Table of Contents
- 1 How to Become a Medical Assistant in Tennessee
- 2 Popular Programs
- 3 Step 1. Develop Your Qualifications Through Education and Certification
- 4 Step 2. Pursue a Medical Assistant Job in Tennessee
- 5 Step 3. Maintain Your Tennessee Medical Assistant Qualifications
- 6 The Best Medical Assisting Schools in Tennessee
- 7 Medical Assisting Salaries in Tennessee
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Tennessee
For everything in life, there’s a pathway we need to take to get there.
As far as medical assisting in Tennessee is concerned, we need some kind of qualification to practice the profession freely.
In this state, there are two requirements to meet to become a medical assistant.
One of them is to fulfill the legal requirements.
And the second is to meet the preferences of the employer who hires you.
But being more practical, the whole procedure can be simplified into three steps:
- Develop Your Qualification Through Education and Certification
- Pursue a Medical Assistant Job in Tennessee
- Maintain Your Tennessee Medical Assistant Qualifications
Some of the regulations that stand in terms of medical assistants in Tennessee are three.
It’s employment age, criminal background check, and the legal issues to work in the USA.
These regulations are set by the state itself.
But even if they were not set properly, that would not make medical assistants unqualified and unskilled for work.
It can easily be the opposite.
This happens thanks to the employers who set their own employment requirements when hiring a candidate in the field.
These requirements are as follows:
- Graduation from an accredited medical assistant training program (diploma or certificate)
- Graduation with a medical assistant degree at the associate’s of science level
- Completion of a medical assistant certification program that confers credentials such as:
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
- Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA)
These requirements stand for each employer differently.
However, the above requirements are the most common ones employers set in Tennessee.
To have a better idea about them, anyway, let’s go through them in detail.
Step 1. Develop Your Qualifications Through Education and Certification
Through education in medical assisting, in Tennessee, a student may get a CMA, RMA or NRCM credential.
He or she can get them by attending a certificate or associate degree program in any of the schools there.
The schools, of course, need to be accredited from any of these organizations that function in the state:
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
You can expect to study the following subject areas as you complete a medical assisting academic program:
- Medical assistant laboratory procedures
- Electronic medical assistant administrative procedures
- Medical terminology
- Medical or insurance billing and coding
- Medical assistant clinical procedures
- Electronic patient health record
- Software applications and computer skills for medical assistants
- Communications with health care professionals
- Practicum or internship
Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)
The first credential to spend some time with is the CMA credential.
This is sponsored through the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
A candidate will receive this credential by sitting for and passing the Certified Medical Assistant Exam first.
The exam can be taken only after graduation from a medical assistant program in the state.
The program can be of different types of degrees.
It can be a diploma, a certificate or an associate degree.
The programs also need to be accredited from one of the two accrediting bodies in Tennessee.
These organizations are either CAAHEP or ABHES.
To take the exam, one needs to apply online.
While the exam is usually held at Prometric testing centers in the state:
- In Nashville at 1410 Donelson Pike, Suite A-11
- In Clarksville at 220 Forbes Avenue, Suite B
- In Chattanooga at 4295 Cromwell Road, Suite 309
- In Knoxville at 215 Center Park Drive, Suite 700
- In Cordova near Memphis at 8176 Old Dexter Road, Suite 101
The CMA Exam is made up of 200 multiple-choice questions.
The time limit for this exam is 160 minutes.
Subjects covered on the exam include:
- General subjects
- Psychology and communication
- Professionalism and medical ethics
- Medical law and regulatory guidelines
- Quality assurance, safety, and risk management
- Medical terminology
- Administrative subjects
- Medical reception and appointment scheduling
- Patient advocate and navigator
- Medical business practices and practice finances
- Establishing a patient’s medical record
- Clinical subjects
- Anatomy and physiology
- Documentation of care and patient intake
- Infection control, nutrition, and pharmacology
- Assisting the provider and patient preparation
- Diagnostic testing
- Processing and collecting specimens
- Emergency management and first aid
Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)
The second credential to earn in Tennessee is the RMA credential.
This type of credential I usually was given from the American Medical Technologists (AMT).
But what is interesting for this credential is that you can earn it in the condition you’ve earned the CMA previously.
Nationally Registered Certified Medical Assistant (NRCMA)
NRCMA is another credential a medical assistant can apply for in Tennessee.
This credential can be acquired through the National Association by Health Professionals (NAHP).
Being eligible for this credential is the same as for the CMA.
The NRCMA can also be taken through the exam.
To do this you will need to fill out an application for the exam and follow the instructions you receive from the NAHP.
Step 2. Pursue a Medical Assistant Job in Tennessee
The way to a medical assisting job in Tennessee is not so difficult.
One way to find a job in this field there is to earn several certifications from associations recognized from the state.
While the other way is to increase academic credentials.
In addition, a candidate may also complete college courses, continuing education, or gain renewal credits for national credentials, as well as acquiring a more advanced degree in medical sciences.
All of these together can improve one’s qualifications to a huge extent.
