Medical Assisting programs in South dakota

South Dakota Medical Assisting

The healthcare industry will always remain on top despite what happens to the national economy. This is primarily due to the government's thrust to improve the healthcare system and services accorded to the people. As the number of elderly increases and with people becoming more aware about their health, one branch of the healthcare industry will surely benefit from positive changes happening in the medical health field. As doctors rely heavily on medical assistants to perform clerical and clinical tasks in the office, the demand for medical assistants increases as well.

In general, the outlook for medical assistants is quite positive with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projecting a 31% increase in the number of practitioners from 2010 to 2020. In plain numerical figures, that equates to more than 164,000 new jobs for aspiring medical assistants. In South Dakota, the employment outlook is optimistic considering the number of elderly residents seeking medical attention. Even those who initially had reservations about seeking medical treatment (young and old alike) are now becoming more mindful about their health, thus keeping the doctors and nurses busy keeping everyone up and about.

Because of this situation, administrative tasks are transitioned to medical assistants for them to complete, including patient history transcription, responding to billing and reimbursement disputes, attending to patients' queries about insurance claims, general office recordkeeping and bookkeeping tasks, scheduling patient appointments, and generally, ensuring the clinic runs efficiently and smoothly. Apart from clerical tasks, medical assistants also perform some clinical duties such as taking patients' vital signs prior to doctor's appointment and collecting specimens for laboratory analysis.

Pathways of Becoming a Medical Assistant in South Dakota

There are three different types of medical assistants you can choose from: Clinical, Administrative and Clerical.

Clerical and Administrative medical assistants perform many of the administrative taks such as:

  • Creating, updating, and maintaining patient medical records
  • Accounts payable/receivable
  • Scheduling appointments etc.

Whereas clinical staff spend less time on administrative duties and more on patient care such as:

  • Collecting and handling specimens from patients
  • Preparing patients for examinations, procedures, and x-rays
  • Taking/Recording medical histories etc.

Medical assistant education in South Dakota is offered in local colleges, technical schools, and universities. Some educational institutions even offer online courses for students who cannot afford to study on a fulltime basis. The training involves instruction regarding medical terminologies, laboratory testing and diagnostic procedures, anatomy and physiology, and basic pharmacology. On the clerical aspect of learning, medical assistants learn about accounting, insurance processing, medical laws and ethics, and other general office procedures such as telephone etiquette and patient relations. 

Medical assisting programs are designed for completion within nine months to two years of study, such that students earn either a certificate or an associate's degree in medical assisting. After completing any of these programs, students are required to undergo practicum hours in a hospital or healthcare setting such as doctor's clinic, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, health spas, dental office, or school clinics.

Medical Assistant Schools and Colleges in South Dakota

Certification Requirements

To apply for any medical assistant jobs, passing a certification exam for medical assistants is not a requirement. However, as employers tend to choose formally trained and certified medical assistants, graduates now opt to take certification tests to strengthen their medical assisting credentials. In addition, becoming a certified medical assistant opens more employment opportunities to work in various healthcare settings.

An important note to remember is that only graduates from ABHES or CAAHEP accredited medical assisting programs are eligible to take certification exams given by certifying bodies such as the American Association of Medical Assistants  (for Certified Medical Assistant) and American Medical Technologists (for Registered Medical Assistant), among others.

South Dakota Salaries for Medical Assistants

Table 1 Salary Data Source: U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Level of Experience Hourly Rate Annual Salary
Entry-Level Wage $9.86 $20,500
Median Wage $12.47 $25,900
Experienced Wage $15.57 $32,400

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010–11 Edition: Medical Assistants.
American Association of Medical Assistants (CMA)
American Medical Technologists (RMA)

Medical Assistant Programs by State

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