Try as they might, doctors and nurses can’t do it all. That’s where medical assistants come in. Medical assistants are the backbone of support staff in most healthcare facilities.
If you love helping people, medical assisting could be a good career for you. With a 29% growth expected in the medical assisting job market, newly-trained individuals are in high demand.
Read on to learn more about what medical assistants do and how to get started in the field.
What is a Medical Assistant?
Medical assistants work right alongside healthcare staff to help patients stay healthy. If you want a career in the healthcare world, but don’t want to quite commit to nursing or medical school, medical assisting is a great first step.
On an average day, medical assistants may do clinical or administrative tasks for doctors’ offices, hospitals, nursing facilities, and in other healthcare settings.
Medical assistant duties may include:
Document patient history and information
Measure vital signs
Assist doctor with patient exams
Prep blood samples for lab tests
Give patients injections or medications as directed by doctors
Update patient information in medical records
What else does a medical assistant do?
Due to the fast-paced environment of healthcare settings, every day is different.
Other duties may include taking detailed notes, discussing patient concerns with doctors, and helping patients stay calm who may be in pain. Most medical assistants also learn how to code paper and electronic health records (EHRs) as well.
Duties may be different depending on state regulations and facility rules.
You can expect most of your days to be filled with patient interaction, some form of paperwork, and coordinating patient care with doctors and nurses. Analytical skills, technical skills, interpersonal skills, and a detail-oriented nature are also important qualities of professional medical assistants.
Employment Opportunities for Medical Assistants
Medical assistants generally work full-time in a variety of settings — chiropractor offices, outpatient care centers, and hospitals, to name a few. In larger facilities, medical assistants may choose to specialize in either clinical or administrative work. You can also be certified in both.
Specializations opportunities include:
Podiatric medical assistants
Clinical medical assistants
Administrative medical assistants
Ophthalmic medical assistants
Becoming a certified clinical medical assistant also opens up unique job opportunities, too. Some positions allow medical assistants to take on roles like patient care coordinator, health coach, and scribe.
What Education Does a Medical Assistant Need?
Depending on your state, you may have to become certified to land a job. With so many job seekers applying for medical assistant positions, applicants with a national certification like a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) tend to stand out.
If you live in California, West Virginia, or Washington, additional certifications may be required to become a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA).
Rewarding Work Awaits
If you want a meaningful career in healthcare, medical assisting is a great starting point. As a certified clinical medical assistant, you’ll find more job openings and higher pay potential. It’s also a much smaller commitment than medical school but still offers a rewarding career in helping people.