There are countless perks of being a medical assistant in the modern healthcare industry. Medical assistants play an important role in keeping clinical facilities running smoothly, and ensuring doctors and nurses are supported in patient care efforts. Medical assistants also benefit from a streamlined pathway into the healthcare field.
Whether earning a medical assisting certificate or an associate degree, a medical assisting program can be completed in less than two years, preparing learners for rewarding, lifelong professions where they can make a difference.
Read on to discover five fundamental benefits of being a medical assistant.
1. A Fast Track into the Healthcare Field
Career-focused training programs at the postsecondary level, such as certificates and associate degrees, are the most common pathways to becoming a medical assistant. These medical assisting programs provide an accelerated option to join the healthcare industry. This means you don’t need to spend years in medical school to become a medical assistant.
Goodwin University, for instance, is an inclusive institution dedicated to preparing future medical assistants for careers they’ll love. Our flexible programs include a combination of theory coursework (available entirely online) and clinical classes (offered during days and evenings).
In higher education allied health programs, learners spend less time in school than those with a traditional four-year college degree. Medical assisting students also graduate with the career-specific skillsets needed to enter and advance in their profession.
If medical assisting students enter an academic program knowing which specialty they’d like to pursue, their clinical experiences can coincide with their career preferences. On the other hand, if a learner is undecided about where to focus their education, exploratory clinical rounds will introduce future medical assistants to the vast career options that the occupation affords.
Upon completing a medical assisting certificate or medical assisting associate degree, graduates are eligible to apply for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) examination, the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) examination, and the Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA). This can all be completed in less than two years’ time.
2. Experience Gained Before Employment
In medical assisting programs, students get trained in administrative roles and therapeutic responsibilities. In addition to the fundamental curriculum, the various labs, internships, and clinical site experiences add professional practice hours. These give students the experience they need to be successful upon graduation day.
Within the executive sector, students develop a detailed understanding of patient service, medical terms, and office management — such as patient scheduling, updating sensitive health information, and corresponding with insurance companies.
Clinical coursework and hands-on training cover practical topics like collecting and processing specimens, new lab techniques and procedures, taking patient vital signs and medical histories, performing electrocardiograms (EKGs), and more.
3. Vast Career Options and Opportunities
Across the country, certified medical assistants can work in any state and are not limited by licensing requirements. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 743,500 medical assistants were employed nationally in 2021.
Of that total:
- 58% of medical assistants worked in physician offices.
- 15% were employed by state, local, and private hospitals.
- 9% worked in outpatient care centers.
- 4% held careers in chiropractic offices.
Additional career options for medical assistants include:
- Assisted living facilities
- Higher education
- Nursing homes
- Physician specialty offices
- Psychiatric units
- Rehabilitation centers, and more!
Generally, smaller clinical departments could be the ideal work setting for medical assistants who enjoy variety in their day-to-day work.
On the contrary, those who enjoy mastering a few specific responsibilities might find that an extensive clinical setting and staff enabling specialization in a particular department, like pediatrics or general medicine, is better suited for their career success.
4. Occupational Security with Steady Income
The healthcare field is a rapidly expanding industry with positions readily available.
The role of medical assistants is projected to grow 16% from 2021 to 2031, with 123,000 openings estimated annually over the decade, as specified by the U.S. Department of Labor.
With job security and a steady income, the healthcare profession provides workers with peace of mind — enabling in-demand medical assistants to support themselves and their families.
In 2021, 8,660 medical assistants were employed in Connecticut, earning an annual average wage of $41,010. Across the country, medical assistants earn an annual median wage of $37,190 per year, with the highest percentile earning more than $48,000 annually.
5. A Rewarding Career Providing Patient Care
At the end of the day, medical assistants are members of a holistic healthcare team. Considered a valuable operational member of patient outcomes, medical assistants are well-respected professionals who frequently collaborate with diverse colleagues, from physicians and nurse practitioners to RNs and nursing aides.
Needed among patients and healthcare professionals alike, medical assistants are important workforce members, helping patients feel at ease in extreme discomfort or stress.
By connecting with patients, medical assistants uphold a profession of integrity, innovation, and influence — providing meaningful conversation and motivating patients to be more mindful of their overall wellness plans.
The Correlation Between Continuing Education and Career Autonomy
When comparing medical assisting vs. nursing professionals, registered nurses (RNs) typically have more in-depth knowledge, clinical training, and education than medical assistants. Licensed RNs have also passed the NCLEX-RN exam. As a result, one slight drawback to medical assisting is that medical assistants have less career autonomy than registered nurses.
However, if medical assistants study to become licensed registered nurses, they can further their education, obtain even higher earning potential, and advance their careers to new heights.
Graduates of MSN programs would then qualify for lucrative, leadership-driven advanced practice registered nursing (APRN) roles like family nurse practitioners (FNPs), psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNPs), and beyond.
However, becoming a medical assistant is a great place to start. If you know you wish to make a difference in modern medicine, but want to (or need to) get there fast, medical assisting offers a feasible pathway to a successful career. At Goodwin University, you can complete a medical assistant program is as few as 12 to 20 months, depending on whether you choose to pursue a certificate or associate degree.
Are you ready to make a difference as a medical assistant? Find out how Goodwin University can help you:
- Gain hands-on experience
- Prepare you for your profession as a Medical Assistant, and
- Support you to career success.
Download Goodwin’s Go-to Medical Assistant Guide today!