Training, Education, Earnings and Employment Trends
The healthcare industry in Louisiana continues to expand rapidly, and medical assistant positions offer students an opportunity to be a part of this growing field. According to a 2014 report from the Louisiana Hospital Association, the healthcare industry is the state's largest employer by payroll, and wages for healthcare employees are notably higher than many other jobs in the service sector. Louisiana's numerous colleges and vocational schools provide a variety of options for starting a career as a medical assistant. The increasing availability of online classes and distance learning programs make training to be a medical assistant a viable option, even for those already employed in other fields.
Top School for Medical Assisting in Louisiana
Medical assisting is a good place to start for those interested in helping others and working in the health care field. Medical assistants work closely with physicians and patients, helping to reduce wait time for patients and taking care of some of the back-office work in an office or hospital. To land your first job in the field, you first must earn a certificate or degree in medical assisting, which means finding a school that meets your professional goals and personal needs—including cost, programs available and student reviews. Our 2017 Top School for Medical Assisting in Louisiana list is your starting point.
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Louisiana Medical Assistant Certification and Training Requirements
- 1. Is medical assistant certification required?
The Louisiana State Medical Board has consistently understood the practice of medical assistantship to fall under the ability of physicians to delegate clinical tasks and does not require certification. However, trends in the healthcare industry and recent rulings by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid are making certification the presumptive standard for medical assistants in Louisiana.
- 2. Is certification available?
Although Louisiana does not require medical assistants to be certified, many employers look favorably on certified candidates and increasingly require certification. Here is a list of national certification programs for medical assistants.
|American Association of Medical Assistants||Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)|
|American Registry of Medical Assistants||Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)|
|National Healthcareer Association||Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)|
- 3. Is a formal education or training required?
National certification programs require medical assistants to possess some formal education or specific training. This is most often a high school diploma/GED and completion of an accredited medical assistant program. The level of training required in Louisiana depends on the task being performed and the level of supervision. For example, in order for medical assistants to draw blood samples or perform laboratory tests they must be certified by the state medical board.
- 4. Are there additional requirements?
Medical assistants must be trained on the equipment necessary to perform a given task and informed of relevant safety protocols. The following are specific requirements for medical assistants in Louisiana, listed by type of procedure:
Medical Assistant Requirements Venipuncture Completion of a national certification exam OR an exam administered by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners. Laser or chemical skin treatments Training in safety and application techniques for each system. Individuals must also understand cutaneous medicine, pre and post-operative care, possible complications, and the types of infectious diseases involved with each treatment. Laboratory Testing High school diploma or GED, completed laboratory competency checklist, or a passing score on a national exam approved by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.
- 5. Are there healthcare support tasks outside the scope of medical assistants in Louisiana?
Louisiana does not permit medical assistants to perform the following tasks or procedures:
- Administering medication in the absence of physician.
- Clinical tasks such as independent medical assessment, triage, and prescribing or renewing prescriptions.
Salaries for Medical Assistants in Louisiana
The following 2014 salary figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics offer a comparison between medical assistant earnings in Louisiana and medical assistants nationally.
|State vs. National||Annual Wage 25th percentile||Annual Wage Median||Annual Wage 75th percentile||Hourly Wage Median|
Source: BLS, 2014
Louisiana Medical Assistant Salaries: City and Metropolitan Areas
Medical assistant salaries in Louisiana can vary widely, with the greatest difference being between metropolitan areas, such as New Orleans, and rural parishes.
|Area||Annual Wage 25th percentile||Annual Wage Median||Annual Wage 75th percentile||Hourly Wage Median|
|Winnesboro (rural area)||$21,140||$22,830||$24,510||$10.98|
Source: BLS, 2014
Louisiana Medical Assisting Employments Trends
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects healthcare support occupations will see record growth-more than 20 percent-over the next decade as the U.S. population ages and the healthcare industry continues to expand. This is good news for anyone looking to pursue a career as a medical assistant. These professionals can be found in every facet of healthcare and the occupation stands to benefit greatly from these national trends. Below is a comparison of projected employment growth for medical assistants in Louisiana and nationally.
|State vs. National||Average Annual Openings||Current Employment||Projected Employment 2022||Jobs Added||Growth Rate|
Source: Projections Central, 2012-2022
Louisiana Medical Assisting Schools Spotlight
When starting a career as medical assistant in Louisiana, the number of available schools and other educational programs can be daunting. The state has a large number of local colleges, community or junior colleges and vocational schools awarding both certificate and associate degrees to set learners on the path to becoming medical assistants. Many of the programs also offer additional training in specialty areas such as administrative assistantship, medical coding, and clinical skills to expand employment opportunities and earning potential. Here are few schools to get you started with your research.
Baton Rouge Community College
School Type: Community College
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
School highlights: Part of the Nursing and Allied Health Department
Students are prepared to work in a variety of healthcare settings, including physician's offices, clinics, laboratories, and medical records
Graduates are eligible to sit for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam offered by the National Healthcare Association
Programs offered: Medical Assistant, Certificate of Technical Studies
Delgado Community College
School Type: Public Community/Junior College
Accreditation: Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Member of the Louisiana Community and Technical College System
School highlights: Part of the Allied Health Department, which offers a wide range of medical support degrees and certificate programs
Opportunities to shorten the program through non-traditional credit or advanced placement based on demonstration of existing competency
Programs offered: Ophthalmology Medical Assistant, Pharmacy Technician , Medical Coding