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Career and Education Opportunities for Medical Assistants in Gulfport, Mississippi

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for medical assistants in the Gulfport, Mississippi area. There are currently 2,170 jobs for medical assistants in Mississippi and this is projected to grow 38% to 2,990 jobs by 2016. 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.

Income for medical assistants is about $11 per hour or $24,360 yearly on average in Mississippi. Nationally, their income is about $13 hourly or $28,300 per year. Medical assistants earn more than people working in the category of Medical and Dental Assistance generally in Mississippi and less than people in the Medical and Dental Assistance category nationally. Jobs in this field include: ophthalmic technician, clinical assistant, and autopsy assistant.

There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Gulfport where you can study to be a medical assistant, among six schools of higher education total in the Gulfport area. Given that the most common education level for medical assistants is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying 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 Gulfport include:

  • 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

Blue Cliff College - Gulfport, MS

Blue Cliff College, 12251 Bernard Pkwy, Gulfport, MS 39503-0000. Blue Cliff College is a small college located in Gulfport, Mississippi. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 150 students. Blue Cliff College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Allied Health and Medical Assisting Services, Other Specialties which graduated twenty-seven and zero students respectively in 2008.

Virginia College-Gulf Coast - Biloxi, MS

Virginia College-Gulf Coast, 920 Cedar Lake Rd-Ste C, Biloxi, MS 39532. Virginia College-Gulf Coast is a small college located in Biloxi, Mississippi. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 353 students and an admission rate of 60%. Virginia College-Gulf Coast has 4 areas of study related to Medical Assistant. They are:

  • Medical Office Management/Administration, associate's degree which graduated 6 students in 2008.
  • Medical Office Assistant/Specialist, associate's degree which graduated 3 students in 2008.
  • Medical Insurance Coding Specialist/Coder, one to two year which graduated 18 students in 2008.
  • Medical/Clinical Assistant, one to two year which graduated 15 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: Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport, Mississippi
Gulfport, Mississippi photo by Charlie Brenner

Gulfport is located in Harrison County, Mississippi. It has a population of over 70,055, which has shrunk by 1.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Gulfport, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Gulfport are valued at $108,600 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, two hundred forty-two new homes were constructed in Gulfport, down from three hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Gulfport are health care, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, arts, entertainment, and recreation, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 19.1% of Gulfport residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Gulfport is 9.3%, which is less than Mississippi's average of 9.5%.

The percentage of Gulfport residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Saint Johns Catholic Church, Saint James Baptist Church and Broadmoor Baptist Church are all churches located in Gulfport. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Gulfport is home to the Harrison County Courthouse and the West Side Community Center as well as Cowan Road Field and Harbor Square Park. Shopping centers in the area include Great Southern Shopping Center, Gulf Mart Shopping Center and Hardy Court Shopping Center. Visitors to Gulfport can choose from Best Western Seaway Inn, Crystal Inn and Best Western Seaway for temporary stays in the area.