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Career and Education Opportunities for Medical Assistants in Salem, Oregon

Salem, Oregon provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for medical assistants. About 5,830 people are currently employed as medical assistants in Oregon. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 36% to about 7,940 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. Medical assistants generally perform administrative and certain clinical duties under the direction of physician.

Medical assistants earn approximately $15 hourly or $31,380 annually on average in Oregon. Nationally they average about $13 per hour or $28,300 yearly. Earnings for medical assistants are better than earnings in the general category of Medical and Dental Assistance in Oregon and not quite as good as general Medical and Dental Assistance category earnings nationally. Medical assistants work in a variety of jobs, including: medical office worker, morgue technician, and ophthalmic assistant.

The Salem area is home to seventeen schools of higher education, including five within twenty-five miles of Salem 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 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 Salem 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

Linn-Benton Community College - Albany, OR

Linn-Benton Community College, 6500 Pacific Blvd SW, Albany, OR 97321. Linn-Benton Community College is a medium sized college located in Albany, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,576 students. Linn-Benton Community College has 2 areas of study related to Medical Assistant. They are:

  • Medical Administrative/Executive Assistant & Medical Secretary, one to two year and associate's degree which graduated fifteen and nine students respectively in 2008.
  • Medical/Clinical Assistant, associate's degree which graduated 18 students in 2008.

Pioneer Pacific College - Wilsonville, OR

Pioneer Pacific College, 27501 SW Parkway Ave, Wilsonville, OR 97070-9296. Pioneer Pacific College is a small college located in Wilsonville, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,123 students. Pioneer Pacific College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Medical/Clinical Assistant which graduated 178 and seventy-seven students respectively in 2008.

Clackamas Community College - Oregon City, OR

Clackamas Community College, 19600 Molalla Ave, Oregon City, OR 97045-8980. Clackamas Community College is a medium sized college located in Oregon City, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,701 students. Clackamas Community College has 2 areas of study related to Medical Assistant. They are:

  • Medical Office Assistant/Specialist, one to two year which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Medical/Clinical Assistant, one to two year which graduated 14 students in 2008.

Chemeketa Community College - Salem, OR

Chemeketa Community College, 4000 Lancaster Dr NE, Salem, OR 97305. Chemeketa Community College is a large college located in Salem, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,000 students. Chemeketa Community College has 3 areas of study related to Medical Assistant. They are:

  • Medical Office Management/Administration, associate's degree which graduated 11 students in 2008.
  • Medical Administrative/Executive Assistant & Medical Secretary, associate's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Medical/Clinical Assistant, one to two year which graduated 21 students in 2008.

Valley Medical College - Salem, OR

Valley Medical College, 4707 Silverton Road NE, Salem, OR 97305. Valley Medical College is a small college located in Salem, Oregon. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 75 students. Valley Medical College has 3 areas of study related to Medical Assistant. They are:

  • Medical Reception/Receptionist, less than one year which graduated 2 students in 2008.
  • Medical Administrative/Executive Assistant & Medical Secretary, less than one year which graduated 12 students in 2008.
  • Medical/Clinical Assistant, less than one year which graduated 25 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: Salem, Oregon

Salem, Oregon
Salem, Oregon photo by Aboutmovies

Salem is located in Marion County, Oregon. It has a population of over 153,435, which has grown by 12.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Salem, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Salem are valued at $215,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-nine new homes were constructed in Salem, down from five hundred forty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Salem are health care, public administration, and educational services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 24.1% of Salem residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Salem is 10.2%, which is less than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Salem residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Salem is home to the Oregon Women's Correctional Center and the Oregon State Penitentiary as well as Waldo Park and Olinger Pool Park. Visitors to Salem can choose from Red Lion Hotel-Salem Reservations, Shilo Inn Salem and Econo Lodge Salem for temporary stays in the area.