Table of Contents
- 1 How to Become a Medical Assistant in Washington
- 2 Step 1. Learn About Medical Assistant Career Paths in Washington
- 3 Step 2. Become a Qualified Medical Assistant
- 4 Step 3. Apply for a Washington Medical Assistant License
- 5 Step 4. Maintain Your Medical Assistant License in Washington
- 6 The Best Medical Assisting Schools in Washington
- 7 Medical Assisting Salaries in Washington
How to Become a Medical Assistant in Washington
Too often in life, we need guidance.
Whether be it spiritual, social or economical.
We need someone to show us the right way to achieve or do things.
But guidance may come from many sources.
It may be a book, a piece of advice from a friend, or similar.
This time, it will be from an ARTICLE!
First and foremost, becoming a medical assistant in Washington is not something you do within a night.
Practically, you need a license from the main institution in the state.
In Washington, this institution is the Department of Health.
However, to successfully achieve this, you need a guide.
This guide so far will be given to you in three main steps:
- Learn About Medical Assistant Career Paths in Washington
- Become a Qualified Medical Assistant
- Apply for a Washington Medical Assistant License
- Maintain Your Medical Assistant License in Washington
The Department of Health in Washington has set certain rules for medical assistants.
Initially, the Department requires a license and a practice definition area.
Honestly, this is so useful.
Since when we define things, we can easily dissipate them in parts and finish them.
So, Washington law defines four different types of medical assistants.
Each of them has unique licensing requirements.
• Medical Assistant – Certified
• Medical Assistant – Registered
• Medical Assistant – Hemodialysis Technician
• Medical Assistant – Phlebotomist
If we take a look at the number of medical assistants throughout the state, we will see there are nearly 14,040 licensed medical assistants.
They are all offering their medical services to the residents in the state.
For these individuals, there is no restriction of the workplace where they can offer their valuable services into.
That stays eligible as long as they offer health services of course.
However, if we consider their place concentration, we will see the majority of them in the following areas:
• 7,360 in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue region
• 6,320 in the Seattle-Bellevue-Everett metropolitan area
• 4,880 in the Vancouver-Portland metropolitan area
• 1,190 in Spokane
• 1,040 in the Tacoma metro area
• 540 in the Tri-Cities Kennewick-Pasco-Richland area
• 500 in the Bremerton-Silverdale area
• 490 in Yakima
• 430 in Olympia
Step 1. Learn About Medical Assistant Career Paths in Washington
Washington State Department of Health has recognized four licensing requirements for medical assistants.
These licenses will be given in detail in this article.
Let’s have a look at the first one.
Medical Assistant – Certified
Becoming a Medical Assistant-Certified candidate in Washington is possible by going through two ways:
In particular, it is important to meet this one requirement first:
• Graduate from a medical assisting training program that is accredited by either:
o Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
o Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES)
• Graduate from a college or university that is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency approved by the US Department of Education. This program must be comprised of at least 720 hours of medical assistant training, including at least 160 hours in a clinical externship.
• Graduate from an apprentice program that is approved by the state
• Complete at least 720 hours of medical assistant college education
• Earn an equivalent amount of military training that is related to medical assisting
Eventually, you must also pass one of the following certification exams offered through a national accrediting organization:
• Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Exam
• Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Exam
• Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) Exam
• National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) Exam
Meeting these requirements without the exam is permitted as well.
In fact, you are this way allowed to apply for temporary interim certification.
This type of certification will be a means for you to practice medical assisting as the exam time approaches.
Medical Assistant – Registered
Becoming a Medical Assistant–Registered is easier than being Certified.
But the limitation of this title is that it limits job opportunities.
For this title, you need to fill a Healthcare Practitioner Endorsement document.
This document notes what kind of tasks will be on your responsibility.
You are only allowed to work for an employer who has agreed to fill out this form on your behalf.
Before receiving the license for the Medical Assistant Registered, as a candidate, you need to make seven AIDS training and education hours.
Medical Assistant – Hemodialysis Technician
Education is the main component you need to become a Medical Assistant–Hemodialysis Technician in Washington.
To receive a license in this area, you will need to meet one of the following requirements for sure:
• Complete a hemodialysis program that:
o Is approved by your employer’s medical director and governing members
o Is under the direction of a nurse
o Is focused on kidney dialysis machines and equipment
o Provides direct patient care including sensitivity training
• Earn a national credential as a hemodialysis technician that includes the study of:
o Principles of dialysis and fluid management
o Caring for patients with kidney failure
o Dialysis documentation and procedures
o Laboratory testing procedures and critical alert values
o Dialysis emergencies and other complications arising from dialysis
o Safety and infection control
o Dialysis medication use and side effects
• Complete an equivalent training program or experience as part of the US military
Before approval of the license, you need to also prove knowledge of other skills such as basic math skills, CPR certification as well as completion of seven AIDS training hours.
Medical Assistant – Phlebotomist
This licensing has also its own requirements to meet.
Normally, you will need to have seven hours of AIDS training and also meet one of the following education requirements:
• Complete a college or university phlebotomy training program that is regionally accredited or accredited by an institution approved by the US Department of Education
• Complete a phlebotomy training program that is approved by your employer
• Have an equivalent training or education through the US military
Step 2. Become a Qualified Medical Assistant
To be able to do any type of medical assisting job in Washington, it is a must to have a solid education in general.
