The medical assistant profession is expanding in the US. This profession doesn’t have a lot of requirements education-wise. A high school graduate who has completed courses in chemistry, biology, and anatomy will meet the minimal requirements. To rise above competition when looking to get hired, it would be best to go beyond just the minimal requirements by completing a medical assistant program. Many colleges, vocational and technical schools offer this program. Some schools offer a one-year program while others offer two-year programs that lead to an associate degree. In isolated cases, there are states that would require passing a certain exam or program before an assistant can perform more specialized duties such as taking x-rays or giving shots.
Medical assistants are known to be the backbone of all medical practitioners since their role is very demanding. They serve as a bridge between the doctor and the patient, and perform crucial tasks in the clinic.
If you’re considering becoming a medical assistant, then some of these questions may come up in your mind: What are the prerequisites? Is there any special training or certification needed? As mentioned earlier, a high school diploma will suffice. Some people get training after they start working at the job, while others take a one or two-year training course in order to acquire a Certificate or Diploma or an Associate’s degree before starting work. It all depends on where you’re willing to work and how much you want to earn. Larger health institutions typically pay better but many will require you to have a certificate. As in most other professions, those that have specialized training and relevant certificates will get hired sooner and get paid better than those that don’t. After completing a training program and passing the required examination, one can become a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). Passing the CMA will open more doors for opportunities.
What does the work of this type of assistants involve? Sixty percent of these medical workers work in doctor’s offices. Others can work in clinics, pharmaceutical and insurance companies, or hospitals. There are two types of medical assistants. One is the Administrative Medical Assistant, and the other is the Clinical Medical Assistant.
An Administrative Medical Assistant takes care of administrative work in the office. In short, they are in charge of clerical functions. Their duty is to answer the phone, check the list of scheduled patients, schedule appointments, manage medical records, and deal with insurance companies. This position may help one to be promoted to office managers, managers of medical records and medical billing, or medical transcriptionists.
A Clinical Medical Assistant has direct contact with the patient, since it is their role to assist patients and lead them to the examination room, take vital signs such as the temperature, blood pressure, and pulse rate, and weigh the patient before the doctor examines the patient. This dynamic job is sometimes confused with that of the nurse since they also wear scrubs and have direct contact with the patient. Medical assistants do not make diagnoses. Neither do they examine or treat the patient. Many of these workers pursue career advancement by becoming a CAN or certified nursing assistant by furthering their education.
It is important for those working in this profession to understand the code of ethics, since they have access to the patient’s medical records and other personal information. All information must be kept confidential and the patient’s condition may only be discussed with the patient him/herself or other authorized parties.
One question that often comes up is, how much salary does a medical assistant get? The annual salary ranges from $23,000 – $39,000. This will vary depending on the level of training, number of years of experience, and on the employer.
A typical training program for this career will include the following subjects: human anatomy, physiology, phlebotomy, pharmacology, medication administration, first aid and CPR and clinical and diagnostic procedures, record keeping and accounting, keyboarding and computer applications, insurance processing and coding, medical ethics and law, and office practices.
Aside from physically going to school to get training, there are also online training programs available that will offer more flexibility in terms of study schedule. They will also save you time in traveling to and from an institution. Some schools that offer online medical assistant programs are Kaplan University, San Joaquin Valley College, Community Care College, and Bryant and Stratton College. You will want to look them up online to see which will serve your needs the best.
The job outlook for this career is magnificent, especially for those who have undergone relevant specialized training and have acquired a certificate. There is an increasing trend in terms of employment for this profession. There is a soaring demand for qualified medical support staff since the number of clinics is on the increase. Medical assistants who have the flexibility to perform both administrative and clinical tasks are especially in demand.