Medical assisting is one of the most fulfilling, flexible healthcare careers today. It is also one of the fastest tracks you can take into the medical field. Whether you are just starting your college endeavors or are looking to make a change in your career, becoming a medical assistant is a great option for you.
As with most healthcare careers, medical assisting is all about helping others — In this position, you can expect to work directly with patients as well as with the rest of the medical office staff. Therefore, you must be a people-person with good communication skills and a working knowledge of health and wellness. Do you think you have what it takes?
Great! But before you dive in, it’s important to know all that is involved in a medical assisting career. What is their day-to-day like, and what does the medical assistant job description entail? How do you become a medical assistant (MA) today?
Let’s start with basics: the medical assistant job description.
Medical assisting is both an administrative and a clinical profession. In other words, medical assistants have a hand in just about every aspect of the medical office. On one end, they are the face of patient care, the ones that will welcome patients upon entering the facility and take down important patient information before an exam. They can also be found measuring patient vital signs, administering medications and vaccines, filing insurance information, or scheduling patient appointments.
But this is only scratching at the surface of what medical assistants really do. Here is a detailed look at some of the expected, day-to-day duties of a medical assistant:
Administrative Duties of a Medical Assistant:
- Greet and welcome patients
- Answer telephones and emails
- Schedule patient appointments
- Take patient information and medical histories
- Update and file patient records
- Ensure patient medical records, and any other pertinent information, is filed and available prior to their appointments
- Help with the filing of insurance claims
- Assist with bookkeeping and billing tasks
- Arrange hospital or laboratory services for patients in need
Clinical Duties of a Medical Assistant:
- Prepare patients for examination
- Assist physicians with patient exams
- Measure and record patient vital signs, such as blood pressure
- Administer medications and injections as directed by a physician
- Set up and take ultrasounds and EKGs (may need to be licensed by state)
- Collect blood samples (and other specimens) and prepare them for laboratory testing
- Keep inventory of medical supplies, stocking and ordering as needed
- Explain medical procedures or treatment plans to patients
While many medical assistants take on both clinical and administrative responsibilities, the job description can and will vary depending on your employer or place of work. In your job hunt, you might come across ads for an ‘administrative medical assistant’ (which may entail filing patient records, insurance claims, scheduling appointments) or for a ‘clinical medical assistant’ (lab testing, working with patients, basic medical duties like removing stitches). Or, you may see specialized medical assistant job opportunities. For example, an ophthalmic medical assistant’s job description might entail assisting with eye exams and teaching patients how to insert, remove, and care for contact lenses.
The medical assistant job description is truly multi-faceted, which is why more and more MAs are being required in hospital and practical settings. While most medical assistants can be found working in private practices such as a physician’s office, they can also be found in outpatient care centers, local or private hospitals, or even in other clinical settings like an optometry or chiropractic office.
If you are looking to become a medical assistant, there is, without a doubt, opportunities for you. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 29 percent in the next decade, much faster than the average for all other occupations. Medical assistants will be needed in group practices, clinics, primary care offices, and other healthcare facilities.
How do you get started?
To become a medical assistant, your first step will be to find a postsecondary medical assisting program, like the one at Goodwin College. Most employers require medical assistants to have at least a postsecondary certificate and some clinical training before entering the field.
In Connecticut, medical assistants are required to receive and maintain certification from the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). This is exactly what a collegiate medical assistant training program can prepare you for. Upon graduation from Goodwin College, you will be immediately eligible to apply for the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) credential and take the AAMA as well as the Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) exams. At Goodwin, you also have the option to turn your medical assistant certificate into a medical assisting associate degree, positioning you for some of the best job prospects out there today.
Learn more about the medical assisting programs at Goodwin College and see how we can help you qualify for the complete medical assistant job description. Contact us at 1-800-889-3282 or visit goodwin.edu/medicalassisting today.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.