Medical Assistant Career Outlook
Medical Assistant Career Outlook
Have you ever wondered what you wanted to be when you grew up? Maybe despite the fact that you are already an adult? I know that I have. Once upon a time (about 8 years ago) I was in a position where I had to decide if I was going to continue to work in jobs that wouldn’t pay me what I felt I was worth, or if I was going to take the leap, go back to school, and change my life.
What do I want to be when I grow up?
When you are choosing a new career in your thirties, as a newly single mother of two small children, it is no longer a matter of pursuing a dream of being a doctor or a lawyer or some other grandiose and prestigious career, but a more pragmatic approach to finding a career with longevity, something recession proof, and with the shortest time between classroom and paycheck. As a means of deciding between two possible paths (“eenie meenie minie mo” seemed too risky) I opened the newspaper to see which of the two had the most job openings. Back then, there were five jobs for medical assistants in the Star Tribune newspaper here in Minneapolis. Now we use the internet more than the newspaper to post and find jobs, but compared to the five medical assistant jobs that proved to me there was opportunity to be had, there are now, literally, hundreds of job postings in the Twin Cities for medical assistants—596 as of this week, according to a research consultant friend of mine. In fact, there are more jobs than there are students in school for medical assisting. Employers are starting to panic.
Good news or bad news?
The good news for those considering a career in medical assisting, is that this trend is going to continue. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists medical assisting as one of the occupations expected to see the fastest growth over the next decade. Employment opportunities in this field are expected to grow by at least 34% through 2018. That is higher than the rate of any other occupation! This is incredible news for those considering a career in medical assisting. Not only is healthcare recession-proof by nature, but this trend means that there will be jobs, and that there will be opportunities for rapid advancement for many years to come. There has never been a better time to train to be in the medical field!
The term baby boomers refers to those born during the post–World War II baby boom between the years 1946 and 1964. Those individuals are now between 51 and 70 years old in 2016. There are nearly 76 million baby boomers, or to put it more simply, they make up nearly one-third of the total population in the U.S. How does this affect opportunities in the medical field you ask? Well, two reasons. First, as people age, the complexity of their health issues increases. As this large portion of our population continues to age, there is continued demand for healthcare and thus for more healthcare professionals. Second, there is a vast number of healthcare professionals who are baby boomers! As a large portion of the most experienced doctors and nurses reach retirement age, we find ourselves with an insufficient number of students in school to replace them. Medical assistant programs.
You are in demand.
The staffing crisis in healthcare can definitely be a benefit for medical assistant students! I tell my students all the time that the only way to not have a job as a medical assistant is not to look for one. What is even better is that the medical assistant graduate is a real commodity. The students that I mentor are able to interview for multiple jobs, field offers, and choose the position that feels like the best fit of them. I teach my students how to conduct the interview. As a medical assistant you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you. In the end, the employer is the one who has to win you over, not the other way around as we are traditionally used to. It is a great position to be in, and a pretty great job as well. You can read all about that in my previous blog post Giving Back: Why I Love Being a Medical Assistant. Check back with me soon to read about choosing a medical assistant program.
Find out more about RCC’s Medical Assisting program.
Author: Tracey Stoeckel
Tracey Stoeckel is a certified medical assistant and Lead Instructor for the Medical Assistant and Medical Office Coding and Billing Programs at the Rockford Career College campus in Edina, Minnesota. She has five years of experience working in family practice, pediatrics, and mental health. Tracey resides in the Twins Cities area with her two teen-aged children, two dogs, a tortoise, and a rabbit.
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