Medical Assistant Schools & Salaries in Tennessee

Employment Trends & Certifications Available

Doctors and other medical professionals in Tennessee are increasingly reliant on medical assistants to keep their offices running efficiently. Over the next decade, this trend is expected to continue, with over 28 percent growth predicted. Tennessee is host to a number of schools that offer training programs at a variety of levels, and some accredited programs prepare students to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam or other certification exams. Read on to find out more about certifications, schools, and salary information for medical assistants in Tennessee.

Tennessee Medical Assisting School Listings

Tennessee College of Applied Technology-McMinnville

  • In-State Tuition N/A
  • Student Population
  • Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid 91%
  • Number of Students per Instructor 21

Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville

  • In-State Tuition N/A
  • Student Population
  • Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid 48%
  • Number of Students per Instructor 13

Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Ripley

  • In-State Tuition N/A
  • Student Population
  • Percentage of Students Receiving Financial Aid 66%
  • Number of Students per Instructor 12

Certification & Training Requirements for Medical Assistants in Tennessee

1 How does Tennessee define “medical assistant?”

Medical assistants are considered unlicensed assistive personnel. The use of medical assistants is most often found in ambulatory medical settings.

2 Is certification required?

No. However, as Tennessee law allows delegation of tasks only to unlicensed personnel with demonstrated ability and training. Therefore, employers often prefer hiring certified medical assistants.

3 What certification is available?

The American Association of Medical Assistants offers the most commonly recognized and accepted credential, Certified Medical Assistant or CMA. CMA candidates must be recent graduates of medical assisting programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). Below is a list of nationally recognized credentialing agencies.

 
Agency
American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
American Medical Technologists (AMT)
American Registry of Medical Assistants (ARMA)
National Center for Competency Testing
National Healthcareer Association

Is a formal education and/or training required?

While formal education and training is not required to practice in Tennessee, many employers strongly prefer to hire certified medical assistants because their liability insurance may require it. 4 5 Are there additional requirements?

Many employers require a background check, current immunizations, CPR training, a physical and drug screening.

Are there tasks outside the scope of medical assistants in Tennessee?

Tennessee law is essentially silent on the delegation of clinical tasks to medical assistants except to say that it is allowed under the supervision of a licensed physician and that the medical assistant needs to have a demonstrated ability to perform the requested task. For example, if medical assistants do not have training in administering medication, including injections and dosing, it is prohibited. As a rule of thumb, anything that constitutes the practice of medicine and requires assessment or medical judgment is reserved for licensed practitioners-registered nurses or physicians. 6

Salaries for Medical Assistants in Tennessee

Compare hourly and annual wages for medical assistants in Tennessee with national averages.

 Annual Wage
25th percentile
Annual Wage
Median
Annual Wage
75th percentile
Hourly Wage
Median
Tennessee$24,300$28,050$32,890$13.48
National$25,500$29,960$36,070$14.41

Source: BLS, 2014

Tennessee Medical Assistant Salaries: City and Metropolitan Area Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants earn more in metropolitan areas of Tennessee than in non-metropolitan areas. The highest wages in the state can be found in the area of Nashville, Davidson, and Murfreesboro. Here is a sampling of other metropolitan areas.

     
AreaAnnual Wage
25th percentile
Annual Wage
Median
Annual Wage
75th percentile
Hourly Wage
Median
Chattanooga, TN$24,060$27,330$30,480$13.14
Cleveland, TN$24,430$27,020$29,540$12.99
Jackson, TN$21,030$24,440$29,810$11.75
Knoxville, TN$24,850$28,180$32,410$13.55
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro, TN$26,930$30,840$36,270$14.83

Source: BLS, 2014

Tennessee Medical Assisting Employments Trends

Projections Central estimates 28.3 percent job growth for medical assistants in Tennessee through the next decade. That translates to nearly 4,000 new jobs created.

Medical Assistant Estimated Employment Growth 2012-2022

 Average Annual
Openings
Current
Employment
Projected
Employment 2022
Jobs
Added
Growth
Rate
Tennessee64013,44017,2403,80028.3%
National26,990560,800723,700162,90029%

*Source: Projections Central, 2012-2022

Tennessee Medical Assisting Schools Spotlight

When choosing a school, it’s important to find a program that fits your needs-whether that means flexible scheduling or strong student support. Look for a program that is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs or Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools. And, find out if the program will prepare you to sit for a certification exam. Here are a few accredited schools to get your search for the right school started off on the right foot.

Chattanooga State Community College

School Type:

Community college

Accreditation:

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

School highlights:

Day and evening classes offered

Program designed to take 12 months to complete

Program includes externship in addition to courses in laboratory procedures

State of Tennessee reports 100% job placement for graduates

Programs offered:

Medical assisting certificate

Chattanooga State Community College, The Baroness Erlanger School of Medical Assisting

Cleveland State Community College

School Type:

Community college

Accreditation:

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs

School highlights:

Medical Office Clerk Option and Medical Office Concentration, A.A.S. programs are designed for ‘front office’ administrative positions rather than clinical positions

Graduates of the Medical Assistant Concentration, A.A.S. will be prepared to sit for the CMA exam

Medical Assistant Concentration includes training in performing medical tests, injections, and venipuncture

Programs offered:

Medical Assistant Concentration: Office Administration, Associate of Applied Science

Medical Office Concentration: Office Administration, Associate of Applied Science

Medical Office Clerk Option: Office Administration, Technical Certificate

Cleveland State Community College

Tennessee Medical Assistant Resources

American Association of Medical Assistants

The AAMA provides continuing education, advocacy, and credentialing for medical assistants-specifically the certified medical assistant (CMA) exam.

Tennessee Society of Medical Assistants’ Health Care Information Portal

A web portal that provides news, links, event information and information on local chapters of the Tennessee Society of Medical Assistants.

Tennessee Medical Association

The TMA is an education and advocacy organization for health care professionals and holds the annual MedTenn conference for physicians and medical professionals.

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