Medical Assisting in Washington
The demand for all types of medical assistants in Washington state is booming and Washington Career Bridge lists medical assisting as an in demand occupation across the state. Washington has a high level of employment for medical assistants, with 4.32 jobs per 1,000 being in the medical assisting field.
Unlike in most other states where a national certification is acceptable and optional, Washington state law requires medical assistants intending to work in the state to earn a mandatory healthcare credential from the state’s Department of Health. Washington state also has clear definitions of the clinical duties medical assistants are allowed to perform under supervision.
There is no legal requirement in Washington State to earn a national medical assistant certification credential, such as CMA or RMA, but gaining a nationally recognized certification credential when you’ve completed your post-secondary education can open up more job opportunities when applying for an entry level position and into your future career, and will give you the option to seek employment in other states. In order to gain certification you will need to complete your training on a CAAHEP or ABHES accredited diploma, certificate or degree program.
Medical assistant salaries are among the highest in the country. In fact, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics lists Washington as the fourth highest paying state. General, clerical and administrative medical assistants can expect to earn on average $17.50 per hour, which is equivalent to a yearly income of $36,400.
The professional body that supports medical assistants in the state is the Washington State Society of Medical Assistants (WSSMA), the state affiliate of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), and there are local AAMA chapters in the following places:
- Greater Spokane
Washington Medical Assistant Schools and Programs
Students at Spokane Community College can complete their medical assisting training on a certificate program over 4 quarters. Students will receive instruction in the multiple skills required to work as a medical assistant, from administrative duties such as maintaining medical records and receiving patients, to clinical tasks such as taking vital signs, administering first aid or CPR. In addition to coursework, students must complete an externship in order to gain real world practical experience.
Clover Park Technical College runs a CAAHEP accredited medical assitant certificate program over 5 quarters. Day classes begin in the fall quarter and evening ones in the spring. Students will be required to complete an externship as part of their training. Graduates of this program can apply to take the AAMA Certification exam on completion of their studies.
- Length: 5 quarters
- Cost: $7,685
- Job Placement Rate: Not available