Medical assisting is one of the most popular entry-level jobs in healthcare. The pay is good, the demand is high, and most importantly, Medical Assistants have a direct impact on the quality of care provided to patients in a variety of different healthcare settings. From performing administrative duties like managing billing and updating medical records to more clinical work like drawing blood or changing dressings, they help ensure facilities are providing a superior patient experience.
However, if you’re hoping to move beyond the Medical Assistant path, seeking new certifications starts to make a lot of sense. While medical assisting is a rewarding career path all its own, for many it’s a stepping stone to other healthcare industry jobs that offer more responsibility and pay. Today we’ll discuss two specific certifications that give Medical Assistants the potential to take their healthcare careers to the next level.
Option 1: Phlebotomy Technician Certification
A Certified Phlebotomy Technician’s (CPT) main duty is to collect blood and non-blood samples for testing. These patient tests are critical since they are used to diagnose illnesses, evaluate the effectiveness of medications, and determine proper nutrition. Much like in the Medical Assistant role, CPTs need to have finely honed people skills since they’ll often be communicating with patients and donors.
The additional duties a CPT performs daily are:
Verifying the patient’s identity to ensure proper labeling of specimens
Entering accurate patient information into a database
Keeping a clean, sanitary, and safe work environment (to avoid infection/contamination)
Assembling and maintaining equipment like needles and specimen containers
CPTs (like Medical Assistants) are found in every healthcare environment imaginable: labs, hospitals, nursing homes, physician’s offices, blood donation centers, and more. A Medical Assistant with phlebotomy skills would be even more valuable to their current employer and have new career opportunities.
Option 2: Certified EKG Technicians (CETs)
As you can guess, Certified EKG Technicians (CETs) take care of EKG testing for patients. EKG are crucial tests that discover the kinds of heart irregularities that can lead to heart attacks or heart disease. Though handling EKGs is a CET’s main responsibility, they also communicate procedures to patients, monitor blood pressure, and more.
The additional duties a CET performs daily are:
Managing EKG setup and performance
Preparing patients for Holter or ambulatory monitoring and stress tests
Recognizing cardiac rhythms
Reporting to physicians
Much like with phlebotomy, having a certification as an EKG Technician is a perfect match for someone in the Medical Assistant role. And once again, being able to handle these EKG duties provides incredible job security within your organization.
Option 3: Cardio-Phlebotomy Technician
At the top we said two options...and that’s technically still the case since there are programs designed for you to get certified as a CPT and CET at the same time. Cardio-Phlebotomy Technicians perform all of the duties we listed above in options one and two. So if you’re ambitious about moving up in your career, then this is certainly a path worth considering.
With your experience as a Medical Assistant, and with dual certifications, you’re an even more attractive candidate for prospective employers. And one of the greatest advantages of being a “dual-threat” is the potential for an increase in salary. Because as a Medical Assistant, serving as either a CPT or CET makes you an important member of any healthcare team. But being dually certified, there are quite a few unique job opportunities available, ranging from Cardiovascular Technician to Medical Laboratory Technician to Emergency Room/Department Technician.
The Next Step: Choose Your Certification Provider
If you’re a Medical Assistant looking to advance your career, hopefully, these certifications have piqued your interest. Once you’ve decided to get certified, the next step is determining which certification program suits your needs (and lifestyle) best. At MedCerts all of our training programs are online, which is typically easier to manage for those already working part- or full-time. We also provide our students with the following:
Textbooks (printed and ebook)
National Certification exam fees
Whether you’re an experienced Medical Assistant looking to expand your marketability and upgrade your salary, or you’re just looking to start a brand new career in healthcare, the certifications we’ve discussed today can serve as the ideal stepping stones. No matter which role you prefer (and especially if it ends up being all three), you’ll be working hands-on with patients and having a significant impact on their quality of life.
To enroll in one of MedCerts’ healthcare certification programs, the first step is filling out our Student Application.