The Knowledge Nook

What Is A Medical Assistant?

Posted by Tami Russell on Dec 16, 2016 4:11:01 PM

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Medical Assisting is a career that offers individuals varied responsibilities and tasks in a healthcare setting.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Medical assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals, and other healthcare facilities. Duties vary with the location, specialty, and size of the practice.”

The “employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 23% from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations,” according to the BLS.

A 2014 breakdown showed that of the 591,300 Medical Assistants working, 59% were employed in the offices of physicians.  15% were employed in state, local and private hospitals.  Another 10% worked in the offices of other health care practitioners, with 7% working in outpatient care centers.

What Are the Predictable Duties for a Medical Assistant?

A trained Medical Assistant may be tasked with daily responsibilities such as

  • Conducting patient intake
  • Measuring vital signs (such as temperature and blood pressure)
  • Logging vital statistics
  • Assisting physicians with patient examinations
  • Preparing exam rooms
  • Cleaning and sterilizing medical equipment
  • Administering injections
  • Performing venipuncture and other routine testing procedures
  • Scheduling patient appointments

 How Does Someone Become a Medical Assistant?

There are different paths to become a Medical Assistant, but experts agree that better opportunities await individuals who have received some type of training. 

Some Medical Assistants obtain the job after graduating from high school, or receiving a GED, and they learn necessary skills on the job.  A good core of courses to consider in high school would be advanced sciences, such as biology, chemistry, and anatomy.

However, according to both the BLS and experts in the field, most Medical Assistants benefits from some type of postsecondary education, such as a reputable certificate program.  Most employers prefer to hire Medical Assistants who have completed some type of medical training, including externships and certification exams.  For additional job opportunities, some Medical Assistants may become certified as a Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA), based on successful completion of the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant exam.  Additional options for Medical Assistants include successful completion of exams that lead to designations such as Certified Phlebotomy Technician (CPT) and EKG Technician (CET).

Many individuals are looking to the future as 2017 approaches.  Some are considering entering the workforce for the first time.  Others are considering making a professional change.  Career changers are often in search of improved work/life balance opportunities, a consistent, or increased, salary, healthier working conditions, or a variety of other perks.  If you are one of these people, as you look toward 2017, is Medical Assisting a good match for you?  

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Topics: medical assisting

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