Luckily, the state has several schools in the field, in which you can pursue an associate degree or certificate.
Whichever degree you choose, the courses you attend will cover these areas:
• Medical assistant terminology
• Medical assistant emergency procedures
• Anatomy and physiology
• Medical assistant clinical and administrative procedures
• Medical insurance billing and coding
• Software applications and medical assistant computer operations
• Medical assistant practicum, internship, or externship
National Certification (Required for Becoming a Medical Assistant – Certified)
To become a Medical Assistant–Certified requires passing one of the following national exams:
• Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) Exam – this is sponsored by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To be eligible for the CMA Exam you must complete a medical assistant certification program that is accredited by either CAAHEP or ABHES.
• Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Exam – this exam is sponsored by the American Medical Technologists (AMT). There are a number of paths to eligibility to take the RMA Exam.
• Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) Exam – this exam is sponsored by the National Healthcareer Association.
• National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) Exam – the NCMA Exam is sponsored by the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT) and there are several routes to become eligible to take this exam.
Universal Minimum Requirements
There are some universal minimum requirements to meet as far as these licenses are concerned.
In the long run, all prospective medical assistants must show a number of factors that may affect whether they will be given a license or not.
These factors are:
• Any physical or mental health issues
• History of substance and chemical abuse
• Any previous instances where you have lost a license
• Any pending professional liability claims or past disciplinary action
• Any previous felony convictions
You will also need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent and be fluent in the English language.
Step 3. Apply for a Washington Medical Assistant License
By the end of the process of meeting the preferred type of medical assistant license requirements, as a candidate, you need to submit an application to the Washington State Department of Health.
You can send one of the following:
• Medical Assistant –Certified or Interim Application
• Medical Assistant-Registered
• Medical Assistant-Hemodialysis Technician Application
• Medical Assistant-Phlebotomist
It should be mentioned that the Washington Department of Health is expanding its online webpage, and consequently its application for the license as well.
Currently, it is possible to apply online for the Medical Assistant-Registered license.
Along with the application form, proof of education and other requirements is also necessary to submit.
As for the official transcripts submission, you need to tell the school in which you have finished a medical assistant degree as well.
The application is ready to send to the Department of Health.
Step 4. Maintain Your Medical Assistant License in Washington
They say: ”When you take care of things, they last”.
Similarly, medical assistant licenses expire every two years.
The exact expiration date is the birthday of the candidate.
The renewal can be done online, through the mail or in person.
In-person, you can go to the Department of Health Office, which is located at Town Center 2, 111 Israel Rd SE, Tumwater, WA 98501
Making progress in medical assisting education is a goal to pursue.
In this process, you can do so through a bachelor’s degree in medical sciences.
This degree is crucial to more career opportunities both in terms of more advanced degrees as well as better job positions in the state.
Medical assistants with education can progress through a career ladder that includes:
• Nursing assistant
• Registered nurse
• Physician assistant
• Nurse practitioner
You will find resources through professional organizations like the Washington State Society of Medical Assistants (WSSMA).
The Best Medical Assisting Schools in Washington
There are 30 Medical Assisting schools across Washington.
In them, you will be able to attend bachelor and associate degrees.
An important factor for a good school is always accreditation.
So, that should be a top priority to you as an aspiring student in the field.
School Name Address Big Bend Community College Moses Lake, WA Centralia College Centralia, WA Clark College Vancouver, WA Clover Park Technical College Lakewood, WA Columbia Basin College Pasco, WA Everest College-Bremerton Bremerton, WA Everest College-Everett Everett, WA Everest College-Renton Renton, WA Everest College-Seattle Seattle, WA Everest College-Tacoma Tacoma, WA Everest College-Vancouver Vancouver, WA Everett Community College Everett, WA Highline College Des Moines, WA ITT Technical Institute-Spokane Valley Spokane Valley, WA Lake Washington Institute of Technology Kirkland, WA Lower Columbia College Longview, WA North Seattle College Seattle, WA Olympic College Bremerton, WA Peninsula College Port Angeles, WA Pima Medical Institute-Renton Renton, WA Pima Medical Institute-Seattle Seattle, WA Renton Technical College Renton, WA Seattle Vocational Institute Seattle, WA Skagit Valley College Mount Vernon, WA South Puget Sound Community College Olympia, WA Spokane Community College Spokane, WA Walla Walla Community College Walla Walla, WA Wenatchee Valley College Wenatchee, WA Whatcom Community College Bellingham, WA Yakima Valley Community College Yakima, WA
Medical Assisting Salaries in Washington
The salary layer in medical assisting in Washington is changing.
This change goes from a minimum to a maximum.
But an average is always constant.
Annual Salary Range:
Annual Salary by Location:
Location Avg. Annual Salary Seattle $39,088 Spokane $35,443 Tacoma $38,090 Vancouver $37,249 Bellevue $39,088 Everett $38,230 Federal Way $38,090 Kent $38,014 Yakima $35,364 Bellingham $36,479