In Alabama, medical assistants are not legally required to attain any formal training or education. However, the majority of employers hire only medical assistants who have completed a properly accredited program. Anyone interested in entering this field should look for programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). While Alabama also does not legally required medical assistants to become certified or licensed, those who become certified have a much higher chance of employment and career success. If you get your education through an accredited school, you can become a Registered Medical Assistant through the American Medical Technologists or a Certified Medical Assistant through the American Association of Medical Assistants.
Alabama’s Medical Assisting Employment Environment
In Alabama, the field of medical assisting is regulated by the Alabama Board of Nursing. Aspiring medical assistants can get a great deal of valuable information from the ABN as well as the Alabama Society of Medical Assistants. Currently, medical assistants in Alabama enjoy a remarkable professional environment. This field is growing rapidly in the state and currently offers hundreds of job openings in a variety of facilities. Medical assistants in Alabama can expect to earn an average salary of $30,000 a year, plus benefits that may include sick leave, vacation pay, insurance, retirement plans, and more.
The Future of Medical Assisting in Alabama
Alabama is a very promising state in which to enter the field of medical assisting. According to the Employment Matrix, this field is expected to grow around $48% by 2016, providing around 320 new medical assistant positions each year. Currently, medical assistants in Alabama enjoy an average hourly wage of $11.86. In metropolitan areas, this can reach as high as $13.18 an hour, but may be a bit lower in rural areas. In addition, medical assistants in many areas receive bonuses and benefits that add several thousand dollars to the annual value of the profession. In addition, the wages of medical assistants in Alabama increase with experience. According to an AAMA survey, those with between three and five years of experience can expect to earn around one dollar per hour more than new graduates. This increase continues, providing those with 16 or more years of experience with wages that are as much as four dollars an hour higher than those of recent graduates.
If you are considering becoming a medical assistant in Alabama, this is an excellent time to make the move. With a variety of quality, accredited training programs and a promising outlook, this is one of the brightest careers in healthcare in the state.
Medical Assistant Programs and Schools in Alabama
- Program Link: A.S in Medical Assisting ; Medical Assisting Diploma
- Description: With campuses conveniently located in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, Virginia College is easily accessible and provides students with the accreditation and skills to prepare them to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant exam, the Registered Medical Assistant exam, and the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant exam.
- Accreditation: Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS); Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- Programs: Diploma; Associate of Science
- Average Program Length: A.S. – 88 weeks; diploma – 55 weeks
- Tuition: A.S. – $36,000 (books included); diploma – $22,500 (books included)
- Clinical Experience: externship
- Job Placement Rate: A.S. – 64%; diploma – 72%
- Fun Fact: Students at Virginia College can complete many of their classes online.
- Program Link: A.S. in Medical Assisting
- Description: This two-year program provides training in laboratory and clinical procedures, medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and medical office administration. To be admitted to South University, students must have a high school diploma or GED and have a combined SAT score of 900, a combined ACT score of 19, or satisfactory scores on the University admissions exam.
- Accreditation: Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
- Programs: Associate of Science
- Average Program Length: 20 months
- Tuition: $43,160 (including books, room, and board) $20,820 (not including room and board)
- Clinical Experience: 200 hour externship
- Job Placement Rate: 80%
- Fun Fact: South University has been around since 1899, when it was started as Draughon’s Practical Business College.
- Program Link: Medical Assisting Program
- Description: Fortis has campuses in Dothan, Foley, Mobile, and Montgomery, offering nearby options for everyone. To qualify for admissions into Fortis, you must have a high school diploma or GED and complete a personal interview.
- Accreditation: Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
- Programs: Diploma
- Average Program Length: 42 weeks
- Tuition: $18,171
- Clinical Experience: externship
- Job Placement Rate: 76%
- Fun Fact: Fortis boasts state-of-the-art classrooms, libraries and facilities for its students.