Having a bachelor’s degree in the medical sciences field with a focus in medical assisting can also qualify you for higher-level positions.
However, research is a good way to get access to more job opportunities in the field.
For instance, as you research the medical assistant field in Tennessee, you may find helpful resources with professional organizations.
One of these can be the Tennessee Society of Medical Assistants (TNSMA).
This association’s function is to provide a medical assistant with useful information regarding employment, national certification as a medical assistant, and opportunities for continuing education in Tennessee.
Currently, there are 13,860 medical assistants working throughout the state.
They are mainly concentrated in the following areas:
- 2,520 in the greater Memphis metropolitan area
- 1,730 in the Chattanooga area
- 1,700 in Knoxville
- 630 in the Kingsport-Bristol area
- 440 in Jackson
- 390 in Johnson City
- 230 in the Clarksville area
- 230 in Cleveland
- 210 in Morristown
A sampling of recent job announcements throughout Tennessee specified the following qualifications and preferences:
- The Shelbyville Clinic recently posted a job announcement seeking a medical assistant with at least a high school diploma and a medical assistant certification.
- Southwind Medical Specialists in Memphis recently posted an advertisement seeking a medical assistant who was either a graduate of a medical assistant school or had equivalent job experience. Preferred qualifications included an RMA or CMA credential.
- A medical assistant job at the Chattanooga Memorial Hospital was recently posted seeking a candidate who could meet one of the following minimum qualifications:
- Medical assistant associate’s degree from an accredited college
- 5 years of work experience
- Candidates with a CMA credential receive preferential consideration
- The Maury County Clinic in Columbia was recently seeking a medical assistant who had at minimum a high school diploma, and who was preferred to be a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).
- American Family Care in Hendersonville was recently seeking a medical assistant who had an associate’s degree, at least six months of experience and training, or a combination of equivalent education and experience.
Step 3. Maintain Your Tennessee Medical Assistant Qualifications
Maintenance requirements are usually set from the employers in Tennessee.
For more, you can always find them in each medical assistant’s job description.
Maintaining common professional medical assistant certifications will require the following:
- CMA – a CMA credential is valid for 60 months. To renew this you can either retake the CMA Exam or earn 60 re-certification points based on the following criteria:
- A minimum of 10 points relating to administrative duties
- A minimum of 10 points relating to clinical duties
- A minimum of 10 points relating to general duties
- A minimum of 30 points from AAMA-approved continuing units
- RMA – to maintain an RMA you need to pay an annual $50 renewal fee and earn 30 Certification Continuing Program (CCP) points every three years
- NRCMA – to maintain the NRCMA you must meet the following obligations starting after one year:
- Maintain a current CPR card
- Complete at least two A-class Continuing Education Units (CEUs) each year
- Pay a yearly membership fee to the NAHP
The Best Medical Assisting Schools in Tennessee
You can go to Tennessee for many interests.
But if you go for medical assisting, you’re sure to find solutions.
And when I say a solution, I mean education and employment.
Education in this state begins with a medical assisting program.
These types of programs can be found in all schools throughout the state.
It is through such a program that you create the foundation of the entire medical assisting career.
School Name Address Chattanooga College Medical Dental and Technical Careers Chattanooga, TN Concorde Career College-Memphis Memphis, TN Daymar Institute-Clarksville Clarksville, TN Daymar Institute-Murfreesboro Murfreesboro, TN Daymar Institute-Nashville Nashville, TN Fortis Institute-Cookeville Cookeville, TN Fortis Institute-Nashville Nashville, TN Genesis Career College-Cookeville Cookeville, TN ITT Technical Institute-Nashville Nashville, TN Kaplan College-Nashville Nashville, TN Miller-Motte Technical College-Chattanooga Chattanooga, TN Miller-Motte Technical College-Clarksville Clarksville, TN Miller-Motte Technical College-Madison Madison, TN Nashville College of Medical Careers Madison, TN National College-Nashville Nashville, TN Remington College-Memphis Campus Memphis, TN Remington College-Nashville Campus Nashville, TN Ross Medical Education Center-Johnson City Johnson City, TN South College Knoxville, TN Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville Knoxville, TN Tennessee College of Applied Technology-McMinnville McMinnville, TN Vatterott College-Appling Farms Memphis, TN Vatterott College-Dividend Memphis, TN Virginia College-Knoxville Knoxville, TN Virginia College-School of Business and Health-Chattanooga Chattanooga, TN West Tennessee Business College Jackson, TN
Medical Assisting Salaries in Tennessee
Last but not least, comes the salary.
Of course, after hard work and dedication in the field, you will want to be rewarded financially.
Medical assisting salary in this field, however, changes constantly.
However, an optimal average is always there.
Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary Memphis $33,110 Nashville-Davidson $33,133 Knoxville $33,032 Chattanooga $32,213 Clarksville $32,117 Murfreesboro $32,883 Jackson $32,860 Johnson City $31,096 Kingsport $31,213 Franklin $33,016