Being a medical assistant opens up many professional avenues, and one of the most exciting turns out to be in education. After all, someone has to teach medical assistants how to do their jobs, right? Colleges and technical schools all over the country are hiring instructors to lead classes designed to train students to enter the medical assisting field. And with the expected rapid growth of medical assistant jobs, there will naturally be a rapid growth in the need for medical assistant teachers.
It’s easy to see the appeal of a position in medical assistant instruction. The classroom setting offers a refreshing change of pace from the sometimes hectic atmosphere of a doctor’s office or hospital. Teaching also provides a greater sense of independence, as instructors work apart from colleagues and supervisors for long stretches while leading classes, developing lesson plans and grading papers. And last but certainly not least, medical assistant educators earn significantly more than medical assistants themselves. According to a 2012 American Association of Medical Assistants survey, 88% of MA teachers are paid an annual salary, compared to only 5% of medical assistants, and they earn nearly twice as much on average: $26,527 for (non-certified) MAs versus $50,105 for MA instructors.
So, how do you become a medical assistant instructor? Well, first, you have to become a medical assistant. Generally, you must have three to five years of on-the-job experience in order to become a teacher in the field. You need this time to develop the depth of knowledge — both clinical and clerical — necessary to prepare students for a career in medical assisting. Experience as an instructor, even on a non-paid basis, is a big plus that will give you a leg up on the competition for the job. Consider applying for a part-time teaching/substitute gig to gain experience if there are no full-time positions available, and keep in mind that entry-level jobs may have you teaching via the Internet for online schools. The experience is invaluable to help get you accustomed to the workload, the public speaking and the need for self-discipline that comes with the job.
Another step to becoming a medical assistant educator is to further your own education. If you haven’t become a certified MA, do so; this will make your more employable. If you can get a teaching certification also, all the better; this can help you hone your communication and organizational skills. Although becoming a medical assistant typically requires at most a two-year associate’s degree — more likely a one-year diploma or certificate — some MA instructor positions may require a four-year bachelor’s degree, so keep that in mind as a possibility.
All in all, with a little demonstrated skill, knowledge and experience, you could one day find yourself training the next generation of medial assistants.
(Source: American Association of Medical Assistants)