Medical assistant careers play an important role in doctor’s offices. They perform a variety of tasks that help to keep the office running in a smooth and efficient manner.
What to Expect
Medical assistant careers are tasked with a number of responsibilities. These responsibilities vary from office to office and state to state all depending on regulations, laws, and the training of the assistant.
Most of the medical assistant careers focus on administrative duties. Administrative medical assistants are tasked with basic office work. In physician’s offices these administrative assistants are crucial for the continued operation of the day to day activities.
These assistants’ duties include;
- Filing paperwork including patients’ medical records
- Making and setting appointments
- Arranging hospital admissions
- Bookkeeping duties
- Answering phones
In some offices and facilities medical assistant careers will also include several clinical duties. These clinical assistants are able to perform more specialized functions as dictated by state law and regulations.
Clinical assistants might also perform administrative duties alongside their other responsibilities. These other responsibilities can be anything from basic laboratory tests to refilling prescriptions. Other duties that clerical medical assistants perform may be;
- Recording vital signs
- Preparing patients for exams
- Explaining common procedures
- Preparing medical instruments and equipment
- Change bandages and dressing
Clinical assistants will be able to perform other duties as dictated by the physician they work for. Medical assistant careers may even have specialties that allow for additional duties and responsibilities. These specializations like ophthalmic assistants and podiatric assistants require additional training and in some cases certification.
Education, Training, and Certification
Medical assistant careers do not require any formal training. A high school diploma or its equivalency is usually enough to receive an entry level medical assistant position. For those wanting to enter into this field there are some high school courses that are recommended. Biology, keyboarding, mathematics, and courses that focus on teaching office skills are generally recommended.
Many vocational schools offer courses in medical assistant careers. These courses train students in the most basic of functions and duties. Courses in medical assistant careers train students;
- Common procedures
- First aid
- Administrative duties
- Medical ethics
While not required, training in medical assistant careers can increase the chances of being hired by an established physician’s office or medical institution. On the job training is usually enough for many employers. There are associations that offer certification courses. These courses are offered by institutions such as the Association of Medical Assistants. Those interested in medical assistant careers will find that going through any form of additional accreditation or certification will provide greater opportunities for higher wages and even specialized positions.
Medical assistant careers can be found in nearly any medical field. These assistants are prized for their flexibility and administrative capabilities which eases the work load of registered nurses and doctors.
Medical assistants can be found in private physician offices, chiropractor offices, hospitals, and in-patient care facilities. For those assistants that are trained in a specialty field can be employed in optometrists’ offices and other offices as per their specialization.
Medical assistant careers will continue to experience growth. Positions will open as assistants advance in their careers seeking positions like registered nurses after completing education and training requirements.
Medical assistant careers will continue to be valued due to their administrative and clerical abilities. Clinics, health care facilities, assisted living facilities, and hospitals are just some facilities that will continue to need medical assistants.
The salary and wages of medical assistant careers will depend greatly on additional training, experience, and certification. The more training a medical assistant has the more likely it is to receive a higher salary. On average medical assistant careers earn $25,000 annually.
The editors of McGraw-Hill and the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Big Book of Jobs, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013 ©2009 by the McGraw-Hill Companies, Material "Adapted"