Individuals who choose a career in healthcare believe they have been destined to do so. They may have been the friend with the tissues and painkillers always ready-to-go in their bag, or the ones who watched medical dramas in their free time. However was the case, they chose healthcare because they have an innate ability and willingness to help people.
Some choose to help those in need by becoming doctors, which is arguably one of the noblest jobs. However, working closely with the doctor by assisting them during their work with a patient is just as noble of a job. While we always were appreciative of medical staff, it was during the pandemic that we all really understood how valuable and essential their efforts and hard work are.
One of the medical careers that include both of these kinds of tasks is the medical assistant role. Sounds interesting? Read on to learn more about the steps to become a medical assistant and all that this job entails.
What Do Medical Assistants Do?
Medical assistants are the right-hand people of the medical personnel. They provide services for the medical staff as well as the patients. While they have many responsibilities, their duties vary in the setting they work in. They can work closely with the doctor or focus mostly on the administrative aspect of the clinic. Whichever route you choose, there are a number of tasks you have to do daily. We’re listing some of these tasks below.
|Taking vital signs||Schedule appointments for patients|
|Drawing blood||Checking patients at the front desk|
|Assisting the physician during the examination||Processing insurance payments|
|Sterilizing equipment||Arranging hospital admission|
|Preparing examination rooms||Compiling medical records and charts|
|Explaining treatment procedures to patients||Transferring lab results to the appropriate clinician|
|Administering medications as directed by the physician||Interviewing patients for case histories prior to the appointment|
How to Become a Medical Assistant?
Medical assisting is certainly an appealing career path. Almost everybody can join the healthcare industry if one feels like making a change in their own lives and the lives of those in medical need. However, the road to becoming a medical assistant isn’t all that easy. You’ll need to step by step to get the qualifications and the experience required to become one. Now without further ado, here’s all that it takes for you to join the healthcare workforce.
Earn a medical assisting diploma
The medical assisting career is a very accessible one. You might be able to get a job position right out of high school with no professional training whatsoever. However, if you get a post-secondary education like a diploma or a certificate, it will be your advantage given that most employers like to choose candidates who have completed training programs in medical assisting. The University of the Potomac offers a medical assistant diploma program. It provides training in both administrative and clinical skills—necessary skills to work in a variety of healthcare settings.
You can also get an online medical assistant diploma. But you should keep something in mind. Before you choose an online program, make sure they offer some sort of offline training so that you can get the hand-on experience required.
Complete internships → Gain medical assisting skills
Earning a medical assisting diploma is very important for your medical career. So is completing an internship or externship toward the end of your program. For the simple fact that you’ll get to put to use the knowledge and skills, you collected during your time as a student. The internship will provide you the setting and resources to gain the hands-on experience it will be required from you once you leave the safe space of the classroom.
Depending on the job position you’re applying for, the employer’s preferences, and the state you’re planning on working in, you might need to pass a certification exam. You have two main certification options to choose from. They are the Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA) and Registered Medical Assistant exams. We know the idea of entering exams sounds quite intimidating. But you don’t have to worry too much about it. The medical assisting program you’ll be part of will thoroughly prepare you for it.
Apply and interview
If you’re looking for places to apply to, we assume you’ve already earned the diploma in medical assisting, and mastered the hard and soft skills the job requires. Regardless of the training you got, you should strive to pursue the medical assisting career you dream of. Keep brushing up your interview skills and prepare to respond to the questions most asked in interviews. If you feel like the interview process is taking longer than estimated, you can always volunteer at a local hospital or clinic. In this way, not only will you get more experienced in the field but also the experience itself will be added value to your resume.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Medical Assistant?
You might be wondering how long it takes to become a medical assistant. Well, the answer to this question depends on the length of the medical assistant program you choose and the institution that offers the said program. To fulfill all the prerequisites to become a medical assistant takes from 9 months to 2 years.
If you choose an institution that provides specific medical assistant programs like UOTP offers, then you most likely will spend nine months studying about all there is to know about medical assisting. But institutions that don’t offer medical assisting programs will require you to complete an associate degree focused on medical assisting. Earning this degree will take you up to two years.
Medical Assisting Jobs and Salaries
Medical assistants can work in various settings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, medical assistants work mostly in physicians’ offices. We can also find them working in medical and surgical hospitals. Medical assistants can specialize in certain areas of medicine of their choosing. Here are some of them.
