Are you interested in working in the health sector? Do you enjoy taking care of people? If yes, you can consider becoming a medical assistant who plays a vital part in any doctor’s office. As a medical assistant, you have to be a jack-of-all-trades, meaning you have to do both clerical and clinical tasks.
With quick training programs, thriving salaries, and excellent job growth, this health profession is an excellent route to begin a career in healthcare. Landing medical assistant jobs can open doors for many other exciting career paths. It is the best way to get firsthand knowledge of what being a nurse is like.
Medical assistant jobs have been around for decades, but they are being used to now more than ever before. Below, we present you with everything you need to know about medical job positions, academic qualifications and salaries, and how to apply for such a position.
What Is A Medical Assistant?
A medical assistant is a professional responsible for handling basic clinical and administrative duties at a medical facility. They could work in a hospital or even a clinic. From measuring vital signs and performing lab tests to greeting patients and scheduling their appointments, medical assistants are a crucial part of a medical team.
This is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States of America. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth rate of employment for medical assistants is 23 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average of all occupations. As of 2018, there were 686,600 medical assistants in the United States.
What Does A Medical Assistant Do?
Medical Assistants are designated to perform both administrative and clinical duties. The duties and responsibilities of the employee entirely depend on the office where they work, along with the state laws and the needs of the employer.
On the administrative side, a medical assistant is responsible for answering telephones, arranging for hospital admissions, lab services, keeping confidential records of patients, scheduling appointments, and billing duties as well.
On the other hand, the clinical duties include assisting physicians during a patient examination, collecting lab specimens and blood, taking medical histories, removing sutures, plus performing basic lab tests.
How to Become a Medical Assistant?
If you are looking to build a career as a medical assistant, you do not necessarily need to have a formal educational. Ideally, a post-secondary school training or certification will do the work for you. The training programs are generally one or two years long and are conducted by many colleges and vocational or trade schools.
There are also various professional organizations accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) offer certifications as well. Becoming a certified medical assistant is absolutely voluntary, but it shows the employers that the candidate has completed a training program and has work experience as well.
To apply for a medical assistant certification program, the candidate must be at least 18 years old. The NCCA is a part of the Institute of Credentialing Excellence accredits five certifications for medical assistants, which are the following.
- Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) from the American Association of Medical Assistants.
- Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) from American Medical Technologists.
- National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA) from the National Center for Competency Testing.
- Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) from the National Healthcareer Association.
- Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) from the National Healthcareer Association.
Medical Assistant Salaries
The average annual salary of a medical assistant in the United States is $35,857, however, the range falls between $33,055 and $38,718. The salary range can differ widely, depending upon the various factors including the type of industry (such as hospitals, out-care centers, or the office of physicians) education, experience, certifications, additional skills, and the state you are working as well. Alaska, the District of Columbia, and Washington are the top three highest paying states for this occupation.
The Bottom Line
A medical assistant is a very thriving health professional with great salary benefits. Moreover, with adequate experience, medical assistants can specialize and move into leadership roles. Additionally, if the candidates become qualified enough, they may also advance into other major healthcare professions like registered nurses or physician assistants.