Medical assistants drive healthcare forward. A medical assistant may be the first person to greet a patient to a physician’s office, the last one to wave goodbye, and, between that time, a key player on the team that keeps the practice humming along.
If you’re considering a career as a medical assistant, you’re in the right place! We’ll break down the job, from its description and responsibilities to pay and career potential.
Let’s get started!
What a Medical Assistant Does
Administrative and clerical work courses through every medical establishment today. Annual physician visits top more than 990 million each year. That translates to an unstoppable buzz of activity. And that activity requires a lot of work to track the information related to those visits.
The specifics of any one medical assistant role can vary. Often, however, medical assistants are called upon to:
- Record patients’ medical history and personal information
- Measure vital signs (body temperature, pulse rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, etc.)
- Assist physicians with patient examinations
- Schedule patient appointments
Many other duties may also be required.
Why Becoming a Medical Assistant is a Good Career Choice
Becoming a medical assistant is a rewarding career focused on helping others retain or achieve good health. Beyond that, it can also be financially rewarding.
Annual pay for medical assistants ranges from nearly $25,000 to more than $47,000. Median pay is approximately $33,610. (Median pay is the level at which half the medical assistants earned more and half earned less.)
Medical Assistants Are In Demand
If a rewarding role and good pay aren’t enough, there’s something else to consider. You’d be hard-pressed to find a job that’s more in-demand than medical assistant.
That’s because the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the field to grow a whopping 29% during the 10-year stretch from 2016 to 2026. Anticipated growth of all occupations is just 7%. Given that 2016 was only a few years ago, there’s plenty more growth coming.
Why such growth? Because:
- Aging baby boomers will require more medical attention, increasing demand
- The expanding number of healthcare-related facilities need medical assistants to help run them
- Primary care continues to grow within the healthcare industry, and primary care facilities rely on medical assistants more than many other types of facilities
Where Medical Assistants Can Work
Because they offer a skill set that most medical offices need, medical assistants can work in a wide variety of places, not just primary care facilities. Such places include:
- Outpatient clinics
- Emergency departments
- Medical labs
- Retirement communities
- Radiation oncology centers
- OB/GYN offices
- Medical billing and coding companies
The Difference Between a Medical Assistant and a Nurse
Because both roles are so important to a medical establishment, it can be easy to confuse the roles of medical assistants and nurses. Here’s a quick overview.
- Medical Assistants: Daily administrative responsibilities for efficient office operations
- Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses: Help administer medication, assess patients (many work in residential care facilities)
- Registered Nurse: Admit patients, help determine treatments, bandage wounds, run tests, and sometimes oversee lower-level employees
How Long is a Medical Assistant Program?
The length of a particular medical assistant program will vary, but most will have you on your way to a medical career in far less time than you may think.
One example: Phlebotomy Career Training offers an accredited medical assistant program with both electrocardiogram and patient care technician certifications that can be completed in seven weeks. Students displaying exemplary performance are offered a 204-hour clinical externship with a local urgent care or physicians office.
Are You Ready for a New Career?
If you’re ready to make the move to a career as a medical assistant, turn to Phlebotomy Career Training. We have a full curriculum of medical training courses for new and veteran healthcare professionals alike. You can check them out here. If you wish to contact us with any questions, please feel free to do so — we can even offer some suggestions about tuition support on our FAQ page.
A rewarding medical career awaits; all you have to do is get started.