fee to the Florida Department of Health, which will process it in six months or less. Once approved, they’ll receive their license in the mail with an expiration date two years from the date of issuance.
Medical Assistant Training in Florida
Aspiring medical assistants should complete at least one program accredited by CAAHEP. There are three different accrediting bodies for medical assisting education, so be sure to check with the state licensing agencies or the AAMA for a list of approved programs.
Before enrolling, students should verify that either ARC-PA or ABHES accredits their program. They also must check to ensure that the school accepts financial aid and qualifies for federal loans. Graduates can earn an associate degree or certificate, depending on the program’s length.
Training programs typically take one year to finish and include medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, computer applications, laboratory techniques and clinical instruction. Students may have to complete an externship as part of their training.
Medical Assistant Certification and Licensure in Florida
After gaining the necessary experience and education, medical assistants can take their certification exam. Certified applicants must maintain their active status by earning continuing education credits every two years. Credits are earned through AAMA-approved courses or submitting proof of attendance at approved conferences and workshops related to the profession.
Medical assistants must be licensed in Florida if they perform any of the following tasks:
Using x-ray machines or other imaging equipment.
Drawing blood for testing.
Sterilizing medical instruments and equipment.
Operating diagnostic equipment (such as EKGs and ultrasound machines).
Job Requirements for Medical Assistant in Florida
Medical assistants must be detail-oriented, have strong interpersonal, communication and computer skills, and multitask in a fast-paced environment. They should demonstrate leadership qualities and stay current with changes in the industry.
They must adhere to HIPAA privacy guidelines and keep patient records confidential. They also must respect the privacy of all employees and stay up to date on legislation affecting the medical profession.
Medical assistants must be able to work as a team and perform well independently on a variety of tasks. They should have good listening and speaking skills, be friendly and compassionate with patients and co-workers, and possess physical agility and stamina—all the more reasons to think about before joining this gruelling life.