Are you looking for a quick introduction into health care or the medical industry?
Then a career as a medical assistant might be for you! The profession involves a mixture of clinical and administrative duties, including welcoming patients, filing medical records, taking medical histories, removing dressings, and much more.
The path to becoming a medical assistant includes education programs and certifications, with new opportunities popping up around the United States.
Spanning just 1,045 square miles, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the country. Still, opportunities for medical assistants are growing. According to The Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are almost 3,000 medical assistants in Rhode Island.
Check out the post below for more information on medical assistant programs in Rhode Island!
What Do Medical Assistants Do?
Before we dive into top schools for a medical assistant in Rhode Island, let’s review what a medical assistant actually does.
- Medical Assistants work with doctors and other healthcare professionals to provide quality care for patients. They are required to take the patient’s vital signs, draw blood, and perform lab tests.
- Medical assistants undertake administrative and clinical tasks in hospitals, at the offices of physicians, and other healthcare settings.
- Along with medical assisting, they gain clinical skills and administrative procedures, including scheduling patient appointments, filling out insurance forms, filing patients’ medical records, electronic charting, clinical testing, HIPAA training, basic pharmacology, first aid, and CPR certification.
Medical assistants must be ready to function as patient liaisons as well. This skill is extremely important to help patients feel at ease in the physician’s office and understand their instructions.
Certification & Training Requirements for Medical Assistants in Rhode Island
Rhode Island does not require medical assistants to earn a certification, nor does the state issue licenses to these professionals.
Individuals may pursue a medical assistant training program, typically involving an associate’s degree and/or certification.
They can choose to receive a certification by clearing the examination administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants. Alternatively, medical assistants can also register through American Medical Technologists.
Medical assistants can also complete a degree program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES).
The path you take depends on how quickly you are looking to enter the workforce. However, a medical assistant degree is unnecessary, as medical assistants in Rhode Island receive on-the-job training.
This is the faster route to enter into the profession. In addition, a certificate of this variety communicates to employers that you have received hands-on experience and solid career training.
Because the education is more extensive, graduates may have more opportunities for advancement and receive higher pay than others.
Many employers prefer additional certification. The American Association of Medical Assistants is perhaps the most recognized certifying body across the United States.
To become eligible to take the exam, candidates must have completed a medical assisting program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) within the past 36 months.
What are the Top Schools for Medical Assistants in Rhode Island?
Rhode Island provides several opportunities for individuals interested in a career as a medical assistant. Some of the best medical assistant programs are offered by the following institutions:
The New England Institute of Technology
- Program Name: Associate in Science in Medical Assisting and Administration program
- About the program: It takes 18 months to complete this program. It is a six-term curriculum, and the institute outlines certain courses that you can take to complete the degree quickly.
- GED or High School Diploma Requirement: Students must have a high school diploma and need to have a recognized equivalency diploma (GED) or meet the federal home school requirements.
- Certifications: After completing this program, students can take national certification exams and certification exams for phlebotomy.
- Skills Obtained: Patient care skills, administrative skills, and office management skills. Students can also work in medical research trials and medical offices.
- Financial Aid and Scholarships Provided: Yes.
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Lincoln Technical Institute
- Program Name: Medical Assistant: Diploma Program
- Total Semester Credit Hours: 31.5
- Weeks to Complete By Day: Around 39 weeks (including holidays and scheduled breaks)
- Weeks to Complete By Evening: Around 54 weeks (including holidays and scheduled breaks)
- Students will be required to complete out-of-class assignments in each course, except externship.
Rhode Island College
- Program Name: Medical Assistant Training
- Program Schedule: Includes 720 training hours (30hrs/week for 24 weeks) and a 120-hour minimum internship
- Students have to complete an internship in a healthcare setting as part of the course.
