Medical assistants are vitally important to any healthcare facility or private practice. They assist doctors and nurses by performing a wide array of both clinical and administrative tasks, from checking vitals and drawing blood to recording patient medical histories and scheduling tests. However, a medical assistant who is new to the field may not have a network of colleagues, peers and mentors to turn to with questions.
Building a network of contacts that can answer your questions, lend support and may even teach you how to advance your career takes time. One of the best ways to increase your circle of contacts and “learn the ropes” quickly is by joining one or more professional medical assistant organizations. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and the one you choose may depend on the certification you received when you began working.
These are the top two professional organizations that you may want to consider:
American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
This is the pinnacle of associations for medical assistants. If you are a CMA (AAMA)® credentialed medical assistant, you have passed the certification exam through the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants. Members have access to these benefits:
- Discounts: Receive reduced rates on certification exams, continuing education courses and conferences.
- Status of membership: Your employer can request verification of your certification status.
- Professional credibility: Your membership is a good thing to add to your résumé, as it indicates your dedication to your career
- Affordability: Membership dues vary by state, and whether you’re a student or non-student, currently from $25 to $107 a year.
- Advocacy: AAMA legal experts advocate for you on many issues within the healthcare industry.
- CMA Today subscription: This bi-monthly magazine is totally devoted to medical assisting concerns.
- Continuing education: You have a variety of e-learning, self-study courses and conferences that can help further your education.
- Job leads: By interacting with other members, you may be able to find new jobs.
- AAMA Annual Conference attendance: You’re eligible to attend the conference, talk to industry leaders and network.
- Volunteerism: Participate in the organization as a volunteer … and then list it on your résumé.
American Medical Technologists (AMT)
Once you sit for the AMT’s Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam, you’re eligible to join the organization. Membership provides many benefits, similar to those offered by the AAMA, including:
- Advocacy: The organization will advocate for your rights as a medical assistant.
- Online and on-demand continuing education: Take advantage of STEP CE articles, REACH certificates and informative webinars
- Annual convention and state society meetings and seminars attendance
- Pulse magazine: Read online or download the AMT publication—or even submit an article of your own for publication.
- Awards and scholarships: Members who have made a positive impact in their field or for the AMT may be recognized with an annual award. Also, if you want to continue your education, you may apply for an AMT scholarship
- Career services: This is AMT’s free online service. You can search for jobs, read articles about advancing your career, create an online résumé or send your résumé to potential employers.
Overall benefits of joining a professional association
Joining a professional medical assistant association can broaden your horizons, increase your contact list, and provide access to a variety of educational and job opportunities. If you work in a nursing home, for example, you’ll likely know a lot about geriatric care. However, you may want to learn what it’s like to work in a different setting: a hospital, private practice, the military, an oncology unit, etc. You’ll be exposed to knowledge about the healthcare industry in general and can learn from your peers. Additionally, you’ll have the opportunity to attend conferences, seminars, forums and participate in training programs. All of this improves your credibility and lets potential employers know that you are dedicated to your career. The networking potential may also lead to better employment opportunities.
Where to train to become a medical assistant
Brookline College offers a nine-month medical assistant diploma program at its Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson and Albuquerque locations. You’ll learn to assist physicians in the exam room as they treat patients and perform important routine clinical and administrative tasks. With Brookline’s hands-on learning during lab classes, you’ll practice your skills so you’ll be confident and ready to begin your entry-level position on day one. The job outlook for medical assistants in Arizona is very bright, according to O*NET OnLine: double the rate for the rest of the United States, with a prediction of 3,080 new jobs per year through 2026. Jobs in New Mexico are growing at a faster-than-average rate as well. As a medical assistant, you’ll be able to work in clinics, hospitals, private practice, outpatient facilities, nursing homes, urgent care facilities and more.
Contact Brookline College and prepare for an in-demand career as a medical assistant.
It never hurts to have someone in your corner, advocating for your rights and helping you advance your career. If you’re a medical assistant, joining a professional organization can help you with networking, continuing education and much more.