Medical Assistants (MAs) are an important member of a patient-centered team consisting of physicians, nurses and other health professionals. Medical Assistants complete administrative and clinical tasks in the offices of physicians, hospitals and other health care facilities. Their duties vary with the location, specialty and size of the practice. Nearly 85 percent of Medical Assistants work in a physician’s office performing a mix of administrative and clinical tasks. Medical Assistants also work in hospitals, home care and hospice care. Their administrative responsibilities include patient reception and admission, scheduling, answering phones, collecting health histories, filing insurance claims and managing patient flow through the office. Clinical functions can include patient intake processing, including taking patient histories and vital signs, performing first aid and CPR, preparing patients for procedures, assisting physicians with examinations and treatments and infection control.
Medical Assistants are likely the first and last faces a patient sees during a visit to their doctor. They will also spend time with patients to ensure they understand the doctor’s instructions. Their clinical responsibilities include explaining treatments to patients, drawing and preparing samples for testing, administering injections, removing sutures, checking vital signs, and in some practices, taking X-rays. Very importantly, as an MA, you will be responsible for placing your patients at ease.
The ideal MA candidate is empathetic, a strong listener and oral communicator, calm under stress, detailed and organized. A certain level of manual dexterity is also important.
Most MAs work full-time days although some work evenings, nights and weekends. The work environment is typically fast-paced, highly professional, compassionate and team oriented.
Medical Assistant Training Programs and School
Medical Assistants held about 634,400 jobs in 2016, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re interested in attending a Medical Assistant program and are searching “medical assistant schools near me,” you might want to check out Concorde and its eight-month diploma program. The Medical Assistant education program and training at Concorde emphasizes real-world coursework that immerses you from Day 1 in the practical aspects of supporting a fast-paced medical work environment. Training comprehensively equips you to serve effectively in both clinical and administrative functions in clinics and physicians’ offices.
How will you feel as an MA?
The gratitude and respect you receive from patients will be quite satisfying. Patients will rely upon you to get them through anxious and occasionally very difficult moments, and their appreciation will be heart-felt and obvious. In some settings such as hospice and home care, you will become integral to your patients’ lives, nearly becoming a family member. Also, as a respected member of a team, you’ll enjoy celebrating patient success with like-minded professionals that value your contributions. Many of your most precious memories will come from your work as an MA.
Medical assisting is ranked 71st among U.S. News and World Reports 100 Best Jobs.
Medical assisting is a fast-growing profession. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects growth in medical assistant employment of 29 percent between 2016 and 2026 which equates to 184,600 new jobs. This growth is much faster than average job growth. The growth of the aging baby-boomer population will continue to increase demand for preventive medical services, which often are provided by physicians. As their practices expand, physicians will hire more assistants to perform routine administrative and clinical duties, allowing the physicians to see more patients.
What is the career path for MAs?
Most Medical Assistants have postsecondary education such as a certificate. Others enter the occupation with a high school diploma and learn through on-the-job training. Many Medical Assistants continue their education progressing to higher levels of certification such as Certified Medical Assistant or Registered Medical Assistant. Supervisory positions in institutional settings might require an Associate’s Degree. MAs also progress into administrative positions in businesses that support physician practices. Having earned at least an associate’s degree, many MAs become medical assistant educators.