Medical Assistant

Pros


  • As a medical assistant, you would be supporting doctors and other medical professionals helping people with medical problems.
  • There is a lot of variety in this type of work, and every day will be different.
  • There is expected to be excellent job growth for this type of work in the future.

Cons

  • You will need to spend a lot of time on your feet, working on many different tasks within the workplace.
  • You must be a people person. Some of these people may be stressed out or in pain when they come to a medical facility.
  • This work requires taking on several responsibilities at the same time, so you must be able to multi-task.

Overview

The role of medical assistants is to support medical professionals that serve patients. This can include both clinical and administrative tasks. Because they perform so many different duties, medical assistants have a lot of variety in their day. Probably the most important role that medical assistants have is being courteous and capable to patients so that they feel at ease being in a medical facility.
The administrative tasks that medical assistants take on include keeping patients’ medical records up to date, scheduling appointments, filling out insurance forms and coordinating with hospitals and various laboratories that perform medical testing services. Clinical tasks can include recording vital statistics, explaining treatment procedures to patients, collecting laboratory specimens and instructing patients on preventive health as well as proper medication dosage.
Some medical assistants only perform administrative tasks or clinical ones. It depends on the size of the medical facility that they work in. Larger facilities will have more medical assistants and as such they tend to focus on a specific group of tasks, while smaller ones may only have one medical assistant. The majority of medical assistants work in doctor’s offices, but they can also be found in hospitals, assisted living centers and home health care organizations. Medical assistants also can concentrate on a specific type of medical practice such as optometry or podiatry.

Education

There are no formal education requirements needed to become a medical assistant, but a high school diploma is generally needed to get a job. There are a wide array of programs that specialize in teaching people to become medical assistants. Vocational programs are available for training high school students, and there are also 1 year programs that can result in a certificate in the field. Community colleges also often offer two year programs that culminate in an associate’s degree. Regardless of education prior to employment, medical assistants can expect a lot of on the job training to further enhance their skills.

Job Prospects

Those wishing to become a medical assistant can expect great job growth. The population is growing larger and is also growing older at the same time. This means that now and into the future medical facilities will have a steady stream of patients, more than ever before. The medical field as a whole is one of the fastest growing professions available today, which means that there will increasingly be demand for medical assistants. This demand is also impacted by the fact that aging medical assistants will be retiring as well.

Advancement Opportunities

There is potential for medical assistants to advance, and this is helped by the fact that the field is experiencing a lot of growth which offers opportunities for further education and certification. While medical assistants are not require to become certified, there are associations such as the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA) that offer certification exams that can help one to move from an entry level position. Many medical assistants take their knowledge and train to have careers as medical technologists, nurses or x-ray technicians.