Exploring the Medical Assistant Field: Duties, Education, Job Outlook, and More
Updated: Apr 29
Are you considering a career in the healthcare industry? One profession to consider is that of a medical assistant. A medical assistant is a healthcare professional who works alongside physicians, nurses, and other healthcare providers to provide direct patient care and administrative support. In this blog post, we'll explore the medical assistant field in more detail, including what medical assistants do, the education and training required, and the job outlook for this profession.
What Do Medical Assistants Do?
Medical assistants perform a wide range of clinical and administrative duties. On the clinical side, medical assistants are responsible for taking vital signs, performing diagnostic tests, and assisting with patient examinations and procedures. They may also administer medications, draw blood, and collect and prepare laboratory specimens. On the administrative side, medical assistants are responsible for tasks such as scheduling appointments, managing patient records, and handling patient inquiries. Medical assistants also work closely with other healthcare professionals to ensure coordinated and effective patient care.
Education and Training Requirements
To become a medical assistant, you typically need to complete a postsecondary certificate or diploma program. These programs typically take 9-12 months to complete and cover topics such as medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, and clinical procedures. Some programs also include an internship or clinical practicum to provide hands-on training in a healthcare setting.
In addition to formal education, many employers prefer or require medical assistants to have certification. The most common certification for medical assistants is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential, offered by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). To become a CMA, you need to complete an accredited medical assistant program and pass an exam.
Job Outlook for Medical Assistants
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical assistants is projected to grow 19 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due in part to the increasing demand for healthcare services as the population ages. Medical assistants are also increasingly being used to perform routine clinical and administrative tasks to free up physicians and other healthcare providers to focus on more complex patient care.
In terms of earnings, the median annual wage for medical assistants was $35,850 in May 2020, according to the BLS. The highest 10 percent earned more than $50,580, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,860.
If you're looking for a rewarding career in the healthcare industry, consider becoming a medical assistant. Medical assistants play an important role in providing direct patient care and administrative support, and the demand for this profession is expected to continue growing in the coming years. With the right education and training, you can start your career as a medical assistant and make a positive impact on the lives of patients and their families.