Medical Assistant Career

Your future could take an exciting turn by choosing a career that is in high demand. Starting out a career as a medical assistant awaits those in search of stability. The medical industry has a continual need for new employees and becoming and medical assistants are among that contingent. There is no reason to delay a future filled with job stability and competitive pay as you can begin your journey as a medical assistant right away.

General Overview

The job of a medical assistant requires assisting physicians and other health care professionals in numerous ways. This particular job involves both the clinical and administrative side of the profession. Medical assistants provide valuable clinical services, such as taking vital signs and administering injections. However, they also assist in a clerical capacity with tasks like updating medical records and filling out charts. For those reasons, a medical assistant has the qualifications to work in an array of different medical offices. They are cross-trained to carry out a variety of duties.

The clinical portion of the job consists of more hands-on work like assisting physicians during a patient exam. Medical assistants are also the ones who prep patients for their exams. On occasion, medical assistants will carry out some basic lab tests and administer medications. Medical assistants may draw blood and take electrocardiograms on patients as well.

The administrative portion of the job involves a good deal of clerical work, which includes coding insurance forms and overseeing the billing process. Medical assistants will also deal with customers by answering phones and scheduling appointments. They are also the ones who set up hospital admissions and lab testing when needed.

The multitude of different job tasks requires medical assistants to be very versatile in the workplace. That means having the ability to work with computers, be proficient in customer service and also handle duties in a clinical capacity. Medical assistants have come to be reliable, accountable and also pay a close attention to detail. Medical assistants perform these various duties with a meticulous nature to ensure the utmost efficiency. Hospitals, medical centers and private practices are just a few of the places that employ medical assistants.


Education Requirements

The required level of education needed to begin educational training as a medical administrative assistant is a high school diploma or GED equivalency. Although, many medical assistant professionals complete a medical assisting program through a vocational school or community college. There are many one year programs leading to certificates or diplomas, although some choose to further their education with a two year associates’s degree program.

Some Expected Program Coursework

Medical Assisting program coursework consists of academic courses along with practical experiences in a hospital or Physician’s office. Below is some of the expected coursework to study:

  • Medical Terminology
  • Medical Ethics
  • Medical Office Insurance and Billing Procedures
  • Accounting
  • Computer applications
  • Pharmaceutical principles
  • Anatomy and Physiology


Job Prospects and Potential Pay

A medical assistant earns an average salary of $30,590 per year in the United States. Location plays an important part in salary while experience counts as well. Some top end medical assistants earn more than $43,000 annually. There is a growing need for medical assistants as the number of new jobs is expected to increase by more than 27% by the year 2022. That kind of demand has enabled medical assistants to choose where they would like to work in many instances.


Medical Assistant Certification Requirements

To become a certified medical assistant (CMA), one must complete a certification program offered by a post-secondary school. These programs are featured in a number of vocational schools or technical institutes. These certification programs usually last less than a year and in order to earn a passing mark, students must grasp the necessary skills taught within the curriculum.

Medical assistants learn the clinical and administrative components of the job, which are very different in nature. Administrative skills are taught through coursework that involves computer proficiency, health care documentation, billing processes and more. The clinical part of the training includes actual field work in clinics. That is combined with a detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology, as well as medical terminology. Students are also taught how to remove stitches and draw blood.

Satisfying curriculum requirements will result in the awarding of a certification, which can then be used to gain employment. While certifications are not mandatory, they greatly increase job prospects and can also demand higher pay rates.

An Associate’s Degree also serves as an ample form of certification as there are many two-year colleges that offer specializations in Medical Assisting. Other certifications are available through the American Association of Medical Assistants, although it is not an exam that can be mastered without adequate training. There will need to be an extended period of study before taking this exam, which also enhances job prospects.



American Registry of Medical Assistants

Medical assistants can officially register to become part of this nationally-recognized association.

Medical Assistant Salaries

Learn how much medical assistants are currently making on a yearly basis within the United States.

American Association of Medical Assistants

This association connects medical assistants all over the country and is a valuable resource for those in this industry.

Medical Assistant Job Opportunities

Take a look at all of the medical assistant job openings throughout the United States.