North Dakota is a beautiful state with tons of wide open spaces. Although it is not very highly populated, the unemployment rate in the state is among the lowest in the country. Close to Canada, North Dakota has a booming economy due to the Bakken oil shale fields located in the western half of the state. With the sparse population, you may think that there are not many employment opportunities in the state. However, the medical field is always booming and looking for qualified individuals to bring care to patients in out of the way places. Medical assisting is just one of the job openings available in these major metropolitan areas and beyond:
- Grand Forks
Medical assistants are an important part of the medical team. You would be responsible for taking thevital signs of patients, such as blood pressure, pulse, and temperature, and you would likely be trained to administer injections. The other side of the medical assistant’s job focuses on medical paperwork. Many patients – and doctors! – don’t understand the complexities of health insurance forms or the general paperwork that goes in to running a medical office. Medical assistants are experts at this job, and they help make the practice run smoothly. If you are interested in this varied and important job, here are a few schools in North Dakota that can help you pursue this career.
1. Rasmussen College – North Dakota
Locations: Fargo, ND
Rasmussen College offers both a diploma program for medical assisting and an associate’s degree. The latter is more like a college degree. It takes about two year full time, and you can transfer credits from the degree to a more advanced degree, such as nursing. The diploma program is also called a certificate program. It generally takes one year full time, and it tends to focus more on the hands on aspects of medical assisting. Rasmussen College is very flexible in that it has these classes during the day, at night, and online.
You also need to make sure that the school is properly accredited before you decide to choose to go to that school. The major accrediting boards for medical assisting schools are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). When your school has these important accreditations, you are eligible to sit for national certification as a medical assistant upon graduation. More and more employers are requiring this credential, so it is an important distinction to make when choosing a school.
2. Dakota College at Bottineau
Locations: Bottineau, ND
The Dakota College is another great source for a medical assisting career. They offer both the diploma program and the associate’s degree in medical assisting. You can sit for certification after graduating from this school, though you should bear in mind that a felony conviction will keep you from attaining certification, regardless of your schooling. You can expect to take classes in anatomy and physiology, business math, and medical terminology. These classes also focus on the paperwork that takes up so much of a medical assistant’s attention. You will learn about office procedures, medical coding, and records management.
After graduation, you will be able to work in a variety of settings. The doctor’s office is the most obvious choice, but chiropractors and dentists also use medical assistants. You could work in a hospital, handling the insurance paperwork or transcribing doctor’s notes. Opening up a business of your own where you do transcription out of your home is another option. You could even work in a laboratory, running blood tests and procedures.
If these schools sound good to you, it is important that you thoroughly investigate them and perform your own research. You need to know what the graduation rate is and what the admissions requirements are. Some schools want you to have at least a C average in all of your classes to stay in the program. Online programs are offered in medical assisting, but you usually have to be close to the campus to participate in such requirements as an internship in a doctor’s office. Whatever method of schooling you choose, these options are available to help you pursue a career in this fast growing field.