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Career and Education Opportunities for Medical Assistants in Anchorage, Alaska

Medical assistant career and educational opportunities abound in Anchorage, Alaska. About 800 people are currently employed as medical assistants in Alaska. By 2016, this is expected to grow 42% to about 1,130 people employed. This is better than the national trend for medical assistants, which sees this job pool growing by about 33.9% over the next eight years. In general, medical assistants perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of physician.

Medical assistants earn about $16 per hour or $34,090 annually on average in Alaska and about $13 per hour or $28,300 per year on average nationally. Incomes for medical assistants are not quite as good as in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance in Alaska, and not quite as good as the overall Medical and Dental Assistance category nationally. People working as medical assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: certified ophthalmic technician , optometric assistant, and medical billing specialist.

The Anchorage area is home to four schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Anchorage where you can get a degree as a medical assistant. The most common level of education for medical assistants is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn to be a medical assistant if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Medical Assistant

Medical Assistant video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, medical assistants perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of physician. They also administrative duties may include scheduling appointments, maintaining medical records, billing, and coding for insurance purposes.

Medical assistants ready treatment rooms for patient examinations, keeping the rooms neat and clean. They also interview clients to obtain medical data and measure their vital signs and height. Equally important, medical assistants have to show clients to examination rooms and ready them for the physician. They are often called upon to help physicians examine and treat patients, handing them instruments and materials or performing such tasks as giving injections or removing sutures. They are expected to record patients' medical history, vital statistics and data such as test results in medical archives. Finally, medical assistants greet and log in patients arriving at office or clinic.

Every day, medical assistants are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for medical assistants to inventory and order medical, lab, or office supplies and apparatus. They are often called upon to change dressings on wounds. They also contact medical facilities or departments to schedule patients for tests or admission. They are sometimes expected to run routine laboratory tests and sample analyses. Somewhat less frequently, medical assistants are also expected to greet and log in patients arriving at office or clinic.

Medical assistants sometimes are asked to keep financial reports and execute other bookkeeping duties. They also have to be able to execute general office duties such as answering telephones, taking dictation or completing insurance forms and clean and sterilize instruments and dispose of contaminated supplies. And finally, they sometimes have to authorize drug refills and furnish prescription data to pharmacies.

Like many other jobs, medical assistants must be thorough and dependable and be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Anchorage include:

  • Dental Assistant. Assist dentist, set up patient and equipment, and keep records.
  • Medical Equipment Technician. Prepare, sterilize, or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment. May perform routine laboratory tasks and operate or inspect equipment.
  • Psychiatric Aide. Assist mentally impaired or emotionally disturbed patients, working under direction of nursing and medical staff.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Medical Assistant Training

University of Alaska Anchorage - Anchorage, AK

University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508. University of Alaska Anchorage is a large university located in Anchorage, Alaska. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 16,649 students and an admission rate of 68%. University of Alaska Anchorage has 2 areas of study related to Medical Assistant. They are:

  • Medical Office Assistant/Specialist, less than one year which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Medical/Clinical Assistant, associate's degree which graduated 26 students in 2008.

Charter College - Anchorage, AK

Charter College, 2221 E Northern Lights Blvd Ste 120, Anchorage, AK 99508. Charter College is a small college located in Anchorage, Alaska. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 770 students. Charter College has 2 areas of study related to Medical Assistant. They are:

  • Medical Insurance Coding Specialist/Coder, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated fourteen and thirteen students respectively in 2008.
  • Medical/Clinical Assistant, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated six and zero students respectively in 2008.

Career Academy - Anchorage, AK

Career Academy, 1415 E Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99507-1033. Career Academy is a small school located in Anchorage, Alaska. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 297 students. Career Academy has 2 areas of study related to Medical Assistant. They are:

  • Medical Insurance Coding Specialist/Coder, less than one year which graduated 49 students in 2008.
  • Medical/Clinical Assistant, one to two year which graduated 149 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Medical Assistant: The CMA (AAMA) is considered the gold standard of medical assisting professionalism.

For more information, see the American Association of Medical Assistants website.

Registered Health Information Technician: With experience, the RHIT credential holds solid potential for advancement to management positions, especially when combined with a bachelor's degree.

For more information, see the American Health Information Management Association website.

Certified Coding Associate: American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) recognizes that the demand for coders has never been greater, and this need is expected to continue for some years to come.

For more information, see the American Health Information Management Association website.

Medical Assistant: A Medical Assistant (MA) is an integral member of the health care delivery team, qualified by education and experience to work in the administrative office, the examining room and the physician office laboratory.

For more information, see the American Medical Technologists website.

Medical LabTechnician: All laboratory professionals, including Medical Technologists, Medical Laboratory Technicians and Medical Laboratory Assistants have long played a vital role in the diagnosis and prevention of disease.

For more information, see the American Medical Technologists website.

Donor Phlebotomy Technician: This certification is for current Phlebotomy Technicians who take blood from patients for testing or for a blood bank, prepare samples for testing, and carry out those tests.

For more information, see the American Society for Clinical Pathology website.

Corporate Certified Opthalmic Assistant: A certification for employees of companies that supply products and services to the.

For more information, see the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology website.

Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist: The Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist (CPCS) is typically employed or contracted by a health care organization including, but not limited to, health plans, group practices, credentialing verification organizations or hospitals (health systems).

For more information, see the National Association of Medical Services Staff website.

Certified Medical Coder: Experienced medical office professionals with exceptional coding skills are eligible to sit for the Certified Medical Coder (CMC) exam.

For more information, see the Practice Management Institute website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Anchorage, Alaska

Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska photo by File Upload Bot

Anchorage is located in Anchorage Municipality County, Alaska. It has a population of over 279,243, which has grown by 7.3% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Anchorage, 89, is well below the national average.

The top three industries for women in Anchorage are health care, educational services, and public administration. For men, it is construction, public administration, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 20 minutes. More than 28.9% of Anchorage residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.2%, is higher than the state average.

Anchorage is home to the Chugach and the Black Bear Campground as well as Baxter Bog Park and Alaska Railroad Power Reserve. Visitors to Anchorage can choose from Courtyard Anchorage, Creekwood Inn and The Voyager Hotel for temporary stays in the area.