Getting into the healthcare sector can be very tricky, and it’s not something that anybody can do. It takes years of study, a lot of time and effort, and patience because you won’t really start making a lot of money in your twenties. While that is the price some people are willing to pay to become doctors and help people, others aren’t. So, how can you get into the healthcare sector and help people without wasting years of your life? Medical assistance is the best answer, and it’s a very promising field for those who want to get involved with patients and improve the quality of their life. The great thing about being a medical assistant is the fact that you can do it in a year or two, and you’ll also get well compensated for it in most states.
Believe it or not, Alaska is actually one of the best states to become a medical assistant, and they are extremely well-compensated there for many reasons. So, if you can stand the cold, you should definitely consider this state as one of your best options.
How much does a medical assistant get paid in Alaska?
On average, a medical assistant can expect to get paid around $40,000 – $42,000 per year in Alaska, which is a lot higher than the national average, as well as the international. You can make a little over $20 per hour, which is quite a few dollars higher than the minimum wage in the country. So, that gives you an idea of how well-compensated a medical assistant is in Alaska. The state has a little over 1,600 assistants working in the field, which may actually be one of the reasons why they are in such high demand.
It gets even better; the predicted growth rate for the job is extremely high, and more jobs are expected to be created within the next few years. So, if you want to go and work in Alaska as a medical assistant, now is definitely the time, with hundreds of jobs expected to open every year. Salaries will depend on your experience and education, as well as a few other factors like cost of living, which brings us to the next question. How do you become a medical assistant in Alaska?
Becoming a medical assistant in Alaska
Getting your degree
Generally speaking, you don’t always need to get a degree to work as a medical assistant anywhere, really. You can get on-the-job training and learn what you need to do, and things like that, you can start working. And as the article at www.medassisting.org explains, it is not officially required in Alaska either to get a diploma or certification, though, like most places, it is still preferred and can help you get ahead much faster in this profession. The great news is you can find a lot of programs in universities and specialized schools. Your goal should be getting accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Getting accreditation from either of those entities qualifies you to work as a medical assistant pretty much anywhere.
Looking for schools
You need to start looking for schools offering medical assistance programs, and they have to be accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES, and you will be able to find plenty. The programs offer a comprehensive guide on how to become a medical assistant, in terms of the theoretical knowledge you need to serve as a clinical or administrative medical assistant. You’ll also get the hands-on experience you will need to work in this position, and you’ll get to train in real clinical settings.
A diploma in medical assisting from Charter College is a good option to consider if you happen to be living around Anchorage. This one-year program will help you get the technical and administrative skills you need to become a medical assistant in Alaska, and it also qualifies you to apply for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential when you’re done.
On the other hand, The University of Alaska Fairbanks has an Associate of Applied Science degree that is a bit longer than the Charter College program, going up to a year and a half. The degree curriculum is divided into two parts. The first is mostly clinical work, equipping you with the necessary skills and knowledge to be around patients. And the second is administrative, preparing you to handle billing, invoices, and any other administrative tasks you can think of in a clinical setting.
There are a few paths you can take to become a licensed or certified medical assistant in Alaska. The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) course is preferred by many. You could also become a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) by getting licensed from the American Medical Technologists. There are other options to get a national certification, if that’s what you want, like becoming a Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing, or a Certified Clinical––or Administrative–––Medical Assistant (CCMA/CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association. A national licensing is definitely a better option for the people who don’t plan on staying in Alaska for a very long time, so it helps to have a license that works anywhere in the country.
What does the job look like?
Like anywhere else, a medical assistant in Alaska will work under the supervision of a medical professional like a doctor or a nurse. They will be performing clinical and administrative duties to make patients’ lives easier. There are career opportunities and much room for growth for a medical assistant if they prove their competence, so you could definitely assume leadership positions in time.
While becoming a medical assistant is easier than becoming a doctor, it’s definitely not a walk in the park. It will need hard work and dedication on your end, and you will have to put in the hours to learn and grow. Eventually, you’ll be able to help people like you’ve always wanted, and make good money, too, if you’re working in a state like Alaska.