Medical assistants are a valuable part of any healthcare team. They are called upon to perform numerous tasks, delegated to them by nurses or physicians, that free up other healthcare personnel to spend more time with patients. Medical assistants can work in the front office, where they dealing with scheduling, payments and billing, or they might work directly with patient care in the back office. Most medical assisting programs teach students how to handle both. This guide focuses on what students can learn from the medical assisting programs in Alaska, as well as what they can expect from a job in the state upon graduation.
Alaska Medical Assistant
Schools & Salaries
Programs, Job Descriptions, Earnings & Growth Projections
Alaska Medical Assisting Schools Spotlight
Alaska has only two schools with accredited programs in medical assisting. Both programs are offered by major state universities and culminate in certificate or associate degree programs.
University of Alaska-Fairbanks Community and Technical College
As the flagship campus for the University of Alaska System, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks is a major university with almost two hundred degrees and certificates available to its students.
The school offers two programs for prospective medical assistants: the certificate program, which takes about 30-42 credits to complete, and the associate of applied science degree, which takes about 60 credits.
University of Alaska-Anchorage
The University of Alaska-Anchorage is the largest university in the University of Alaska System. In addition to medical assisting, there are hundreds of other programs available to students.
The associate of applied science degree in medical assisting consists of about 60 credits. Full-time and part-time curriculums are available.
Certification & Training Requirements for Alaska Medical Assistants
In Alaska, medical assistants are defined as “unlicensed assistive personnel that perform office and clinical functions.” Their work must be delegated by a nurse or physician, with special conditions put on what duties medical assistants can perform. Delegation of tasks can occur only if the following conditions are met:
- The delegated duties must be within the scope of the practice of the person delegating them.
- The patient must be assessed to ensure tasks can be safely delegated.
- The patient’s medical condition must be stable and predictable.
- The medical assistant has been trained to handle the delegated task, and that training has been documented.
- The medical assistant is deemed competent to handle the delegated task.
- Performing the duty does not require professional medical judgment or complex medical skills.
- Instructions are clearly written for the medical assistant concerning the task, predicted outcomes and reporting procedures.
The delegated duties must be within the scope of the practice of the person delegating them.
Certification is not required to work as a medical assistant in Alaska; however, many employers either demand or prefer that their applicants hold active certification.
Many employers prefer to hire certified medical assistants. The following organizations offer medical assisting certification that is acceptable to employers in Alaska.
- American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- National Certification Career Association (NCCA)
Those who choose to pursue certification must complete a formal training or education program. This program must be accredited. Recertification is required every five years. Those who will be giving injectable medication under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional must complete a training course in administration of medication, as required by the Nursing Board.
Alaska is very clear about what can be delegated to medical assistants, as well as what cannot be. The following tasks cannot be delegated to medical assistants
- Assessment of the patient’s medical condition
- Formulating a plan of medical care
- Counseling the patient or the patient’s family
- Transmitting verbal prescription orders
- Intravenous therapy, including blood or blood products
- Anything concerning procedural sedation
- Assessing sterile wound or ulcer care
- Home dialysis therapy
- Oral tracheal suction
- Medication management for unstable medication conditions
- Placement or administration of nasogastric tubes and fluids
- Assessment and management of newly-placed gastrostomy tubes
- Administration of some injectable medications.
Salaries for Medical Assistants in Alaska
Medical assistants in Alaska can expect to make more than the national average. How much more? Check out the table below.
Source: BLS, 2014
Alaska City and Metropolitan Area Salaries
How much a medical assistant makes can vary widely depending on where they work. The chart below shows what medical assistants can expect to make in different geographical areas of Alaska.
|Southeast Alaska nonmetropolitan area||$35,040||$42,470||$47,170||$19.80|
|Railbelt / Southwest Alaska nonmetropolitan area||$35,340||$41,810||$47,610||$20.28|
Source: BLS, 2014
Alaska Medical Assisting Employments Trends
The anticipated need for medical assistants in Alaska is below the national estimate, but it’s still very high. More details are listed below.
Medical Assistant Estimated Employment Growth 2012-2022
*Source: Projections Central, 2012-2022
Alaska Medical Assistant Resources
The Alaska Medical Assistant Society exists to promote education and career advancement of medical assistants in Alaska.
This Alaska statute explains when and how a nurse may delegate certain duties to a medical assistant.
This Alaska statute pertains directly to when and how a certified medical assistant may administer injectable medication.