Medical Assistants (MAs) in Washington state must pursue a professional healthcare credential from the state’s Department of Health. Where the vast majority of state’s will accept a national certification, such as the title awarded by the American Association of Medical Assistants, Washington’s own credential simply must be earned by every in-state MA. You can learn more about the process of earning said credential on the state’s DOH site.
It should be noted that while this credential is mandatory, pursuing a nationally recognized credential or associate degree will further the qualifications and employability of any MA. Such a distinction will also give an MA greater job mobility outside of Washington’s borders.
Washington defines a number of duties MAs are permitted to carry out under the supervision of a health practitioner. Some of the duties laid out are as follows:
- Procedures for sterilizing equipment and instruments
- Disposing of biohazardous materials
- Taking vital signs
- Preparing patients for examination
- Capillary blood withdrawal, venipuncture, and intradermal, subcutaneous, and intramuscular injections
- Specimen collection
- Telephone and in-person screening limited to intake and gathering of information without requiring the exercise of judgment based on clinical knowledge
- Maintaining medication and immunization records
- Screening and following up on test results as directed by a healthcare practitioner
The complete list of medically-based duties can be found here. In addition to these permitted tasks, many Washington MAs are expected to carry out a degree of administrative and clerical work.