Medical Assistant Jobs

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Medical assistants are allied health personnel, who assist doctors in executing routine tasks and procedures. The usefulness of these professionals, combined with an ageing population, has ensured that the outlook for medical assistant jobs remains positive. Little wonder then that medical assistant education is being encouraged. Perhaps, you are thinking of becoming one of these health workers — wondering what it takes and what the job is like. This piece will help.

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Duties of a Medical Assistant

The duties of a medical assistant are broadly divided into two, namely: clinical and administrative. The administrative duties of medical assistants include:

  • Greeting patients and visitors
  • Answering telephone calls
  • Setting appointments
  • Completing patients’ medical records
  • Facilitating hospital admissions
  • Taking care of billing, bookkeeping and correspondence
  • Completing insurance forms

The clinical duties of these health workers include:

  • Getting patients ready for examinations.
  • Collecting and preparing specimens for laboratory testing
  • Performing simple laboratory tests
  • Disposing of medical waste
  • Recording medical histories and noting vital signs
  • Administering medications to patients as ordered by a doctor.
  • Taking X-rays
  • Giving injections

The duties of medical assistants vary from place to place in line with existing laws. The size and specialty of a medical facility may also determine these duties.

Training and Certification

Ordinarily, a high school diploma should suffice to work as a medical assistant. But employers usually require applicants to have had formal training in medical assisting. In the past, many employers allow people to learn on the job. But things have changed significantly in this regard over the years.

Medical assisting programs are accredited by either the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES) or the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) in the United States. Only individuals who have undergone training programs accredited by either of these bodies can sit for the Certified Medical Assistant (AMAA) Certification Examination. After passing the examination, it is required to re-certify every 5 years to maintain the certification.

Working Conditions and Job Outlook

Medical assistants can either work full time or part time. Many full-timers work 40 hours a week, with a good number earning more than $25,000 in annual salary. The outlook for medical assistant jobs is equally impressive. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects significant growth in healthcare jobs, with medical assisting being one of those.

One good thing about medical assistant jobs is that they can serve as launch pad into some other positions, including nursing.

Ready to Get Started as a Medical Assistant?

Medical Assistant Exam Medical Assistant Exam
As the health care industry expands because of the aging population, there is an increased need for medical assistants. Employment is expected to grow much faster than average, ranking Certified and Registered Medical Assistants among the fastest growing occupations over the next 10 years. This is a one-stop source for information about the profession and the challenging certification exams.

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Image: Flickr – James Palinsad