Health Careers >> Browse Articles >> Administrative Health Careers


Career Profile: Medical Assistant - Jill Vroegindewey, CMA

Career Profile: Medical Assistant - Jill Vroegindewey, CMA

Is it important to collaborate with your colleagues? How have your professional collaborations benefited your career?

Getting involved in the American Association of Medical Assistants has proved to be very rewarding. My activities there, including site surveys, opened my eyes to ways others practice medicine across the country. It gave me examples along the lines of “who is doing what, and where.” I got to meet with them, talk to them about their successes; these relationships have become part of my network.

More on Medical Assisting

Salary: $18,860 - $36,840
Min. Education: Associate's
Related Careers: Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse, Registered Nurse

What are some common myths about your CMA licensing?

A myth is that CMAs are nursing assistants of some sort. People don’t understand the credential, the scope of practice of a CMA. As a CMA, you’re only as limited as the employer that employs you. You can do everything a nurse can do in the ambulatory setting. If you are seeking a job and are a new CMA, make sure the employers know what your credential is, and your scope of practice. The pay follows the understanding.

Can you share an interesting patient care or marketing anecdote?

Patients do take you very literally, sometimes. Once I was helping out with admissions in the radiology department, and I asked an elderly patient to put on her gown. The typical line to patients is “Take everything off; the gown goes over your head, when you’re ready have a seat in the waiting room.” When the technologist went to get her for her exam she the patient was sitting in the waiting room, stark naked, with the gown wrapped around her head. Luckily she was the only one there.

What contributions do you feel CMAs make to the healthcare field, and to society as a whole?

They’re the right people to have in physicians’ offices, as well as certain departments of the hospital. I think sometimes we think too narrow mindedly. More fields should specify medical training such as a CMA. We can add more than people understand, in all types of settings. It’s our job to promote the credential, the scope of practice CMA’s offer.

Job Information and Advice

What are the best ways to land a CMA job?

Through other CMAs. Get involved in local, state and national organizations, use that network!

How available are externships?

Readily available. Before you graduate from an accredited program, you must serve 160 hours; unpaid and under the supervision of a licensed MD, DO or PA to receive your certification. It’s a great opportunity for employers, particularly with the nursing shortage. If it works out, you’ve landed a job!

How is the job market now? How do you think it will emerge over the next five years?

It’s very good right now. The nursing shortage is having a great effect for CMAs. However, it’s still at lesser pay than nurses. Many CMAs later go on into nursing, as it is a very natural transition.

How can the reality of being a CMA differ from typical expectations?

Some of the things they teach in the medical assisting programs vs. real world expectations. I’m kind of disappointed that the CMA programs are slow to change the curriculum and planning; the curriculum doesn’t seem to keep pace with the field and technology.

AllHealthcare School Finder

Save time in your search for a degree program. Use AllHealthcare's School Finder to locate schools online and in your area.

* In the event that we cannot find a program from one of our partner schools that matches your specific area of interest, we may show schools with similar or unrelated programs.