The wide range of administrative and clinical responsibilities makes a medical assistant career appealing to many people. If you’re interested in pursuing challenging and rewarding work in healthcare, read on to see if may be a fit for you, too.
The Role of a Medical Assistant
Medical assistants help manage the daily operations of a healthcare practice. Their day-to-day work varies, but it can be segmented into a few groups:
Client relations responsibilities include greeting and registering patients as well as handling phone calls and appointment scheduling. Medical assistants will gather patient medical history. They provide patients with information and answer their questions on procedures and medications. To effectively assist patients, the medical assistant should be a strong and clear, but compassionate communicator.
Clinical duties will depend on the facility and type of practice, but they may include taking a patient’s vital signs, performing laboratory tests and working with lab specimens, administering medication, and changing wound dressings. Accuracy and attention to detail is an overall important trait that a successful medical assistant must have.
There are technical tasks and projects required as part of this role, and a medical assistant will become proficient using various software systems. The more common technology in use by medical practices are billing systems, online appointment calendars, and electronic medical records (EMR) programs. The medical assistant’s technical capabilities will also often include handling various testing and diagnostic equipment.
How to Prepare for a Medical Assistant Career
Based on the breadth of knowledge that is required to be a successful medical assistant, enroll in a program that provides the foundation to carry out these administrative, clinical, and technical tasks and projects.
To build this knowledge base, the coursework you study will focus on:
- Medical field information such as terminology, medical law, and ethics
- Technical know-how including electronic medical records and computerized medical billing
- An understanding of the human body through anatomy and physiology
- Biology and microbiology work in phlebotomy, urinalysis and microbiology
For the best job opportunities, look for an accredited educational program that qualifies you to take the CMA certification exam through the Certifying Board of the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA).
Medical Assistant Job Outlook
According to the US Department of Labor, all of your hard work will pay off when you become a medical assistant.
- The national annual mean wage for medical assistants is $32,850. The overall average mean wage for New York State is $35,630. Salaries vary based on the type and size of the practice.
- Almost 15% of medical assistants work in physician’s offices. They also work in hospitals, outpatient care centers, assisted living facilities and nursing homes.
- Preventative care for the aging population is administered in physician’s offices. This contributes to a projected employment growth of medical assistants of 23% from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than average occupation growth.
For more Department of Labor Information:
A medical assistant handles a great deal of responsibility, and CAHE’s one-year, full-time program will prepare you for it all. Learn more about our medical assistant program.