What is a Traveling Medical Assistant?
A travel medical assistant is a healthcare professional who travels from one hospital to another locally or out of state to fulfill a wide range of administrative and clinical responsibilities. These medical assistants are not permanent employees and usually work to fill shortages or temporary vacancies within a medical facility.
What Does a Traveling Medical Assistant Do: Job Role
These medical professionals perform both clerical and clinical tasks. Traveling medical assistant duties depend on the settings where they work. Take a look at the traveling medical assistant job description.
- Answering phone calls and scheduling appointments
- Medical coding and billing tasks
- Organizing medical records and files
- Filing insurance claims
- Preparing examination rooms
- Educating the patients and their family members about the treatment plan
- Updating EMRs (Electronic Medical Records) and completing the required forms in the EHR (Electronic Health Record) system
- Maintaining medical supplies and inventory
- Measuring and recording vital signs, such as temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, etc.
- Assisting physicians with minor surgical procedures
- Checking medical histories of the patients
- Transporting patients from one location to another in the hospital
- Maintaining and sterilizing medical instruments and equipment
- Administering medications as directed by the physician
- Assisting patients with recommended exercises and therapies
- Collecting and preparing laboratory specimens
- Preparing patients for electrocardiogram, phlebotomy, and other tests
How to Become a Traveling MA: Education, Training
Below is the stepwise procedure for becoming a Traveling Medical Assistant:
Obtain Medical Assisting Diploma
A diploma in medical assisting is a must to become a traveling medical assistant. You can obtain this diploma in 10 months. This diploma offers you two options, either to enter the medical field as an entry-level medical assistant or continue further education.
Obtain an Associate’s Degree in Medical Assisting
An associate degree in medical assisting is another crucial requirement that aspirants must fulfill. It can be completed in 16-24 months. This degree program imparts you all the necessary clinical and theoretical knowledge and skill set required to work as a successful Traveling MA.
Obtain a Certification
Some medical facilities and states in the USA require potential employees to possess a national-level certification in medical assisting. You must consider acquiring the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) certification offered by the American Medical Technologists.
Traveling Medical Assistant Certification Requirements
Fulfill the below-given requirements to acquire the certification:
- For obtaining the certificate, aspirants first need to complete graduation from a medical assistant program accredited by the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education (CAAHEP). A total of 720 hours of training, including 160 hours of externship, is mandatory.
- After graduation, you must obtain RMA certification from the American Medical Technologists. For applying for the certification exam, you are supposed to fulfill the following requirements:
- If you have completed your graduation recently, submit official final transcripts from the school showing that you have successfully graduated from an accredited MA program.
- If it has been more than 4 years since you graduated, then along with a copy of transcripts from the MA program, you will also have to submit the documents showing your relevant work experience for 3 of the past 5 years (verified by the AMT).
- If you have a minimum of 5 years of teaching experience in a full-time, accredited medical assisting program comprising administrative and clinical competencies, you can apply for the exam by submitting a copy of the transcript and documented work experience.
If your application gets approved, you will get a notification from AMT. After that, you can schedule your exam. If you qualify for the exam, you will receive your certificate via mail within 7-14 days. If you fail to achieve the required score, you can retake the examination within 45 days from the previous attempt.
Qualities/Skills Required for a Traveling Medical Assistant
Besides educational qualifications, traveling medical assistants must also possess the following qualities to deliver the best patient care.
The job of a Travel MA entails a lot of interaction with patients, their family members, physicians, nurses, etc. for one or the other purpose, such as taking information from patients, describing them the treatment process, scheduling appointments, explaining the medical condition of patients to doctors, etc. So, strong interpersonal and communication skills are mandatory for these professionals.
Medical assistants are the center of the healthcare team. On the one hand, they coordinate with patients, and on the other hand, they keep their supervisor nurses and doctors updated with the patients’ condition. Without being a good team player, it isn’t easy to shoulder such a big responsibility.
As traveling medical assistant’s job comes with lots of traveling and serving patients in different work settings, these professionals must possess good adaptability. This skill also helps them deal with different personalities and gain advanced knowledge when needed.
Travel MAs perform several assignments and responsibilities throughout the day. They have to deal with demanding members of the medical staff and raving patients. Sometimes, they are required to work overtime. Thus, a cool, calm, and controlled demeanor is essential to render services in such a stressful condition.
