Medical Assistant Programs in Mississippi


One of the 10 best states to practice the medical assistant profession, top Mississippi practitioners receive an average of $50,000 per year, whereas in the national level, only about 10% of medical assistants receive as much as $40,000 per year. Medical assisting is a financially lucrative job that is becoming popular among students and career shifters. In less than a year of study, you can already take on a job as a medical assistant in hospitals, doctor's office, health spas, school offices, rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes, and other similar health service settings. 

How to Become a Medical Assistant in Mississippi

Different states have varying policies when it comes to hiring medical assistants although there is no specific law that governs the medical assisting occupation. But, there are several ways for you to become a medical assistant.

On-the-job Training. This is the fastest and easiest route to become a medical assistant. The only requirement is that you have completed high school or GED. It is to your advantage if you have taken subjects such as biology, anatomy, and physiology, among others, as this could help you effortlessly understand clinical aspects of medical assisting. Being highly skilled in the use of computers also helps. As trainee, the doctor or other medical support personnel trains you on the day-to-day responsibilities of a medical assistant.

However, with the emergence of medical assisting schools, this hiring method is becoming less common especially now that employers tend to hire formally trained applicants only.

Basic Medical Assistant Training. Medical assistant programs are available in local colleges, universities, and vocational schools. Regardless of the program you choose, you will learn all the required skills to begin working as a medical assistant. The shorter way to becoming a practitioner is by finishing the certification program for medical assistants, which takes about 9 months to finish. If you prefer a more intensive program and one that could lead to higher educational studies, then opt for the associate's degree program that you can complete within 2 years of study. At the end of the program, you are required to undergo an internship in a local hospital or a physician's office.

Some medical assistants get their first jobs after finishing their internship program either through automatic hiring by their training supervisors or through applying to other hospitals or clinics.

Mississippi Medical Assisting Schools

Certification Requirements

Passing a certification exam for medical assistants is not a requirement for you to begin working as one. However, because employers prefer formally trained and certified applicants, passing a certification test increases your chances of hiring.

If your plan is to become a certified medical assistant in Mississippi, therefore, at the onset of your medical assisting education, you have to ensure that your school and program is accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES. Graduates from CAAHEP- or ABHES-accredited schools are eligible to take any of the certification exams conducted by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) and American Medical Technologists (AMT), among others.

Those who do not have formal medical assistant training or graduated from non-accredited school or program can still take certification tests only after completing at least five continuous years of working experience.

References

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2011: Medical Assistants
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Medical Assistant

Resources

National Healthcareer Association: Medical Administrative Assistant Certification (CMAA)
American Medical Technologists
National Healthcareer Association: The Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs: Accredited Program Search
Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools: Directory of Institutions and Programs

Medical Assistant Programs by State

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