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One of the most in-demand jobs at IU Health is a medical assistant. They are the first person a patient talks to on the phone to set up the appointment, and the first person with the patient in the exam room.
"I'm the smile when you walk through the door when you are maybe a little nervous, I may be the calm that you can find when people are nervous about seeing the doctor," Erika Tindal, a certified medical assistant at IU Health, said.
Tindal has been a medical assistant with IU Health for 14 years.
"I really enjoy helping people and feeling like I am bringing something to their lives they come to our office," Tindal said.
Medical assistants, also referred to as MAs, are there for both the patient and the physician, to keep the office running smoothly.
"They're crucial, we could not get through a day without having a medical assistant here in the office," Dr. Kimbre Zahn, said. "They are helping us room the patients, run our schedules, stay organized, stay on time."
IU Health employs about 1,000 MAs across the state. In 2018, the hospital system hired 360 MAs and still have more than 100 MA positions still available.
"It is hard to find medical assistants," Mandy Bates, the vice president of human resources for IU Health Physicians, said. "I think sometimes people are unaware that we need them."
Bates says she is always looking for compassionate people to fill these MA roles. With or without a college degree, MAs do need to go through a program that can take anywhere from 9 to 24 months.
Medical Assistant Schools (recommended by IU Health):
- Ivy Tech - various cities in Indiana
- Fortis - Indianapolis
- Indiana Business College - Indianapolis
- Indiana School of Phlebotomy - Indianapolis
- Ross Medical Education Center- Muncie and Lafayette
- Vincennes University - Vincennes
"Once we get them hired and if they are not certified, we are going to help them through a career ladder so that they have opportunities to learn and grow in their jobs," Bates said. "We pre-fund a certification exam, set them up with a coach, make successful in taking their exam. We have the highest pass rate in the country on CMA exams, and then they can get promoted."
LEARN MORE | Medical assistant at IU Health
Bates says it is a job that someone can stick with long term, or use as a gateway job for someone who wants to do more in healthcare. She also says medical assistants will always be in demand because of the necessary role they play in the medical office.
"We think the medical assistant is sort of the glue to making the clinic run well," Bates said.
Medical assistants at IU Health make anywhere from $14 to $20 an hour, with benefits, according to Bates.
Along with the "career ladder" to help MAs pass the certification test and advance to higher paying positions, IU Health also offers tuition assistance to it's MAs to go back to school for further training, including to become a registered nurse.