911 Programs Career Training Institute
- Program Name: Certified Medical Assistant
- Fall Semester – Day Course, Number of Weeks: 32
- Fall Semester – Night Course, Number of Weeks: 32
- Winter 2022 Semester – Day class, Number of Weeks: 36
- Winter 2022 Semester – Night class, Number of Weeks: 36
MotoRing Technical Training Institute
- Program Name: Medical Assistant
- Days: 30 Week Program (900 Hours)
- Evenings: 75 Week Program, including 13 Week Internship (900 Hours)
- Students who choose to attend the program five days a week complete it in seven months, while those attending three nights a week complete it in fifteen months.
- Total semester credit hours: 30 Credits by US Dept. Of Education Method, 31 Credits by ACCSC Method
Prospective students can contact these institutions individually for enrollment information, tuition costs, and other essential details.
The Cost of a Medical Assistant Degree
The Medical Assisting and Administration Associate Degree Program at New England Tech, for instance, takes as little as 18 months to complete. It features a six-term curriculum, and the institute outlines specific courses that you can take to complete the degree quickly.
In terms of tuition and fees, the enrollment agreement mentions all the applicable costs. While the courses are pretty flexible regarding how you can take and complete them, the best way to ensure an economic education is by completing the degree in one go – begin your program in medical assisting and continue your studies straight through for the six terms.
Where Are Medical Assistants Typically Employed?
A medical assistant in Rhode Island can find entry-level employment at any one of its large hospitals, including Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, The Miriam Hospital, Kent Hospital, and Rhode Island Hospital.
They can also find work in physicians’ offices, outpatient clinics, and other healthcare facilities.
As of May 2020, the median annual wages for medical assistants in some of the top industries they worked at were as follows:
- Outpatient care centers: $38,860
- Hospitals; state, local, and private: $37,050
- Offices of physicians: $35,870
- Offices of chiropractors: $31,470
According to the RI Department of Labor and Training, healthcare is among the most rapidly growing industries in Rhode Island. The primary reasons for its exponential growth are an aging population and advancements in healthcare technology.
Medical Assistant Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants earn a median annual salary of $35,850. The employment of medical assistants may grow by 19%, much faster than the average of all occupations.
As mentioned above, the median salary figures for medical assistants who work in outpatient care centers are marginally better than other avenues like:
- General medical or surgical hospitals
- State, private, or local hospitals
- Physician clinics or offices
- Chiropractor clinics or offices
- Retirement communities or assisted living facilities for the elderly
Opportunities for Medical Assistants at The New England Institute of Technology
If you have made up your mind about a career as a medical assistant and are on the lookout for quality medical assistant programs, there is no better place to begin your journey than at New England Tech. The school offers you the opportunity to dive right into this promising field, develop relevant skills, and create a new career for yourself from scratch.
Students will receive training in small classes and labs before progressing to in-the-field study. Graduates may provide competent patient care and fulfill laboratory and administrative duties in an entry-level position as a medical assistant.
Course material includes an introduction to the anatomy of the human body, common disease states and skills utilized for assessment and diagnosis used in the medical office setting.
Once employed, students will conduct clinical assessments of patients, including vital signs, blood pressure, height and weight.
They will help diagnosticians perform specialized exams and diagnostic testing procedures, like EKG and phlebotomy. They will also develop skills extending to HR procedures, payroll, and employee scheduling.
Another option is Rehabilitation Sciences, which prepares graduates for career advancement in healthcare, patient advocacy, or graduate studies in occupational therapy, engineering-related fields, sports medicine, architectural design, or physical therapy.
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How do I become a medical assistant in Rhode Island?
A medical assistant may choose not to earn a certification in Rhode Island as the state does not issue licenses to these professionals. But they can earn certification by taking and passing the exam administered by the American Association of Medical Assistants.
What is the fastest way to become a medical assistant?
The fastest way to become a medical assistant is through certificate and diploma programs. They may take 10-12 months. However, we’d recommend completing an Associate degree program from the New England Institute of Technology, which takes as little as 18 months.
How long does it take to complete a medical assistant program in Rhode Island?
The duration of medical assistant programs depends on the kind of program and institute you choose.
For example, a Medical Assisting & Administration Associate degree from the New England Institute of Technology can take as little as 18 months to complete against the traditional two-year associate degree. On the other hand, a medical assistant diploma may take up to nine months.