If you’re considering pursuing a career as a medical assistant but aren’t sure if it’s the right path for your future, you’ve come to the right place! We’re breaking down what it’s like to be one of the healthcare heroes out there keeping the wheels of the giant healthcare machine rolling.
That is precisely what medical assistants do. How? By providing both clinical and administrative support to the doctors, nurses, and most of all, the patients who need help and healing. These frontline workers are an indispensable part of the healthcare industry as a whole. Which is probably why the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the industry will add nearly 118,000 new jobs for MAs by 2031! So, let’s do a deep dive into what it is a medical assistant does, and whole lot more.
What are the typical duties of a medical assistant?
These multi-tasking healthcare professionals can be found working in a wide variety of medical settings and perform a diverse range of administrative and clinical tasks that help keep things running smoothly. Some of these duties include:
- Obtaining accurate patient history, vital signs, and current medical status (triage)
- Assisting doctors with patient exams or minor outpatient surgeries
- Providing post-treatment patient education
- Drawing blood and preparing laboratory tests
- Proper sterilization of instruments and patient rooms
- Preparing and administering patient medication orally or through injections
- Performing Electrocardiography and pulmonary exams
- Coordinating hospital care, procedures, or testing
- Administrative tasks such as patient scheduling, billing, and insurance
We’ve already covered the projected job growth for medical assistants for the foreseeable future, but let’s explore the salary aspect of working as a medical assistant. Medical assistant salaries are projected to grow at a rate of 16% by 2031. The job market for medical assistants is expanding and there is a predicted increase in compensation.
What kind of education and training do you need to become a medical assistant?
The requirements for becoming a medical assistant vary from state to state but typically include completing an accredited diploma, certificate or degree program. Students receive both clinical and classroom training and many programs have an onsite clinical lab to provide students with hands-on experience in an actual clinical setting. Depending on the program, students will graduate with a diploma or certificate and are eligible to take the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exam administered by the American Medical Technologists. Even though some states do not require certification, many employers prefer to hire medical assistants who are certified.
What traits should someone possess to work as a medical assistant?
- Communication skills:
Medical assistants must have excellent communication skills to interact with patients and other healthcare professionals. They need to be able to understand instructions from physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers and relay information accurately and concisely.
- Organizational/time management:
Being organized is critical for medical assistants. They must be able to manage their time effectively and prioritize tasks to ensure efficient workflow. They should also be able to document patient data and keep accurate records.
Working as a medical assistant requires close attention to detail. Medical assistants must be able to take accurate measurements, follow detailed instructions, and pay attention to even the smallest details when it comes to paperwork or patient care.
Medical assistants should have genuine concern and empathy for the patients and their families. They should have a warm, friendly demeanor and be able to connect with patients on a personal level gain their trust.
What to look for in a medical assistant training program
The most obvious thing to look for in a training program is one that meets the requirements in the geographical location you intend to work in. But you should also consider a few other things.
First, it’s important to look for a program that provides ample hands-on experience. Medical assistants are highly trained professionals, so it’s essential to choose a program that provides hands-on experience in addition to classroom instruction. Look for a program that offers an externship or clinical training opportunity where you can practice your skills in a real-world setting.
Next, consider how long the program takes. Most programs can be completed within one year and some may even be completed in as little ten months. If you’re looking to get into the workforce quickly, you may want to find an accelerated program.
Finally, make sure to consider the cost of the program and any available scholarships or financial aid options. You should also look into potential job opportunities after completing the program and if the school you’re choosing assists with job placement.
If you’re someone who wants to make a difference in people’s lives while you make a living, you could easily consider a career in medical assisting. Doctors, nurses and patients alike, rely on the skills and compassion a medical assistant brings to work each and every day. If you’d like to learn more about medical assistant training, check out the comprehensive medical assisting program at Caris College. With a hands-on externship and an accelerated 10-month program, Caris is helping students get the training and skills they need to launch careers in medical assisting. Contact is today to learn more!