1. Ophthalmic Medical Assistant
Ophthalmic medical assistants work closely with patients. They conduct eye tests, collect medical history, help patients with contact lenses, and assist with minor surgeries.
Ophthalmic Medical Assistant Salary:
2. Podiatric Medical Assistant
Podiatric medical assistants help develop x-rays, make casts for feet, and assist with podiatry surgery. To work as a podiatric medical assistant, you’ll need to have a strong knowledge of foot anatomy and be comfortable working with people in severe pain.
Podiatric Medical Assistant Salary:
3. OB-GYN Medical Assistant
OB-GYN medical assistants help doctors with examinations and provide guidance to pregnant women. This role requires you to be well-versed in female anatomy and everything related to them.
OB-GYN Medical Assistant Salary:
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4. Chiropractic Medical Assistant
Chiropractic medical assistants treat patients using a natural approach to medicine. The methods might include hot and cold therapies.
Chiropractic Medical Assistant Salary:
5. Administrative Medical Assistant
Administrative medical assistants have the responsibility to schedule appointments, fill out insurance forms, and code patient information.
Administrative Medical Assistant Salary:
6. Medical Biller and Coder Assistant
Medical biller and coder assistants analyze records, keep track of patient data, and determine codes for insurance billing.
Medical Biller and Coder Assistant:
Why Become a Medical Assistant?
Even though we believe we already convinced you why becoming a medical assistant is the right job for you. We’re going to add just a few more reasons why you should consider this profession. Initially, you might have chosen this career because it was a long-time dream, or maybe you’re planning to change careers.
Whatever pushed you towards medical assisting isn’t as relevant as the reasons why you should actually do the job. Here are six reasons why there is no better time to become a medical assistant than right now and the benefits that come along with it.
1. Medical assisting jobs are on demand
Generally speaking, the healthcare industry is growing rapidly. The same applies to medical assistant positions. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, medical assistant jobs will grow by 23% from 2018 to 2028. The increase will most probably happen thanks to the aging baby-boom population who will require medical attention with each year that goes by. For every doctor employed, there will be a medical assistant helping him with all medical procedures and administration tasks.
2. Entering the field is quite easy
One of the factors that make medical assisting an attractive career is its accessibility. Of course, you’ll be expected to have some kind of education and experience in the field, but compared to other medical careers that take years of college education, joining the healthcare workforce is more straightforward. In most cases, a medical assistant diploma and some experience will be sufficient enough.
3. A medical assisting career is stable
Working in medicine is a never-ending job. There will always be someone who needs a doctor’s help. The world is constantly in need of doctors, surgeons, and other medical staff. And you as a medical assistant will always have a place next to them to assist. While some other professions are more and more getting replaced by technology, your profession is irreplaceable. You and your abilities will always be in demand.
4. Medical assistants work in a variety of settings
As a medical assistant, you’ll work closely with physicians and doctors of different specialties. Also, you can choose to work at various venues. The list includes hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, private practices, ambulatory care centers, and outpatient care centers. So, if you’re a person that loves variety, medical assisting can surely offer it.
5. Schedules are fixed
When we think of healthcare workers, one of the first things that come to mind is the long working hours. You might get hospital calls in the middle of the night, or have to work during your kids’ school activities. This irregular working schedule doesn’t apply to medical assistant jobs. They mostly work in medical clinics that stay open during standard business hours. As a result, they have a fairly steady work schedule.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that all medical assistants have the same work schedule. It all depends on the venues you choose to work. If you work in a hospital, your work schedule won’t be steady. On the contrary, you’ll work in shifts.
6. It’s a fulfilling profession
Not all jobs in the world can be as rewarding as a medical assistant job. Most of your job entails caring for an individual that suffers from a particular illness. Working as a medical assistant surely takes a lot of heart and dedication, but it is all worth it when you think of how you’re assisting people who really need help.
Medical assistants’ job is highly sought-after. Many reasons make this job appealing to all categories of people. The short-time in which you can earn the medical assistant diploma, the benefits of this job and the job outlook are just some reasons. Another reason that might push you towards choosing this profession is the quickness and affordability of getting the diploma at the University of the Potomac. However, not all these factors might apply to you. The important thing is that working as a medical assistant is the easiest route to join the fulfilling and rewarding industry of healthcare.