Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Am I Just a Cheap Nurse Substitute in a Doctor's Office?

Just the other day a certified medical assistant told us the following (with a sigh):

"I've been a certified MA for three years now and I do enjoy it. I have debated going back to school for my RN, but have changed my mind several times considering my age, duration and cost of school and ultimately the luxury of having weekends and holidays off. I've accepted the fact that I am a "cheap nurse" for a doctor's office, however these few perks seem to justify the demands of the job.  I'm in the field of pediatrics so you can imagine the chaos and "cash cow" pace of getting screaming kids in and out in a timely manner so the office owner makes his quota of  kids.  Awful, but it's a job. Sometimes I feel overworked and underpaid."

Not Enough Medical Assistant Pay?

I wish I had a dollar for every medical assistant who tells me that one of their biggest gripes is the relatively low pay they receive. They feel their pay is too low for what they do, which is frustrating to them. If a medical assistant states: "I am not happy with my pay!" I cannot help but ask: "How much do you make and could there be something that's holding you back?" Then, I suggest...

Change Your Belief, or Change Your Profession!

That my sound extreme, but as in any field the medical assistant salary is commensurate with the person's level of education, training, certification and years of experience. I cannot emphasize it enough: employers, in this case often doctors, select suitable candidates not only by their training and skill level, but also by how much (or should I say, how LITTLE) they are able to get away with in paying them.

Wages & Employment Trends

National Median wages (2008) = $13.60 hourly
Employment (2006) = 417,000 employees
Projected growth (2006-2016) = Much faster than average (21% or higher)
Projected need (2006-2016) = 199,000 additional employees

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2008 wage data 2006-2016 employment projections
Medical assistants must realize: when it comes to your pay you are NOT helpless! Nor is the situation hopeless. Many ask: "How can I compete with the rest and prove that I am the most qualified candidate for the position during the job interview?" While you may not (yet) have years of experience under the belt, you certainly have already shown that you are serious and dedicated to your profession and future by becoming a medical assistant in the first place If you have earned a medical assistant diploma from a formal training program, then more power to you! After all, if you have solid training, hands-on experience and credentials (if you took a recognized national certification exam), so you have an advantage when it comes to wages, landing the better positions and getting promotions—simply by having distinguished yourself from the rest. Of course, you will also have a valuable tool to negotiate during the job interview.

Here are more tips how underpaid medical assistants can use their credentials and specialization to pave the way to better pay. To learn more about the medical assisting career and what a medical assistant does please visit Medical Assistant Net on the Web.

1 comment:

jledger said...

Great advice! I will defiantly spread the word on this, especially on how to get training. Thank you!