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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


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.


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.


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