Medical Office Personnel

Educational Programs

Erwin Technical Center
Florida National College
Med Vance Institute
National School of Technology
Pinellas Technical Education Center
Rasmussen College
Technical Career Institute

Brevard Community College
Broward College
Daytona Beach Community College
First Coast Technical Institute
Florida Career Institute
Florida State College at Jacksonville
Indian River State College
Lee County High Tech Center - North
Lively Technical Center
Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology
Manatee Technical Institute
Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education
Miami-Dade College
Miami Lakes Educational Center
Miami Skill Center
Orlando Vocational Technical Center
Palm Beach State College
Pasco-Hernando Community College
Pensacola Junior College
Robert Morgan Vocational Technical Institute
Santa Fe College
Sarasota County Technical Institute
Seminole State College of Florida
South Dade Skills Center
William T. McFatter Technical Center
Winter Park Tech

Florida Career College

Associate Degree
ATI Health Education Centers
Brown Mackie College
City College
Florida Memorial University
Florida Metropolitan University
Florida National College
International College
Jones College
Rasmussen College
Technical Career Institute

Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree
Keiser University

Professional Associations
American Association of Medical Assistants
American Medical Technologists
Registered Medical Assistants of American Medical Technologists

The work of medical assistants is varied. They assist physicians in their offices or other medical settings, performing clerical and/or clinical duties.

Their clinical duties may include preparing patients for examination and/or treatment, obtaining blood pressure, pulse, and temperature, administering medication, assisting the physician in the examination, performing phlebotomy and medical laboratory procedures and electrocardiograms, taking x-rays, sterilizing equipment, and assisting with minor office surgery. Clerical duties include scheduling and receiving patients, maintaining medical records, handling telephone calls, and assuming responsibility for billing, collections, and insurance claims. Medical assistant responsibilities vary from one office to another. In a small office the assistant may be a generalist while in a large office the physician may expect the assistant to perform either clerical or clinical duties, but not both.

Medical Assistant

Areas of Specialization
Assistants may specialize in a particular area of medicine, such as podiatry, rehabilitation, ophthalmology, and sports medicine.

Work Environment
Most medical assistants are employed in physicians' offices. They may also work in hospitals, medical clinics, or health maintenance organizations. They generally work 40-hour weeks, which may include weekends. Work is usually very pleasant in clean, air-conditioned offices. Uniforms may be required but a stipend may be paid for them. Work schedules are often flexible and many employers are now offering excellent fringe benefits.

Job Outlook
The number of medical assistants employed in Florida in 2006 was 28,667. It is projected that in 2014 there will be 39,446. This represents an annual average growth rate of 4.7 percent.

Length of Training/Requirements
Completion of a formal training program is preferred prior to employment; however, medical assistants may be trained on the job. Formal training programs are offered in schools of technology or community colleges. Technology programs take one year or less to complete and result in a certificate. Community college programs are usually two years in length and award an associate degree. Students in these educational programs take courses in anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, clinical procedures, pharmacology, word processing, insurance coding and billing, transcription, administrative office procedures, basic laboratory procedures including phlebotomy, radiology procedures, and emergency procedures, and medical office management. Some technology schools and community colleges also have an externship training component in addition to the course work. Applicants to the programs must achieve 10th grade levels on the Test for Adult Basic Education (TABE) prior to program completion.

Advancement can come with experience and additional training. Medical assistants may move into management or administrative positions without further education. Advancement in the clinical area requires additional schooling, however. Articulation at some colleges and universities is now in place. Students who are already certified as medical assistants can seek a degree in such areas as "Health Service Management," after completion of general education requirements. The Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) can also be used for acceptance in some of the college/university transitional programs such as nursing and emergency medical services.

At this time, licensing is not available in the state of Florida. However, medical assistants may voluntarily take the certification examination offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants to become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) or seek credentialing by the American Medical Technologists to become a Registered Medical Assistant (RMA).

The average hourly wage for medical assistants employed in Florida was $13.75 in 2009.

Updated: 2009