Training, Certification Requirements & Earnings
Medical assistants in Mississippi can work with a long list of potential tasks, due to the fact that the state does not regulate medical assistants or define a scope of practice. Medical assistants might find work in a variety of settings, but will most likely find the highest number of openings in the offices of physicians. Whether the medical assistant chooses to help run the office through the front desk or works in the back office dealing with patients' medical care, the appropriate training can be found in the Magnolia State. This guide focuses not only on those training opportunities, but on what graduates can expect from employment trends and salary options as well.
- Best Medical Assisting Schools in Mississippi
- Mississippi's State Certification Requirements
- Medical Assistant Salaries in Mississippi
- Mississippi's Medical Assisting Career Trends
- School Spotlights in Mississippi
- More Resources
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Top Colleges for Medical Assisting: Mississippi
To be considered for this ranking, schools were required to meet the following criteria:
- Accredited at the institutional level
- Private nonprofit or public school
- Minimum of 1 bachelor’s or master’s degree in subject area for 4-year schools
- Minimum of 1 associate degree or certificate program in subject area for 2-year schools
Schools were then scored on factors such as:
- Cost & Financial Aid
- Number and variety of program offerings
- Student-teacher ratios
- Graduation rates (4-year schools only)
- Placement and support services offered
- Academic/Career counseling services
- Employment services
- Loan default rates
These factors were assembled for each school and rated using a peer-based-value (PBV) calculation. PBV compares the cost of a program to the cost of other programs with the same (or similar) qualitative score and cost. PBV denotes the overall value or "bang for your buck" of a college or degree program.
Health care is a growing field, one with a wide range of options when you start as a medical assistant. This is a great opportunity if you enjoy organizing records and working directly with both patients and medical professionals. But you need to find the right program; one that offers small class sizes, quality career assistance, guidance options and that’s ranked high by current and former students. We looked at those factors and more to bring you our list of Top Colleges for Medical Assisting in 2017 for Mississippi.
People interested in medical assisting technology can receive postsecondary classroom training in the field at Hinds Community College. The college's Associate of Applied Science in Medical Assisting Technology is a two year program that combines medical, clinical and administrative components. Inside the classroom, students learn through research, readings, class discussions and lectures. Students also complete an unpaid practicum or internship at an approved ambulatory healthcare facility. After finishing the practicum, students can sit for the medical assisting national certification exam. Accreditation for the college's associate degree program is granted by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education. Passing college entrance exam scores are needed to get into the program.
After graduating with a medical assistant certificate or an associate's degree from Northeast Mississippi Community College, adults could offer their services as part of a health care delivery team. Specific clinical functions that graduates may perform depend on laws in the state that graduates work in and the needs of the healthcare teams that graduates work on. Required program prerequisites include physiology and anatomy. It generally takes two semesters to complete the classroom portion of the certificate curriculum. Another two semesters are needed to earn the associate's degree. Another component of the training is a practicum.
Students work alongside their classmates and instructors as they strive to complete the curriculum at Meridian Community College that leads to a medical assisting technology associate's degree. At least 12 credit hours of the training must be completed on a full-time basis. Prerequisites are in physiology and anatomy. During the three semester program, students learn about subjects like medical business practices, medical lab for medical assisting, medical law and ethics and clinical procedures. With prerequisites included, the program consist of about 65 credits. Minimum college entrance exam scores and a 2.0 GPA are needed to start classes.
Mississippi Medical Assistant Certification & Scope of Practice
1.How does Mississippi define medical assisting?
Mississippi does not specifically define what a medical assistant is, beyond considering them an allied health professional. The state does recognize that medical assistants can handle numerous tasks under the supervision of a physician, and that it is unlawful for a medical assistant to describe themselves as a physician, physician's assistant or nurse.
2.Is certification required?
The state of Mississippi does not have any regulations regarding medical assistants beyond the rules of what a physician can delegate. This means the state does not require certification. However, many employers do. In a competitive job market, it could pay for a medical assistant to earn certification, as it might make them stand out from the crowd of applicants.
3.Is certification available?
Those who want to work as medical assistants in Mississippi and prefer to earn certification can do so through one of the following organizations:
- American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- National Certification Career Association (NCCA)
4.Is formal education and training required?
Mississippi does not require formal training for medical assistants. However, graduation from an approved training program is required if a medical assistant wants to become certified.
5.Are there additional requirements?
Those who work as medical assistants must follow certain guidelines while on the job. These include:
- Never describing themselves as a physician, physician's assistant or nurse
- Wearing a nametag, placard or plate at all times they are on duty, identifying them as a medical assistant
6.Are there tasks outside the scope of medical assistants in Mississippi?
Though the law in Mississippi gives wide latitude to medical assistants and what tasks they can undertake, physicians must adhere to state law concerning what can be delegated to medical assistants. The only specific guidelines are as follows:
- A medical assistant shall never be delegated a task that falls outside the realm of their training or education.
- The medical assistant must be under direct supervision at all times.
- The medical assistant cannot be delegated a task that requires a license. For instance, medical assistants cannot write prescriptions, as that is only under the auspices of a medical doctor.
Salaries for Medical Assistants in Mississippi
The wage for medical assistants varies from one state to another; in Mississippi, the annual median wage tends to be lower than that of medical assistants nationwide. The following table offers in-depth information on medical assisting salaries.
Source: BLS, 2014
Mississippi City and Metropolitan Area Salaries
Within the state, salaries for medical assistants can vary widely, depending upon the geographical location. Typically, those areas near large cities will offer the highest wages; for instance, those working in or near Jackson, MS are likely to see higher wages than those working in non-metropolitan areas. The following chart breaks down the median wages throughout the state.
|Northeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area||$22,810||$26,420||$29,700||$12.70|
|Northwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area||$20,120||$22,270||$24,520||$10.71|
|Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area||$19,520||$22,360||$26,300||$10.75|
|Southwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area||$21,060||$23,260||$27,450||$11.18|
Source: BLS, 2014
Job Growth Trends in Mississippi Medical Assisting
Employment of medical assistants is growing across the nation, and Mississippi is no exception. Those in Mississippi can expect to see over 21 percent employment growth from 2012 to 2022 in the field of medical assisting; the chart below offers more insight.
Medical Assistant Estimated Employment Growth 2012-2022
*Source: Projections Central, 2012-2022
Spotlight School: Mississippi Medical Assisting
There are several schools in Mississippi that offers an accredited program in medical assisting at the certificate, diploma or associate's degree level. Learn what this spotlighted school offers its medical assisting students.
NORTHEAST MISSISSIPPI COMMUNITY COLLEGE
School Type:Public College
School highlights:In addition to being able to get either a certificate or associate's degree in medical assisting, students can eventually get a bachelor's degree using credits obtained in their medical assisting program. Graduates will be ready to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant certification exam.
Programs offered:The college offers an associate's degree and a certificate in medical assisting. The certificate program takes 11 months to complete and consists of 44 credits, while the associate's degree consists of 69 credits and requires about two years of study.
Mississippi Medical Assistant Resources
American Association of Medical Assistants
One of the most popular and widespread medical assistant certifications is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) certification, which is administered by the AAMA. The AAMA is also involved in medical assisting education and professional development.
Medical Assurance Company of Mississippi
This document discusses scope of practice for medical assistants in Mississippi.
Mississippi Board of Medical Licensure - Policies
The official board of licensure policies that delineate the scope of tasks a physician may delegate to medical assistants.
National Center for Competency Testing
The NCCT runs the examination that results in the National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) certification. The NCMA medical assisting certification is one of a handful of medical assisting certifications that are recognized by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.