A Career as a Medical Assistant

Medical Assistant holding a medical chart

When you visit the doctor's office, it's likely that you will encounter medical assistants, as they are an essential part of any healthcare team. Part office work (answering phones and filing paperwork) and part hands-on (drawing blood samples and prepping patients), medical assistants keep healthcare offices running smoothly. Most medical assistants work standard 9-to-5 hours, which makes it an appealing career for those wanting to keep more regular hours than typically found in the healthcare industry.

Opportunities Just Around the Corner

The medical assistant career field is one of the fastest growing in the healthcare sector. Because of an aging baby boomer population, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a staggering 29% growth from 2012 to 2022. Though not required in most states, a diploma or certificate often makes a medical assistant more appealing as a potential hire, and also increases his or her potential entry salary. Practical experience and reduced on-the-job training mean that employers can hire with confidence. Another way to become more employable is by becoming a CMA, or "Certified Medical Assistant." To do this, one must take the certification exam of the American Association of Medical Assistants and renew this certification every year.

Technology Skills in High Demand

One key aspect emerging in the medical assistant career is the need to understand electronic health records (EHRs). Having traditionally dealt with patient records in paper form, more and more medical assistants are required to learn new digitized interfaces. Although programs can vary from office to office, prospective employees should be aware that computer skills are increasingly becoming an intricate part of being a medical assistant. A career as a medical assistant appeals to individuals with strong organizational and interpersonal skills. On any given day, important files may need to be attended to, appointments arranged, and patients are seen. Medical assistants are an essential part of any doctor's office or clinic, and as such, responsibility and stress levels can be high. Ultimately, a career as a medical assistant can be a rewarding one. Also, becoming a medical assistant is a relatively simple process in terms of gaining employment in the healthcare field- and it can be a great stepping stone to becoming a nurse or even a doctor. Source URLs: www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-6 www.aama-ntl.org/

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