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Career and Education Opportunities for Medical Assistants in Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for medical assistants. Currently, 2,700 people work as medical assistants in Iowa. This is expected to grow 33% to 3,590 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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 $13 per hour or $28,070 annually on average in Iowa and about $13 per hour or $28,300 annually on average nationally. Compared with people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance, people working as medical assistants in Iowa earn more. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Medical and Dental Assistance nationally. People working as medical assistants can fill a number of jobs, such as: clinical assistant, registered medical assistant, and orthopedic cast specialist.

The Des Moines area is home to fifteen schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Des Moines where you can get a degree as a medical assistant. Medical assistants usually hold a high school diploma or GED, so you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Des Moines 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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Medical Assistant Training

Kaplan University-Des Moines Campus - Urbandale, IA

Kaplan University-Des Moines Campus, 4655 121st Street, Urbandale, IA 50323. Kaplan University-Des Moines Campus is a small university located in Urbandale, Iowa. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 864 students. Kaplan University-Des Moines Campus has an associate's degree program in Medical/Clinical Assistant which graduated sixty-seven students in 2008.

Mercy College of Health Sciences - Des Moines, IA

Mercy College of Health Sciences, 928 Sixth Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309-1239. Mercy College of Health Sciences is a small college located in Des Moines, Iowa. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 676 students and an admission rate of 72%. Mercy College of Health Sciences has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Medical/Clinical Assistant which graduated six and zero students respectively in 2008.

Vatterott College - Des Moines, IA

Vatterott College, 7000 Fleur Drive, Des Moines, IA 50321. Vatterott College is a small college located in Des Moines, Iowa. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 239 students and an admission rate of 75%. Vatterott College has 2 areas of study related to Medical Assistant. They are:

  • Medical Office Assistant/Specialist, one to two year which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Medical/Clinical Assistant, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated thirty-one and eleven students respectively 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.

LICENSES

Podiatric Radiographer (Podiatry Assistant)

Licensing agency: Board of Podiatry Examiners
Address: Bureau of Professional Licensure, Iowa Department of Public Health, Lucas State Office Building, 321 E 12th St, Des Moines, IA 50319-0075

Phone: (515) 281-4422
Website: Board of Podiatry Examiners Bureau of Professional Licensure Iowa Department of Public Health

LOCATION INFORMATION: Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, Iowa
Des Moines, Iowa photo by BinaryBoyXP

Des Moines is located in Polk County, Iowa. It has a population of over 197,052, which has shrunk by 0.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Des Moines, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Des Moines cost $175,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-five new homes were built in Des Moines, down from three hundred nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Des Moines are finance and insurance, health care, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 21.8% of Des Moines residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.5%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Des Moines is 7.1%, which is greater than Iowa's average of 6.1%.

The percentage of Des Moines residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Epworth United Methodist Church, Union Park Baptist Church and Seventh Day Adventist Church are all churches located in Des Moines. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Des Moines is home to the Activities Center and the Blank Park Zoo as well as M L King Park and Des Moines Botanical Garden. Shopping centers in the area include Merle Hay Mall, Des Moines Park Fair Mall and Southridge Mall. Visitors to Des Moines can choose from Palace Inn, Holiday Inn Express Des Moines and Casa Bella Motel for temporary stays in the area.