Medical assisting is an important part of the medical care chain anywhere in the country, but it is especially important in Hawaii. Because of the remote nature of some of the islands, there is limited access to healthcare for many residents. Medical assistants who work here typically handle more duties than those who work in other states, simply because doctors are in such short supply compared to the continental United States.
Top 5 Cities for Medical Assistant Programs
Honolulu is the largest city in the state of Hawaii, and has the highest concentration of educational programs in the state. Most students who want to work anywhere in Hawaii will have to attend a program either on-campus or online offered by a facility based in the Honolulu area.
In terms of employment opportunities, while most of them will be in Honolulu and the surrounding area, Hawaii is also home to other major cities including: Pearl City, Hilo, Kailua, and Waipahu. As there is a high concentration of population in these cities, it should be relatively easy to find a job in any of these areas.
There are plenty of other smaller cities where medical assistants will also be in demand. However, because of the reduced number of potential patients in the area, jobs may be harder to locate, simply because there are fewer to choose from and competition for each position may be significantly higher.
Medical Assistant Salary in Hawaii
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, medical assistants in Hawaii can expect to earn an average salary range of $32,400 to $39,610. This is in line with the national average salary range of $21,280 to $41,910 per year. According to Salary.com, there is significant salary variation for medical assistants working in Hawaii based on a number of factors, including: location, population, and market competitiveness.
Those working in Honolulu, Pearl City, Kailua, or Waipahu can expect to earn a median salary of $35,429. Those with less than one year experience can expect to earn anywhere from $34,133 to $35,735. Medical assistants with five or more years of experience can expect to earn anywhere from $34,911 to $36,522.
Those working in Hilo can expect to earn a median salary of $33,471. Those with less than one year experience can expect to earn anywhere from $32,246 to $33,760. Medical assistants with five or more years of experience can expect to earn anywhere from $32,981 to $34,503.
Positions in other areas of the state should pay somewhere comparable to what is seen in the larger cities, however, less population dense areas and areas with a lower cost of living will likely pay less.
Medical Assistant Schools in Hawaii
Med-Assist School of Hawaii in Honolulu offers a medical assistant program that can be completed in as little as nine months. The program provides the equivalent of 38 semester based credits, and is available as either a day or an evening class. The program is broken into seven five-week phases. Day classes operate Monday through Friday, for 25 days per phase. Evening classes operate for longer periods of time, Monday through Thursday, to create the day class equivalency. As of the 2010-2011 academic year, tuition for the program was $12,205, and did not include the cost of textbooks and other course materials. Those costs added an additional $377.05. Tuition and supply costs change on a regular basis, so these amounts may not reflect current rates. Federal financial aid is available for students who qualify.
Remington College offers a Clinical Medical Assistant program at their Honolulu campus. The program allows students to earn a degree in as little as 18 months. The program offers an externship program to help students gain on-the-job experience. At Remington College, tuition costs vary based on the program you choose, but are all-inclusive. The tuition you’ll pay covers the cost of your textbooks and other course materials, including lab materials and uniforms. As long as students remain actively enrolled and working toward their degree, tuition does not increase. This school is eligible for the federal financial aid program and offers tuition assistance options to students who qualify. Career services are also available to help graduates find a job.
Hawaii Medical College in Honolulu offers a medical assistant program that can be completed within one year. The program tuition is $16,206, as of July 1, 2014. The program includes all books, supplies, certification exam fees, and uniforms at no additional cost to students. Students who complete the program will earn the following certifications: American Heart Association CPR/BLS, ECG/EKG Certification, Phlebotomy Certification, OSHA Certification, and Clinical Medical Assistant Certification. Federal financial aid is available for students who qualify. Hawaii Medical College also offers career services to help graduates get a job after program completion.
Hawaii Technology Institute in Honolulu offers a medical assistant diploma program that can be completed in 18 weeks as a full time student, or in 28 weeks as a part time student. Upon program completion, students will be qualified to sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) exam. Part of the program includes a four week internship, where students will work in the field at a hospital, doctor’s office, or clinic. Tuition costs vary based on the program students enroll in, and are subject to change at any time. Financial aid is available for students who qualify.
Medical assisting in Hawaii is different than what you’d find in other states simply because doctors and other medical staff are not as readily available on the islands. Regardless of the program you choose, you will be qualified for an entry level position in the field. Once you become a medical assistant, consider joining the Hawaii State Society of Medical Assistants. This professional association can help keep you up to date with legislative changes, as well as provide job opportunities.