The quality of compassion enables a traveling medical assistant to alleviate the fear and anxiety of patients and make them feel that you better understand their emotional state and concerns. It also makes patients of all ages feel that you will try your best to help them overcome their pain.
Besides, integrity, attention to detail, problem-solving, active listening, multitasking, and critical thinking are other sought-after skills in these professionals.
Traveling Medical Assistant Salary
Several factors, including education, experience, and the employer, impact the salary of traveling medical assistants. According to CareerBuilder, as of November 21, 2020, vocational traveling MAs earned $49,500 per annum. The average annual wage of these professionals with a high school diploma, associate, and bachelor’s degree was $50,500, $54,500, and $60,000, respectively. Professionals with higher education, i.e., master’s and doctorate degrees, made $66,500 and $82,000, respectively.
The below table illustrates the average hourly and annual salary of these medical assistants. The data has been taken from different sources.
Traveling Medical Assistant Salary: A Quick Look
|Resource||Hourly Salary||Annual Salary||Date Updated|
|CareerBuilder||$20.00||$58,500||February 23, 2021|
|ZipRecruiter||$28.00||$57,820||October 28, 2020|
|PayScale||$15.43||$34,158||January 07, 2021|
From the above table, it can be concluded that in October- February 2020-21, Traveling MAs made between $34,158 and $58,500 per annum.
Where Does a Travel MA Work?
As mentioned above, travel medical assistants are not confined to a particular workplace; they work in different settings, including clinics, nursing facilities, medical centers, hospitals, etc., for a stipulated time. They keep traveling locally, in, and out-of-the-state. Healthcare facilities recruit these professionals to fulfill the openings and shortages caused due to staff vacations or turnover and relieve the HR from the burden to hire quickly.
How to Find a Job as a Traveling Medical Assistant?
After obtaining the certificate, you can find travel medical assistant jobs leveraging any of the following ways:
Medical Staffing/Recruitment Agencies
You can get yourself registered with a staffing agency to get the job of your preference. These agencies have a liaison with employers across a variety of patient care settings and medical facilities. So, you have a wider choice of job options to apply for.
Job Search Sites
Job search sites such as indeed.com, ZipRecruiter, CareerBuilder, etc., are excellent sources for job seekers. These sites allow you to post your updated resume/CV and create custom searches. Using the advanced search capabilities of these career portals, you can sort jobs by experience, education, salary, location, and more.
Some employers list their current job openings on the “Career” page of their official websites and also allow the job hunters to submit their resumes through the website itself. So, you need to check their websites from time to time.
You can connect with medical assisting groups and communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to find job opportunities. You can also contact your friends, college alumni, previous colleagues, etc., to get information about job openings in their respective medical settings.
Benefits of Being a Travel Medical Assistant
The job of a traveling medical assistant comes with the below-mentioned benefits:
Freedom and Flexibility
Being a traveling medical assistant, you can choose the medical facilities to work according to your preferences. You can provide administrative and clinical services at retirement communities, diagnostic laboratories, chiropractor offices, medical billing and coding departments, emergency departments, cardiology offices, etc. Moreover, you can also choose the location where you want to render your services.
A Wider Experience
As you work in different medical settings of the country and interact with different patients and staff members, you have immense opportunities to add to your experience. You stay tuned with the latest technologies, reforms, regulations, and happenings in the healthcare sector.
Strong Professional Network
You work with a wide range of professionals, including nurses, physicians, doctors, etc., in and out of your state, which increases your professional connections. This professional networking helps you make significant moves in your career in the future.
Owing to the reforms and increasing complexities in the healthcare industry, spike in retirements, and increasing number of the aging population, traveling medical assistant requirements and demand are high in the job market. According to the projection of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), medical assistants will witness a growth of 19% in employment from 2019 to 2029.
Opportunities to Increase Income
You can increase your earning potential by completing higher education, gaining expertise in specialized areas, or working in a state offering a high salary.
As a traveling MA, you make a difference in many people’s lives by providing care and compassion to them. It gives you a sense of fulfillment and immense satisfaction.
Written by : Casey Gardner
Casey Gardner is both a healthcare support professional and an accomplished content creator. She has been working as a certified health care professional with marketable skills as a physician assistant, and a qualified medical assistant for last two decades. She has dedicated her nursing career to produce over hundreds of content pieces since 2001, and her work has been published both online as well as offline.