Juliet Jaye’s Answer
I'm in NJ and a CMA is classified as a Certified Medical Assistant. Here we have a 2 month course for CMA or a 6 month course for CMA or RMA/Administrative Assistant with Medical Coding and Microsoft Office. I took the 6 month course since I'm much older and needed the computer experience as well.
To explain the difference of RMA and CMA, you need to get 100 blood draw sticks as opposed to 35 (if I remember correctly), plus you had to take the 6 month course. The addition of the 6 month course can also prepare you to basically run a doctor's office successfully. I chose to take a Critical Care Technician in a hospital. This is very different than a doctor's office. My hospital is in a low income city area, so we get a lot of different diseases compounded by poverty. As a Critical Care Technician, you're expected to take vital signs when needed, blood sugars, EKG'S, bloodwork, change patient's bedding and clothing, daily patient hygiene, specimen collection, empty catheters and wound drains, assist the nurses as needed, and make sure the patient is well taken care of. It's a lot and you have to go in every day with your problems left outside the door. You're there to take care of them, PERIOD! My roommate was a CMA in a doctor's office where she was expected to gather patient's information for the doctor, collect patient from waiting room and put them into an exam room, take down their immediate complaint and vital signs and enter them into computer, perform doctor's orders, such as EKG'S, bloodwork, specimen collection, and provide patient with any discharge papers. Also, perform follow up calls, and take prescription refill orders. Again, very busy work taking care of patients needs. Hope that gives a picture of some of the things you can do with a CMA.
Juliet Jaye recommends the following next steps:
- Find an accredited medical career institute. Review the courses, the hours available and the certifications offered. Inquire about cost and any financial aid available. Keep in mind you will need to have a certificate in BLS/CPR. Many schools do not have this on site so find out if they do and if not, where is this available to you.