The best medical assistant schools in West Virginia are prepping their classrooms for the increasing demand across the state and country for aspiring medical assistants. We could not be more excited about the future of the great field of work. With the medical industry growing at an unprecedented pace throughout the region, there is plenty of opportunity for people who wish to become a medical assistant in West Virginia and the demand for qualified allied health workers is as high as ever.

How to become a medical assistant in West Virginia

The national certifying bodies are listed below that are recognized in West Virginia. It is not mandated that you are certified to work as a MA in West Virginia but it is highly recommended.

National certifications from American Medical Technologists (AMT), American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA), National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT), and the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) are all recognized in WV.

What is the process for becoming a medical assistant in West Virginia?

Becoming a medical assistant in West Virginia is as easy as following the steps below.

Step 1 – Do you want to become certified?

Before anything else, you’re going to first need to figure out if you are going to earn a medical assistant certification, or search for a position without one. Not only can this choice determine the roles you will be eligible to apply for, but it will furthermore determine how much time it’ll take before you can start your career.

Naturally, there are more pros than cons to holding a certification. Being certified is becoming viewed as a prerequisite by a large number of facilities who regard it as a way to shield their practices against possible lawsuits and soaring insurance costs.

This is also true of employers who’ve traditionally hired non-certified assistants. An increasing number of employers across the country have started to require their non-certified staff to register for certification training as a condition of remaining employed.

With all of that said, you should start searching for a position as a non-certified medical assistant immediately should that be your preference. Step 2 and the subsequent steps discussed in this guide apply only if you’ve decided to pursue certification.

Step 2 – Do you want to earn your associate’s degree?

The next choice you will have to make is whether you want to pursue an associate degree in medical assisting, or a certificate (called a “diploma” by some courses). Either type of credential is recognized by the majority of employers, but you should be familiar with the advantages and drawbacks of each.

Certificates and Diplomas

Associate degree courses are usually two years in length, and the material discussed is a lot more extensive in scope. Programs offering this degree are normally located at trade schools and junior colleges, so they commonly have more-stringent admission requirements that have to be satisfied.

The benefits and advantages of earning an associate degree have a tendency to outweigh the ones from the diploma or certificate, so the extra hurdles are usually regarded as being worthwhile.

Associate Degree

Associate degree courses are usually two years in length, and the material discussed is a lot more extensive in scope. Programs offering this degree are normally located at trade schools and junior colleges, so they commonly have more-stringent admission requirements that have to be satisfied.

The benefits and advantages of earning an associate degree have a tendency to outweigh the ones from the diploma or certificate, so the extra hurdles are usually regarded as being worthwhile.

Either of these options is a viable way to begin your professional career, as long as it fits your personal aspirations and economic circumstances. If you want to start working sooner rather than later, and are worried about tuition fees, then the diploma route may be the best choice. Don’t forget, that it’s possible to go back at a later time and pursue a degree after you have begun your career.

If you have a definite long-term career goal in your mind, however, then investing in an associate degree might be the right decision.

Step 3 – Register for accredited courses

As previously mentioned, medical assistant education in West Virginia is regulated by multiple organizations including the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). You have to complete a program approved by one of these organizations if you wish to be eligible to challenge to become certified in the state.

There are several things you should consider when you are selecting a course to attend. You should look at the following as you compare classes:

  • Attend programs that are accredited by CAAHEP or ABHES
  • Attend training at a program where 70% of program grads passed their certification exams
  • Fit time for school into your personal schedule
  • F costs of school into your budget

Similar to any decision, you have to initially establish what your priorities are. If, for example, the cost of tuition is the most crucial thing to you, make that the first thing you learn about each program. Next, you could analyze every course per your second-most crucial criteria and to remove those that are not satisfactory.

Using this approach, it’s possible to reduce your choices down to only a handful of schools. Doing this considerably boosts your likelihood of choosing a training course that will fit your needs.

Accredited medical assistant programs in West Virginia

Below are the accrediting bodies for all medical assistant programs in West Virginia and across the country. Click on th links to see their databases of schools in your area!

ABHES-WV accredited medical assistant programs

CAAHEP-WV accredited medical assistant programs

Step 4 – Finish all required hours of clinical training

Graduation from an approved medical assistant training program is imperative, since you won’t be able to move forward to the next step unless you have done so. In order to move on with the process, every training program requires that would-be medical assistants finish a set number of practice hours in a clinical setting.

These mandated hours need to be fulfilled before you’re eligible to take any certification exams.

Step 5 – Pass a national certification exam

The official medical assistant certification tests used in West Virginia are the five major national examinations. The exams incorporate sections on each significant area of knowledge you would have covered in your study course.

The five main national certification tests administered in West Virginia are listed below.

Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from AAMA – every facility.

Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from AMT – This national credential is recognized by most facilities, shows a nicely balanced expertise in medical assisting, and may qualify its holder for just about any non-specialist medical assistant job opening.

National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from NCCT – The National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) credential is a nationally-recognized credential that qualifies its owner for a wide array of roles in medical assisting.

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from NHA – The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) presents a certification specifically for medical assistants planning on working in a clinical setting.

Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from NHA – A good choice for those planning on focusing on administrative roles, the CMAA is a credential that signifies high level proficiencies in a range of office-related skills.

Medical assistant salary and jobs in West Virginia

There’s a high demand for medical assistants around the country and in West Virginia. Whereas the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 23% growth in brand new openings for medical assistants across the nation through 2024, the government is expecting to see a 9% increase in West Virginia. The majority of new positions are expected to be produced in hospitals and physicians offices. There should also be limited demand at state and federal government agencies and clinics.

As mentioned earlier, a number of of these opportunities can make good starting points for careers in the medical field.

To check out income data for West Virginia by location and county, feel free to check out the table below.

LocationPay TypeLowMedianHigh
United StatesHourly$10.99$15.17$21.78
Yearly$22,870$31,540$45,310
West VirginiaHourly$9.59$12.29$16.07
Yearly$19,950$25,560$33,440
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan DivisionHourly$12.11$17.17$24.08
Yearly$25,190$35,710$50,090
Winchester, VA-WV MSAHourly$11.19$15.36$18.70
Yearly$23,280$31,950$38,890
Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV MSAHourly$10.49$14.60$18.87
Yearly$21,820$30,370$39,250
Cumberland, MD-WV MSAHourly$10.24$14.18$21.26
Yearly$21,300$29,480$44,230
Wheeling, WV-OH MSAHourly$9.58$13.25$17.42
Yearly$19,940$27,560$36,230
Morgantown, WV MSAHourly$10.39$13.08$16.51
Yearly$21,610$27,210$34,340
Charleston, WV MSAHourly$10.17$13.00$17.19
Yearly$21,150$27,050$35,760
Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH MSAHourly$10.09$12.69$17.07
Yearly$20,990$26,400$35,510
Southern West Virginia BOSHourly$9.29$11.75$15.09
Yearly$19,330$24,440$31,390
Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna, WV-OH MSAHourly$9.38$11.33$16.02
Yearly$19,500$23,560$33,320
North Central West Virginia BOSHourly$9.20$11.15$14.27
Yearly$19,130$23,200$29,680