What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

Medical assisting is one of the quickest entry points into the healthcare field. It is also one of the fastest-growing careers today. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 23 percent in the next seven years – higher than the average for all other occupations. This means that nearly 140,000 jobs nationwide will become available to prospective caregivers like you. If you’re looking to become a medical assistant in Connecticut, the job outlook is now over 27 percent.

The opportunity is there, without a doubt, but is medical assisting truly the job for you? What does a medical assistant do, exactly, and does that job description align with your passions and interests? What will your responsibilities be as a medical assistant, and do you need training in these duties before entering the field? These are all important questions to ask as you consider your future career path.

As a leading healthcare school in Connecticut, Goodwin College hears the question, “What does a medical assistant do?” a lot from aspiring students. Medical assisting is a thriving, yet often unfamiliar occupation among those who have not yet worked in a healthcare facility. But if you have ever been to the doctor’s office or hospital, you’ve more than likely encountered a medical assistant before.

Medical assistants play a vital role in the medical facility, providing much-needed services to patients and keeping operations running smoothly. They can be found in a range of settings, from clinics and hospitals to private practices, helping nurses and doctors with lab testing, office management, and direct patient care. While their job description may vary depending on their workplace, the central duties of a medical assistant are typically divided into two categories: administrative and clinical.

What makes medical assistants such unique and in-demand professionals is the fact that they are trained in both administrative and clinical work. Their multifaceted skill set makes them highly desired among top healthcare employers, and truly sets them apart from other healthcare specialists.

On the clinical side of things, medical assistants can be found helping with patient exams and working under the direction of a physician. On the administrative side, medical assistants can be found in the billing or insurance departments, or filing and managing patient medical records. But this is just the beginning of the many things a medical assistant may do.

To give you the best idea of what medical assistants do, Goodwin College has compiled the most common duties of a medical assistant below. All these skills are actively taught, practiced, and perfected in our Connecticut medical assistant program, which is offered at both the degree and certificate level.

What Does a Clinical Medical Assistant Do?

  • Assists with general patient care, including answering questions and making patients feel comfortable
  • Records patient medical histories and other personal information
  • Measures patient vital signs, such as blood pressure and heart rate
  • Administers medications and vaccinations as directed by a physician
  • Sets up EKG machinery (depending on the state, medical assistants may also take ultrasounds and EKGs)
  • Removes stitches and bandages
  • Draws blood samples and prepares them for laboratory tests
  • Collects other lab specimens
  • Prepares patients and rooms for examination
  • Assists doctors during exams
  • Stocks medical supplies and sterilizes medical instruments

What Does an Administrative Medical Assistant Do?

  • Greets and welcomes patients into the facility
  • Answers telephones and relays messages
  • Explains important information (such as after care procedures or prescription medications) to patients, on behalf of the acting physician
  • Schedules and confirms patient appointments
  • Updates and files patient records
  • Ensures that proper reports, results, and information are all filed and available in patients’ medical records prior to their appointments
  • Files insurance claims
  • Handles bookkeeping and billing tasks
  • Arranges hospital admissions or laboratory services for patients

Instead of asking, “What does a medical assistant do?” we like to ask, what don’t medical assistants do? Medical assistants are truly the right-hand men and women of the healthcare facility. And the multidimensionality of the field truly makes medical assisting a great career choice for those looking for an always exciting and ever-changing role.

Get started on your path to one of the top healthcare careers today! Earn your medical assisting degree right here at Goodwin College, where the curriculum is founded upon the skills desired by Connecticut’s top healthcare employers. In no time, our hands-on training and active classroom experiences will prepare you for a career in both administrative and clinical support. Learn more about our medical assisting school by visiting www.goodwin.edu/landingpages/medical-assisting or calling 800-889-3282.