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Medical Assistant

A medical assistant is a healthcare professional who performs various tasks alongside physicians. The medical assisting is one among the fastest developing field in the United States today. So, where does a medical assistant work? As a medical assistant, you could find opportunity to work in the office of:

  • Physicians

  • Podiatrists

  • Chiropractors

  • Health practitioners


Job Description:

A medical assistant has to perform both administrative and clinical tasks. Hence, as a medical assistant, you may have to:

Administrative Duties:

  • Use computer applications

  • Answer phone calls

  • Greet patients

  • File and update patient medical records

  • Fill out insurance forms

  • Schedule appointments

  • Arrange for hospital admissions and any laboratory service (if required)

  • Handle:

    • Correspondence

    • Billing

    • Bookkeeping




Clinical Duties:

  • Take medical histories

  • Explain treatment procedures to the clients

  • Prepare clients for examination procedures

  • Assist physicians during patient examination

  • Collect as well as prepare laboratory specimens

  • Carry out basic laboratory tests

  • Instruct clients about medications and any other special diets

  • Prepare and administer medication as directed by the physician

  • Authorize prescription refills

  • Draw blood samples

  • Take electrocardiogram

  • Remove sutures

  • Change dressing


How to Become a Medical Assistant?

Educational Requirements:

The high school candidates who are willing to pursue a career in medical assisting must take courses in:

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Anatomy


Most typically, in the United States, a medical assistant would graduate from a post-secondary education program. Such programs for medical assisting can be taken from colleges, schools and universities. These courses would generally take a year to complete. These post-secondary programs would lead you to a certificate/diploma.

Medical Assisting Specializations:

The most common specializations in medical assisting include:

  • Family Medicine

  • Pediatrics

  • Geriatrics

  • Cardiology

  • Oncology

  • Allergy and Immunology

  • Gastroenterology

  • Ophthalmology

  • Medical Billing and Coding

  • Health Information Management


Training:

As a medical assistant, you may get training from a physician or a senior medical assistant in the following:

  • Medical terminology

  • Names of the instruments

  • How to do daily tasks

  • How to interact with patients

  • How to code paper as well as electronic health records

  • How to record patient information

  • Other tasks to keep an office running


Licensure and Certification:

In general, a medical assistant is not required to be certified.

Five certifications that are accredited by the ‘National Commission for Certifying Agencies’ for medical assistants are:

  • Certified Medical Assistant (CMA)

  • Registered Medical Assistant (RMA)

  • National Certified Medical Assistant (NCMA)

  • Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA)

  • Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA)


Job Outlook and Opportunities:

The job opportunity for medical assistants has been projected to increase by 29% from the year 2012 to 2022. This rate is much faster than the median for all the occupations.

Pay:

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for a medical assistant was found to be $29,370 per year in May 2012. This equals the hourly pay of $14.12.

Summary:

Average Pay                                        :           $29,370

Education                                            :           Post-secondary non-degree award

Number of Jobs, 2012                         :           560,800

Employment Growth from 2012 to 2022         :           29%

On-the-job training                              :           None

Work Experience                                 :           None